Aston Villa 1-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • April 24, 2012 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton have given themselves renewed hope of Premier League survival after coming from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park.

Three goals in as many minutes shaped events on a strange night in the Midlands, with the Trotters coming out on top in a relegation six-pointer.

Stephen Ireland broke the deadlock just after the hour as the hosts went in front, but Wanderers were level within 60 seconds as Martin Petrov beat Shay Given from the penalty spot, after Mark Davies had been fouled by Carlos Cuellar.

Amazingly, the goals continued and Bolton were ahead moments later as David Ngog pounced from six yards to smash the ball into the back of the Villa net and give the visitors victory.

Villa made a positive start on a wet evening at the famous old stadium and almost went ahead inside the opening minute as Chris Herd headed over Adam Bogdan's crossbar from a Charles N'Zogbia corner.

The hosts were back on the goal trail moments later and Wanderers were lucky to escape as Emile Heskey volleyed narrowly off target, after Sam Ricketts had failed to deal with a long throw.

Andreas Weimann headed wide of the target a minute later as Villa continued to signal their attacking intentions for the rest of the game.

Bolton's first chance of the night arrived on 15 minutes, courtesy of Chris Eagles. After linking up with Ryo Miyaichi down the right flank, Eagles sent the ball goalwards, only to see his strike blocked by Nathan Baker.

After seeing a volley sail over the bar earlier in the game, Heskey was closer to scoring with his next attempt. Picking up the loose ball on the edge of the Bolton box, Heskey's shot looked destined for the bottom corner, only to be denied by a fine stop from Bogdan.

Tempers flared just before the half hour mark as Miyaichi was bundled into the advertising boards by Villa defender Eric Lichaj, prompting an angry exchange of views from both benches, with Owen Coyle and Villa coach Kevin MacDonald having to be kept apart by fourth official Craig Pawson.

Villa came agonisingly close to opening the scoring ten minutes before the break, with Warnock clipping the top of the Bolton bar from just inside the box.

The home side struck the woodwork again, just before the break. This time, a 35-yard free-kick from N'Zogbia had Bogdan routed to the spot, only to clip the outside of the post and go behind for a goal kick.

After a lacklustre opening 45 minutes, Coyle opted to bring Kevin Davies on for the ineffective Ryo Miyaichi, with Eagles moving over to the right of midfield in a 4-4-2 formation.

The change almost paid instant dividends as a flick from Davies sent Petrov clear on goal, only for the quick thinking of Shay Given preventing the Bulgaria international a clear sight of goal.

Cuellar headed wide of the Bolton target on 53 minutes, before Eagles shot straight at Given, at the other end, just 60 seconds later.

Eagles then came close to giving the visitors a shock lead as his free-kick from fully 40 yards almost caught out Given, who made a smart stop to deny the former Manchester United and Burnley midfielder.

Just after the hour, Villa took the lead. N'Zogbia raced away from Ricketts down the right wing and put a low cross into the Bolton box for Warnock to slide past Bogdan from close range.

Many would have predicted a comfortable victory for the home side at that point, but, miraculously, Wanderers would then score two goals in as many minutes as they silenced a stunned Villa Park.

A minute after falling behind, Mark Davies took a tumble inside the box after a challenge from Cuellar and referee Chris Foy pointed to the spot. Petrov stepped up to take the resulting penalty and made no mistake in beating Given from 12 yards.

Then, 64 seconds later, they had the lead. Eagles raced into the Villa box down the right hand side and clipped the ball into Ngog, who calmly lashed the ball into the net to send the travelling Wanderers supporters into dreamland.

Bolton could smell blood and almost added a third moments later, only for Herd to throw himself in the way of an Eagles shot that looked destined for the goal.

With the game entering the final 20 minutes, Villa saw appeals for a penalty turned down as Kevin Davies clashed with Herd, though, in truth, the majority of the appeals came from the home supporters behind the goal.

N'Zogbia shot over the bar soon after, before more penalty appeals were turned down. This time, Weimann went down under a challenge from Tim Ream inside the Bolton box, but the referee wasn't listening to the appeals.

The Trotters raced away on the counter attack with just five minutes remaining and had Eagles' cross been a little more accurate, Kevin Davies would surely have sealed the points with a third goal.

That was to be Eagles' last involvement in the game, as he limped off with a hamstring problem and replaced by Marcos Alonso for the closing stages.

Villa substitute Barry Bannan fired a snapshot wide of the target in stoppage time, but that was the closest they came to an equaliser as Bolton recorded their first league win at Villa Park since December 2006.

The win moves Wanderers up one place to 18th in the Premier League table, three points behind Villa, but, more importantly, just one behind fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic, with a game in hand.

Bolton return to action on Saturday afternoon as they continue their fight for survival with a trip to the Stadium of Light, where they will face Martin O'Neill's Sunderland.

Aston Villa: Given, Hutton, Cuellar, Baker, Lichaj, Albrighton (Bannan 77), Herd (Delfouneso 88), Warnock, N'Zogbia, Heskey (Agbonlahor 70), Weimann
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Clark, Gardner, Carruthers
Booked: Lichaj
Goals: Warnock 61

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Steinsson, Ream, Wheater, Ricketts, Miyaichi (K Davies 46), Reo-Coker, M Davies, Petrov, Eagles (Alonso 86), Ngog (Klasnic 72)
Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, Knight, Sordell, Vela
Booked: Ricketts, Ream
Goals: Petrov 62(pen), Ngog 63

Referee: Chris Foy
Attendance: 32,263

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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