Norwich City 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 04, 2012 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton were brought back to Earth with a bump as they fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Following on from a victory over Liverpool and a draw with Arsenal, Wanderers travelled south in high spirits, only to return empty handed from a freezing cold afternoon in Norfolk.

After holding out for 70 minutes, Andrew Surman finally broke Bolton's resistance and Blackburn-born Anthony Pilkington settled the game five minutes from time to put Owen Coyle's side back in the bottom three.

The Canaries created the first opportunity of the game as Zak Whitbread headed a David Fox corner wide, before Grant Holt volleyed straight at Adam Bogdan in the Bolton goal following neat build-up play from Simeon Jackson and Pilkington.

Jackson then had two chances to break the deadlock. First, he shot across the face of goal after Surman pulled the ball back, before bringing a smart stop out of Bogdan moments later with a strike from an acute angle.

Bolton's first chance arrived on 20 minutes as Chris Eagles ran onto a flick from David Ngog. With Eagles looking set to shoot, Ayala made a superb challenge to deny him but it came at a cost, with the Spaniard having to be replaced by Russell Martin.

Three minutes later, the hosts should have taken the lead. After Holt had knocked down a cross from Wes Hoolahan, Surman looked certain to score, but he put too much behind his strike and it came crashing back off the crossbar.

Pilkington struck a free-kick over the bar on 33 minutes, before City were forced into their second change of the afternoon as Elliott Bennett came on for the injured Whitbread.

Shortly afterwards, and against the run of play, Wanderers almost took the lead. Eagles' corner was taken off the foot of David Wheater by Ngog, but the ball fell kindly to Martin Petrov, who saw a goalbound strike deflected behind by a City defender.

Two minutes after the break, Holt somehow managed to head an Adam Drury cross wide of the target, before Jackson wasted two further opportunities to open the scoring.

Petrov thought he had scored direct from a corner on 56 minutes and despite the appeals of the Bolton players, the referee and his assistant allowed play to continue.

The Bulgaria international then sent a fizzing ball across the face of goal two minutes later, but no Wanderers player was on hand to tap the ball into the net.

Both sides had further chances as the game reached the hour mark, with Petrov and Holt volleying over at each end as the game remained goalless.

Norwich looked set to take the lead on 64 minutes, but Sam Ricketts had made a superb tracking run to deny Hoolahan a free shot on goal when put clean through with Bogdan.

Wanderers went straight up the other end and would surely have taken the lead had it not been for Kyle Naughton taking the ball off the head of Kevin Davies six-yards from goal.

Jackson failed to seriously test Bogdan with a weak strike, before the hosts took the lead with 20 minutes remaining as a result of poor Bolton defending.

After Surman had seen a strike blocked by Wheater, the Norwich midfielder reacted quickest to beat a static Trotters defence and fire past Bogdan from close range.

Bolton's response was slow, although Petrov did sting the palm of John Ruddy 11 minutes from time. Holt had a chance to seal the win moments later, only to fire over the bar from two yards.

The introduction of Marvin Sordell was greeted with cheers from the visiting supporters with eight minutes remaining, but it was the hosts who were cheering with five minutes left on the clock as Pilkington sealed the win.

After Martin had seen a shot well saved by Bogdan, the ball fell kindly to Pilkington who slammed home the rebound and give the home side a bit of breathing space.

Petrov clipped the outside of the post in stoppage time, but Bolton never looked likely to claim anything from the game as they fall back into the Premier League's relegation zone.

Wanderers return to action next Saturday when they host fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic at the Reebok Stadium.

Norwich City: Ruddy, Naughton, Whitbread (Bennett 40), Ayala (Martin 23), Drury, Fox, Pilkington, Surman, Hoolahan, Holt, Jackson (Morison 74)
Subs Not Used: Steer, Johnson, Crofts, Wilbraham
Goals: Surman 70, Pilkington 85

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears, Wheater, Knight, Ricketts, Eagles (Tuncay 73), Muamba (K Davies 57), Reo-Coker, Petrov, M Davies, Ngog (Sordell 82)
Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, Klasnic, Pratley, Boyata

Referee: Lee Probert
Attendance: 26,358

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Accrington Stanley 20 27
14 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
16 Cambridge United 20 23
View Full Standings >>


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