Manchester United 3-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • January 14, 2012 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton suffered their first defeat in four games on Saturday as they fell to a 3-0 loss against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

United were awarded a penalty after 21 minutes as Zat Knight fouled Danny Welbeck inside the area. Wayne Rooney stepped up to shoot from the spot but saw his effort superbly parried away by Trotters goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.

Bogdan was playing well in the Bolton goal but he was beaten in first half stoppage time as Paul Scholes marked his Old Trafford return with the opening goal.

After finally getting a bit of momentum going in the second period, Wanderers were undone on 74 minutes as Welbeck combined with Rooney to slot home United's second.

Then, with seven minutes remaining, Michael Carrick put the game beyond any doubt as he curled home a low effort from just outside the box, putting Sir Alex Ferguson's side level with rivals Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

Wanderers boss Owen Coyle made five changes from the side which drew at Macclesfield Town last weekend, reverting back to a team similar to the one that one 2-1 at Goodison Park ten days ago.

The only change from that victory at Goodison Park saw David Wheater come in for Gary Cahill, who was at Stamford Bridge as he puts the finishing touches on a £7million transfer to Chelsea.

With Kevin Davies on the Bolton bench and Cahill on his way out of the club, Nigel Reo-Coker was handed the captain's armband for the very first time in his short Wanderers career.

It was the hosts who created the first opportunity of the game and it came in the opening minute as Nani cut inside Sam Ricketts on the left flank, before firing his strike wide of the Bolton goal.

David Ngog almost intercepted a back pass from Scholes at the other end moments later, but it was United who continued to dominate the early exchanges between the two sides.

Bogdan was on hand to make his first save of the afternoon with four minutes gone as he turned an effort from Welbeck around the post. The same duo were in action again five minutes later, but this time Welbeck glanced a header wide of the target.

After a short period which saw both teams cancel each other out in midfield, the home side pressed forward on 16 minutes and Bogdan made another fine save by turning a curling shot from Nani behind after Wanderers had failed to clear a corner.

Rooney saw a header from a Nani corner cleared off the line by Mark Davies soon after, before United were awarded a penalty on 21 minutes as Welbeck went down inside the area under a challenge from Knight, who escaped with just a yellow card from referee Peter Walton.

Rooney stepped up to take the resulting penalty, only to see his powerful strike superbly tipped away by the outstretched Bogdan.

After Eagles had tried a speculative effort from distance at one end, Rooney somehow succeeded in firing over the bar at the other after Antonio Valencia picked him out ten yards from goal.

Bogdan once again turned a Welbeck shot behind for a corner as the game approached the half hour mark and from then on, the game appeared to settle down and be heading for a goalless score at the interval.

However, just as one minute of stoppage time was announced, Rooney played a low ball across the face of the Bolton goal and an unmarked Scholes was on hand to turn the ball past the stranded Bogdan to give the home side the advantage at the break.

Bolton started the second half brightly, with Ngog taking the shoot on sight approach to goal. Unfortunately for him, his 30-yard strike sailed harmlessly over the United bar.

Five minutes later, Ngog spurned a glorious opportunity to pull Wanderers level. After picking up possession on the right flank, Davies twisted and turned away from Rio Ferdinand before playing the ball into the middle, only for Ngog to somehow sky the ball over from six yards.

The French forward was lucky to escape a booking moments later for a swipe at the legs of Carrick, with frustration clearly beginning to get the better of him.

If Ngog was guilty of a poor miss, the same could be said for Rooney just after the hour. Valencia raced away from Ricketts and found Rooney at the far post, who could only succeed in putting the ball into the side netting.

Martin Petrov saw a half volley blocked by Rafael soon after and Gretar Steinsson saw a looping header cleared off the line by Rafael as Bolton began to get a bit of urgency about their play.

Then, you could say against the run of play, United doubled their lead as Rooney played in Welbeck, who fired low past Bogdan from just inside the area.

Welbeck took a knock from Ricketts in scoring the goal and was subsequently replaced by Javier Hernandez. Rooney also took a knock in the build up to the goal but was deemed fit enough to continue.

The victory was completed with seven minutes to go as Carrick picked up the ball from substitute Ryan Giggs. The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder took one touch before placing the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Bolton almost scored a consolation when substitute Darren Pratley fired just wide of goal in stoppage time but it wasn't to be Wanderers' day as they slipped down to 19th in the Premier League table.

Coyle's side are back in action on Tuesday night when they host Macclesfield Town at the Reebok Stadium in an FA Cup third round replay. Following that, Liverpool at home in the league next Saturday.

Manchester United: Lindegaard, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes (Giggs 69), Nani (Ji-Sung 69), Rooney, Welbeck (Hernandez 78)
Subs Not Used: De Gea, Berbatov, Fabio, Pogba
Goals: Scholes 45, Welbeck 74, Carrick 83

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Steinsson, Wheater, Knight, Ricketts, Eagles (Riley 69), Reo-Coker, Muamba (Pratley 80), Petrov (Tuncay 88), M Davies, Ngog
Subs Not Used: Lynch, K Davies, Klasnic, Boyata
Booked: Knight

Referee: Peter Walton
Attendance: 75,444

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Sky Bet League Two Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Cheltenham Town 46 82
2 Cambridge United 46 80
3 Bolton Wanderers 46 79
4 Morecambe 46 78
5 Newport County 46 73
View Full Standings >>


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