Sunday, 13 February 2011

Bolton 2 - 0 Everton

Daniel Sturridge scored his third goal in three games to help Bolton earn a scrappy victory over Everton.
The hosts took an early lead when Gary Cahill ran clear to head in Stuart Holden's free-kick from the left.
Tim Cahill could have levelled when he failed to make proper contact with Leighton Baines' fine cross.
But Sturridge, 21, underlined his potency in front of goal since joining the Trotters in January by lashing in following a Bolton free-kick.
The on-loan Chelsea forward also went close late on and his form shows that he can deliver when given the chance to play from the start.
His two league starts for his new club are as many as he has achieved in the previous two seasons at Stamford Bridge.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle and his men were boosted by this win which keeps them in eighth spot in the Premier League but it was a miserable afternoon for their opponents, who could not find any rhythm to their play and were restricted to very few chances.
Everton manager David Moyes cut a dejected figure at the final whistle and will wonder how his team failed to fire after crashing in five goals against Blackpool last weekend.
The Merseysiders were without the injured striker Louis Saha and although they had Tim Cahill back in attack, combinations by other players seemed disjointed.
Sturridge, on the other hand, linked well his new team-mates from the start and proved a suitable beneficiary of Kevin Davies's knockdowns.
With Johan Elmander coming in off the right, Coyle's team were looking more fluid and, after a Sam Ricketts shot was pulled wide, the hosts took the lead in fortunate circumstances.
Victor Anichebe was adjudged to have fouled Paul Robinson deep on Bolton's left flank, although the contact by the Bolton defender looked stronger, and from the resulting free-kick Holden whipped in a dead ball which Gary Cahill met on the run.
The ball took a deflection from Johnny Heitinga on its way in but Moyes was fuming with his defenders for allowing Gary Cahill so much room in the box.
Tim Cahill returned to the Toffees' starting line-up after the Asia Cup and was perhaps a bit rusty when meeting Baines' fine cross soon after, where he could have easily levelled matters.
But his attempted volley from six yards out bounced into the ground and over the bar when a header might have yielded a better result.
The Australian was part of a five-man Everton midfield, swapping positions with Mikel Arteta regularly, and the Spaniard found Anichebe with a fine through ball, but the stretching Zat Knight managed to cover.
Unfortunately for the defender, who has completed all of Bolton's last 50 Premier League games, he injured his knee ligaments in the process and is expected to be out for a couple of weeks.
With a goal cushion, Bolton's advances became fewer and it took time for Everton to wrest more control of the game, with Arteta's shot the only tangible effort before half-time.
That shift in the game's balance was in part down to Moyes' decision to push Cahill further up the field but they also looked threatening via Baines' deliveries.
As the rain began to lash down the game turned scrappy with Tim Cahill and Sturridge off-target with half-chances.
And despite Moyes' attempts to change his team's focus with a double substitution, the on-loan Sturridge again showed his ruthlessness in front of goal when he fired in to double Bolton's lead.
Following a free-kick where Gary Cahill made a nuisance of himself, Lee Chung-yong beat the Everton defence to a header and Sturridge was free to smash in from the angle.
That goal took the tension out of Coyle's side and pretty much ended the game as a contest.
Despite some probings by Anichebe, the Everton midfield could not find the crucial pass to their forwards, with the Nigerian and substitute Jermaine Beckford left frustrated.
Holden had the ball in the back of the net from Sturridge's classy back-heel but the ball was deemed to have gone out of play, while Sturridge and Elmander could have made it worse for the visitors but their shots were narrowly wide.
The defeat leaves Moyes' team six points above the relegation zone and although his team appear to have the talent to avoid that stress, this display will cause them concern.

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