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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007, 20:53 GMT 21:53 UK
Bolton 1-0 Rabotnicki (agg 2-1)
By Nathan Mercer

Nicolas Anelka
Anelka's introduction inspired Bolton
Bolton edged into the group stage of the Uefa Cup with a drab victory over a limited Rabotnicki side.

Sammy Lee's under-strength starting line-up produced few clear-cut chances until Nicolas Anelka's introduction midway through the second half.

And the striker's first touch was to head fellow substitute Stelios Giannakopoulos' pin-point cross over the helpless keeper Tome Pacovski.

Rabotnicki pressed in the closing stages but Bolton held firm.


The win extends Bolton's unbeaten run of matches to five, and while it may not be spectacular form, it represents a solidarity that may silence the boo-boys plauging Sammy Lee's reign.

But Bolton welcome Chelsea next, followed by a trip to league leaders Arsenal where they will need to perform far better than this showing.

Lee gambled by making seven changes to his side with strike duo Anelka and El-Hadji Diouf relegated to the substitutes' bench.

Rabotnicki began brightly with some neat early touches but were ultimately toothless in attack and ponderous in midfield.

Neither goalkeeper was seriously troubled in the opening 45 minutes although Bolton's Danny Guthrie stung the hands of visiting stopper Pacovski with a curling free-kick from 30 yards.

Guthrie also saw a low drive through a crowd of players comfortably saved by Pacovski, while the on-loan Liverpool midfielder turned provider for Kevin Davies who had his close-range header cleared off the line.

Stelios Giannakopoulos
Stelios provided rare moments of quality for the home side

The hosts were allowed to dominate throughout but Wanderers lacked the creative spark of the benched Anelka and Diouf, with Davies too often isolated up front.

But Lee's side still boasted enough quality in their ranks to punish a limited opposition.

Stelios was introduced at the break to inject some much-needed spark. And 10 minutes after his arrival, he rounded Pacovski and cut his shot back from a tight angle, only to see his effort blocked on the line.

Davies wasted a fine chance to nod home from close range when he glanced wide with the goal at his mercy.

With Davies wasteful and Bolton cautious, Lee threw on his top scorer Anelka in search of a decisive goal.

Anelka duly responded with his first touch, looping a header over a clueless Pacovski from Stelios' cross from the left flank.

Rabotnicki's only chance of note fell to substitute Ivan Pejcic who slashed wide from just inside the box after a fine run. But the tiny band of Macedonian fans were rarely treated.

Diouf was later introduced which further settled the hosts and barring a late rally from the visitors, Bolton closed out the game to progress.

  • Bolton boss Sammy Lee:
    "I was pleased with the application, they were as good as I can ask for, there has been good progress.

    "It was important to get through and the players who came in did their job well. We had good strength in depth on the bench and that shows progress.

    "Whenever you introduce Anelka he will make an impact, but overall it was a good team performance."

  • Rabotnicki coach Dragoljub Bekvalac:
    "We knew that Bolton were a decent team and we tried our best.

    "As in the first leg we didn't disappoint our spectators and we had our chances.

    "But Bolton also had their chances and we didn't take ours, while they did."

    Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Joey O'Brien, Andrew O'Brien, Michalik, Cid, McCann, Braaten (Diouf 75), Guthrie, Alonso (Giannakopoulos 46), Wilhelmsson, Davies (Anelka 66).
    Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Teymourian, Meite, Gardner.

    Goals: Anelka 68.

    Rabotnicki Kometal: Pacovski, Kovacevic, Stanisic, Vajs, Lukmon (Bozinovski 75), Milisavljevic, Demiri, Osmani (Velkovski 46), Gligorov, Nedzipi, Trickovski (Pejcic 63).
    Subs Not Used: Madzovski, Mensur, Lazarevski, Mihajlovic.

    Booked: Vajs, Stanisic, Gligorov, Kovacevic, Bozinovski.

    Att: 18,932

    Ref: Tommy Skjerven (Norway).

    Uefa Cup photos
    04 Oct 07 |  Football
    Rabotnicki Kometal 1-1 Bolton
    20 Sep 07 |  Europe


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