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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 October 2007, 15:26 GMT
Bolton 1-1 Aston Villa
By Jamie Lillywhite

Luke Moore
Moore came off the bench and was alert to chest in the Villa equaliser

Luke Moore denied Gary Megson in his first league match in charge of Bolton, as the points were shared before the Reebok Stadium's lowest league crowd.

Nicolas Anelka gave Bolton a deserved lead with a free-kick into the top corner before leaving the field in the second half with a thigh injury.

Bolton had two penalty claims rejected and were incensed by Moore's equaliser.

The referee overturned a Bolton throw and Gabriel Agbonlahor raced clear to set up substitute Moore to chest in.

It would be untrue to suggest that Megson's appointment had created feverish excitement amongst the Bolton followers.

There were plenty of empty blue seats again at the Reebok - not as many as last Thursday when 10,848 attended the club's Uefa Cup match - but a crowd of 18,413 is hardly what the Bolton treasurer would have hoped for.

Villa came close in the opening minute, Shaun Maloney's free-kick left by Jussi Jaaskelainen but curling only inches above the top corner.

It was to prove Villa's best moment for the next 44 minutes as Bolton had the better of a disappointing first period.


The home side had a strong penalty claim turned down as Wilfred Bouma appeared to push the ball away from Kevin Davies.

Ricardo Gardner's attempt to administer his opinion of justice was unimpressive, the full-back falling theatrically to the ground when Zat Knight's challenge clearly made no contact.

England midfielder Gareth Barry, at 26 beating Frank Lampard's record as the youngest player to reach 300 Premier League games, needed to be alert to block a close-range opportunity for Kevin Nolan.

It took Villa until the final minute of the half to find the target, Maloney's weaving run culminating in a 20-yard shot that Jaaskelainen spilled, with Bolton scrambling clear before Agbonlahor could pounce.

Martin O'Neill was understandably less than impressed, but it was Maloney who came off along with Isaiah Osbourne at half-time, with Moore and Patrik Berger introduced.

Martin Laursen's short back-pass almost left the replacements with even more to do, however, keeper Stuart Taylor racing out to block Anelka.

But Villa found their way back in somewhat controversial circumstances.

The linesman had signalled for a Bolton throw but referee Martin Atkinson overruled, much to the bewilderment of Bolton who had switched off and were stunned as Agbonlahor was released down the right flank.

He jinked in towards goal and fizzed in a cross-shot that Moore was able to deflect in off his chest ahead of the defenders at the near post.

Bolton had further cause for complaint when the ball brushed Knight's elbow as he rose to try to clear a corner, referee Atkinson again waving away the penalty appeals.

There might still have been time for Bolton, but Gardner's low shot was parried by Taylor and El Hadji Diouf blazed over with his left foot from an acute angle inside the six-yard box.

  • Bolton boss Gary Megson:
    "I was happy with the effort.

    "At times I didn't think we could sustain it, and we weren't as solid as in the first half, but it gives us a bit of optimism to go forward."

  • Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill:
    "We tried a different system, it wasn't working and it was up to us to change it. Things were better in the second half without being terrific.

    "Bolton were putting it in, we were coping reasonably well but you never know so I'm satisfied with a point, we probably deserved it.

    "The decision (for the goal) was right, the referee could see more clearly and we reacted quickly."

    Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Joey O'Brien, Meite, Andrew O'Brien, Gardner, Nolan, Campo (Speed 65), McCann (Guthrie 71), Davies, Anelka (Samuel 79), Diouf. Subs Not Used: Walker, Giannakopoulos.

    Booked: Anelka, Campo.

    Goals: Anelka 22.

    Aston Villa: Taylor, Mellberg, Knight, Laursen, Bouma, Petrov, Osbourne (Berger 46), Barry, Young, Agbonlahor, Maloney (Moore 46). Subs Not Used: Sorensen, Harewood, Davies.

    Booked: Young.

    Goals: Moore 57.

    Att: 18,413

    Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

    Megson accepts fans' frustration
    26 Oct 07 |  Bolton Wanderers
    Megson appointed Bolton manager
    25 Oct 07 |  Bolton Wanderers
    Premier League as it happened
    28 Oct 07 |  Premier League
    Sunday's football photos
    28 Oct 07 |  Football


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