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BBC Sport's Ian Brown
"Rest assured Sam (Allardyce) already has his shopping list ready"
 real 14k

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce
"The pressure of todays game was immense"
 real 56k

Monday, 28 May, 2001, 23:52 GMT 00:52 UK
Brilliant Bolton seal Premiership return
Holdsworth is challenged by Ryan Kidd
Bolton's Holdsworth is challenged by Kidd
Bolton 3-0 Preston

Bolton deservedly secured a return to the top flight by beating their Lancashire rivals Preston in Cardiff.

Midfielder Gareth Farrelly gave the Trotters the lead early in the first-half before super-sub Michael Ricketts and Ricardo Gardner made victory more emphatic late on.

Preston rallied in the closing stages but were outplayed for the majority of the game.

The Bolton midfield of Per Frandsen, Kevin Nolan and Farrelly took control and their strikers constantly threatened.

  Key incidents
4 mins: Preston's Jon Macken misses a good opportunity.
17 mins: Gareth Farrelly puts Bolton in the lead with a powerful drive.
90 mins: Michael Ricketts puts victory beyond doubt.
90 mins: Ricardo Gardner scores a brilliant individual goal.
But it was Preston who created the first clear chance of the game, after just four minutes.

David Healy, the only player in North End's squad with Premiership experience, broke down the right wing before sending an excellent cross into the box.

It evaded Gudni Bergsson and fell to Jon Macken, who disappointingly headed straight at Matt Clarke from only eight yards.

Preston failed to create another meaningful opening for the rest of the half as their opponents dominated proceedings.

Bolton were more controlled in possession and their three-pronged strikeforce of Gardner, Bo Hansen and Dean Holdsworth caused Preston's rearguard numerous problems.

And they deservedly took the lead after 17 minutes. Rob Edwards, looking shaky in the centre of Preston's defence, miscued a clearance and the ball fell to Farrelly 20 yards out.

The former Everton player's low right-footed drive took a slight deflection and went past Lucas into the corner of the net.

Wanderers created several more chances to extend their lead.

The best fell to veteran striker Holdsworth, who found himself one-on-one with Lucas inside the area after being cleverly set up by Kevin Nolan.

But he took too long to shoot and Preston's keeper was able to save with his body.

Preston were much-improved after the break, no doubt motivated by a half-time rollicking from boss David Moyes.

Mark Rankine made some threatening runs into the box from central midfield and had a couple of good chances he should have made more of.

And his runs created space for Macken and Healy.

Preston's Healy (l) runs at Farrelly
Preston's Healy (l) runs at Farrelly
With 20 minutes to go, the strike duo linked up excellently. Macken held off Colin Hendry on the edge of the area and fed the ball to Healy, who curled a shot that was palmed away by Clarke.

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce sensed the danger and switched from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2, with Ricketts coming off the bench to partner Holdsworth in attack.

And yet again, the super-sub had a decisive impact on the game.

In the final minute he collected a long ball from Farrelly and evaded Ryan Kidd before rounding Lucas and slotting into an unguarded net.

Then in injury time, Gardner picked the ball up in his own half and skipped several despairing challenges before thumping the ball home from close-range.

Bolton: Clarke, Bergsson, Hendry, Barness, Charlton, Frandsen, Farrelly, Nolan, Gardner, Holdsworth, Hansen. Subs: Banks, Whitlow, Elliott, Ricketts, Marshall.

Preston: Lucas, Alexander, Edwards, Murdock, Kidd, Gregan, Rankine, McKenna, Macken, Healy, Cartwright. Subs: Moilanen, Jackson, Barry-Murphy, Cresswell, Anderson.

Referee: U Rennie (Sheffield).

See also:

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