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Saturday, 9 February, 2002, 17:09 GMT
Bolton win at last
Ricardo Gardner struck the only goal seven minutes before half-time
Ricardo Gardner struck the winner after 38 minutes
Bolton 1-0 West Ham
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A sizzling goal from Jamaican international Ricardo Gardner put Bolton back on winning ways for the first time in 13 Premiership games.

It was also Wanderers' first home league victory since they defeated Liverpool at the Reebok Stadium back in August.

West Ham fought hard in the second half in an attempt to claim an unlikely victory - but Bolton bravely held on for three vital points to ease their relegation fears.

For Glenn Roeder's Hammers, it was the fourth successive defeat on their Premiership travels.

  Key moments
22 mins: Ricketts misses
38 mins: Gardner breaks deadlock
45 mins: Warhurst substituted
68 mins: Dailly misses

Trotters boss Sam Allardyce handed Denmark international midfielder Stig Tofting his debut while Federic Kanoute recovered from a hamstring problem to start up front for West Ham.

England hopeful Jermain Defoe, who scored twice against Chelsea in midweek, nearly reopened his Hammers' goalscoring account after 12 minutes.

Fed by Joe Cole, Defoe shot left-footed 12 yards out - only to be brilliantly denied by Bolton's Finnish keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Defoe's fellow England hopeful Michael Ricketts had an even better opportunity to break the deadlock nine minutes later.

The Bolton striker seized on Tofting's delightful chipped through ball. Ricketts skipper clear but side-footed tamely straight at Hammers keeper David James.

Perhaps it was not very pretty but a victory was very important
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce
Bolton though grabbed a deserved opener after 38 minutes.

Tofting's long throw was missed by the whole of the Hammers defence.

Fredi Bobic hooked the ball back to Reggae Boy Gardner, whose stinging left-foot shot went through a crowd of players and past West Ham goalkeeper James.

The Hammers almost bagged a somewhat undeserved equaliser two minutes after the interval.

Good work by French striker Kanoute fashioned an opening for Cole, but the youngster failed to divert the ball goalwards.

Wanderers dug in, though, as they fought to claim the crucial three points for the first time in 13 outings.

Our keeper David James was a spectator and while I'm disappointed with the result, I can't fault the effort of my players
Hammers manager Glenn Roeder
Kanoute, who had been booked for diving in the first half, was fortunate to stay on after taking a couple of tumbles late on as West Ham sought an equaliser.

As Bolton packed their defence, West Ham's best chance to equalise arrived midway through the second period.

Another dangerous corner from Vladimir Labant picked out the unmarked Christian Dailly in the Bolton six-yard box.

But somehow the Scottish defender directed a point-blank header over the bar.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, N'Gotty, Bergsson, Whitlow, Charlton, Tofting, Warhurst (Southall 45), Nolan, Gardner, Ricketts (Holdsworth 83), Bobic (Hansen 86).
Subs Not Used: Poole, Wallace.
Booked: Warhurst.

West Ham: J James, Schemmel, Dailly, Foxe, Minto, Cole, Lomas, Labant, Kanoute, Defoe, Garcia (Kitson 77).
Subs Not Used: Andersson, Potts, Courtois, McCann.
Booked: Foxe, Kanoute, Lomas.

Att: 24,342

Att: 24,342

Ref: D Pugh (Bebington).

BBC Sport's Stuart Hall
"Bolton had to win"
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce
"Conditions were extremely difficult"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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