Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Watford

  • February 22, 2014 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton secured a first league win of 2014 on Saturday, as goals from Lukas Jutkiewicz and Joe Mason gave them a 2-0 victory over Watford.

On their first start together, both loan forwards were on target as Wanderers picked up three points for the first time since Boxing Day.

Lukas Jutkiewicz opened the scoring 10 minutes before the break, as he directed a Jay Spearing free-kick beyond Manuel Almunia, before Joe Mason notched on his second debut for the club - racing clean through on goal and slotting beyond the Watford goalkeeper with ease.

Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman made one change to the side that drew at Millwall last weekend, with Mason coming in for Chris Eagles, who dropped to the bench.

With the home supporters interested in seeing how the new frontline would shape up, the first chance of the game fell the way of the hosts - but Almunia raced out to smother the ball after a neat build-up involving Jutkiewicz and Mason.

Watford's first chance came in the sixth minute, although Alex Baptiste was in the perfect position to clear the ball from under his own crossbar after Mark Davies had conceded a free-kick for a late challenge on Marcos Davide Faraoni.

Almunia did well to deny Mason in a one-on-one situation in the 10th minute, before Wanderers were thankful to Adam Bogdan - who flung himself across his goal to push away Troy Deeney's goalbound header from point-blank range.

Bolton immediately broke up to the other end of the field and Mason looked set to end a 50-yard run with the opening goal. He broke clear of three defenders and rounded the goalkeeper, but Faraoni slid in to concede a corner and deny the Cardiff City loanee what would have been an outstanding individual goal.

Almunia then denied Mason from the resulting corner, before Wanderers were forced into an early change as Neil Danns came on for Darren Pratley - who appeared to be nursing a shoulder injury.

A slip from Tim Ream then provided the visitors with an opportunity, but Bogdan got down to parry Faraoni's shot to safety.

Daniel Tozser and Sean Murray both shot wide as the game passed the half-hour, while Jutkiewicz also brought Almunia into action. The next piece of goalmouth action did result in a goal, though, as Bolton broke the deadlock 10 minutes before the interval.

After Jutkiewicz had seen a goal ruled out for offside, referee Frederick Graham pulled play back for a Bolton free-kick due to the lack of an advantage. Spearing curled the ball into the Watford box and the big centre-forward made sure his name was on the scoresheet, as he prodded the ball past Almunia from close range.

David Wheater headed over the bar in the latter stages of the half, but Wanderers did manage to double their advantage in the final minute of the half. Danns' header put Mason clean through on goal. He strolled into the penalty area, composed himself and slotted under an advancing Almunia to net on his second debut for the club and give the hosts a comfortable 2-0 half-time lead.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second half, but the visitors were forced into an early substitution as Daniel Pudil came on for the injured Marco Cassetti. He suffered that problem in the opening minute of the second period, as he struggled to keep pace with Mason.

The first real chance of the half came 10 minutes after the restart, as Medo Kamara curled a free-kick narrowly wide of the target after Danns had been fouled by Ekstrand on the edge of the Watford box.

Davies sliced a shot wide of the target just before the hour, before Danns' acrobatic volley was superbly stopped by Almunia - with the ball set to fly into the top corner.

Deeney was thwarted by a last-ditch challenge from Matt Mills at the midway stage of the half, before Sean Murray shot straight at Bogdan from the edge of the box.

Bogdan made another easy save 15 minutes from time, with Battocchio the man taking aim at goal on that occasion, while Almunia denied Mason at the other end in yet another one-on-one situation.

Lee Chung-Yong replaced Davies for the final 10 minutes and he should have registered a third goal with his first touch, but he instead opted to tee-up Mason after Jutkiewicz had pulled the ball back across the six-yard box. Mason, like most inside the stadium, wasn't expecting the pass and the chance was wasted.

A free-kick from Danns was the last shooting action of the game, which came inside six minutes of added-on time, but there was little threat from Watford as Bolton saw out time to claim a first league win in 10 attempts - much to the delight of the home supporters.

Freedman's side return to action next Saturday, when they play host to promotion chasing Blackburn Rovers in the latest installment of their Lancashire rivalry.

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Baptiste, Mills, Wheater, Ream, Kamara, Spearing, M Davies (Chung-Yong 79), Pratley (Danns 24), Mason (Trotter 87), Jutkiewicz
Subs Not Used: Eagles, Hall, Knight, Lonergan
Booked: Kamara
Goals: Jutkiewicz 35, Mason 45

Watford: Almunia, Faraoni, Angella, Cassetti (Pudil 48), Ekstrand, Anya, Merkel (Battocchio 61), Murray, Tozser, Chu-Yong (Ranegie 61), Deeney
Subs Not Used: Belkalem, Doyley, Bond, Hoban
Booked: Ekstrand, Angella, Faraoni

Referee: Frederick Graham
Attendance: 15,179

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Peterborough United 2 6
2 Exeter City 2 4
3 Bolton Wanderers 2 4
4 Sheffield Wednesday 2 4
5 Accrington Stanley 2 4
View Full Standings >>


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