Manchester City 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • March 03, 2012 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton fell to their fourth successive Premier League defeat after losing 2-0 to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

City took the lead midway through the first half when Gael Clichy's strike deflected off the head of Gretar Steinsson and past Adam Bogdan.

Wanderers had chances to equalise but City sealed their 19th home league win in a row when Mario Balotelli pounced on an Adam Johnson cut-back to put the ball in the empty net on 69 minutes.

Owen Coyle set his Bolton team up to frustrate City, with Zat Knight, David Wheater and Tim Ream all handed starts. The decision to go on the defensive almost failed from the start as the hosts immediately went on the offensive.

Samir Nasri saw a shot blocked by Wheater inside the opening 60 seconds, before Balotelli struck a post after latching on to a Yaya Toure pass just a minute later.

Adam Johnson and Pablo Zabaleta combined superbly to set-up Balotelli again two minutes later. He managed to get good control on the ball, only to see his strike roll inches wide of Bogdan's goal.

Bolton's first shot on target arrived in the 11th minute. Ryo Miyaichi capitalised on a slip from Zabaleta but his decision to shoot early came of no threat to Joe Hart, as the City goalkeeper made a simple stop.

Balotelli had another chance to break the deadlock a minute later. The Italy international found himself clean through on the Wanderers goal, but could only succeed in firing over the crossbar.

Hart made a simple stop from David Ngog moments later, before the game's lively start eased off as both sides enjoyed spells of possession in midfield.

The game sparked back into life midway through the half as the hosts took the lead with a shot out of nothing.

A speculative 25-yard strike from Clichy appeared to be sailing harmlessly wide of the target, only to take a wicked deflection off the head of Steinsson and find it's way into the back of Bogdan's net to give Roberto Mancini's team the advantage.

Bolton responded well and Sam Ricketts brought a low stop out of Hart, but City went straight back up the other end and Balotelli fired over the bar from a free-kick after Darren Pratley had brought down David Pizarro.

Hart made a good stop from Ngog on 34 minutes and the French forward was inches away from making contact with a Nigel Reo-Coker cross soon after as Wanderers looked to get themselves on level terms.

Their best chance of the half arrived eight minutes before the break as Ryo Miyaichi pounced on a slip from Kolo Toure, only to see his curling goalbound strike superbly tipped around the post by the outstretched glove of Hart.

City saw appeals for a penalty turned down three minutes later as Balotelli went down under a challenge from Knight. The Bolton defender appeared to hold back the arm of the City forward, but referee Mark Clattenburg waved play on.

Kolo Toure sent a tame shot at Bogdan as the half drew to a close, before the Hungary international goalkeeper made a superb block to deny Balotelli with his feet with the last action of the opening 45 minutes.

Balotelli appeared to have left his shooting boots at home in the first half and he was guilty of missing another guilt-edged chance within a minute of the restart as he shot straight at Bogdan after being played through by Gareth Barry.

Barry hit a shot over the bar moments later, before Balotelli once again saw appeals for a penalty turned down after appearing to be pushed in the back by Knight.

Kolo Toure shot just wide as the game reached the hour mark, with the game predicatably slowing down after the high intensity of the first half, with the hosts remaining comfortable in possession.

As the clock approached the 65th minute, City nearly doubled their advantage in strange circumstances, as Pratley's attempted tackle on substitute Edin Dzeko sent the ball looping towards the Bolton goal, with Bogdan relieved to see it come back off the bar.

The second goal did arrive four minutes later, though, as poor defending from Bolton allowed Johnson to cut inside the box, before a cheeky flick with his heel took Wheater and Bogdan out of the game, allowing Balotelli to fire into the empty net.

Johnson had the chance to make it three on 75 minutes, only to drag his shot wide. Yaya Toure and Dzeko both had chances to add to City's tally in the closing stages but, in the end, the two goal margin was enough to give City a comfortable and deserved three points as they race towards the Premier League title.

Defeat for Wanderers means they remain in 19th position, ahead of Wigan Athletic on goal difference. Next up for Coyle's side is the visit of Queens Park Rangers to the Reebok Stadium in next Saturday's lunchtime kick-off.

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta (K Toure 19), Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Y Toure, Barry, Johnson, Pizarro (Dzeko 61), Nasri (Milner 84), Balotelli
Subs Not Used: Pantillimon, Kolarov, Aguero, Silva
Goals: Steinsson 23(og), Balotelli 69

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Steinsson, Knight, Wheater, Ricketts, M Davies, Reo-Coker, Ream, Pratley (Muamba 87), Miyaichi, Ngog
Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Eagles, Petrov, Klasnic, Sordell

Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Attendance: 47,219

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
11 Ipswich Town 20 27
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
14 Accrington Stanley 19 24
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
View Full Standings >>


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