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BBC Sport's Peter Slater
"Middlesbrough has few chances"
 real 14k

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce
"At the moment we're relishing the challenge"
 real 14k

Bolton's Per Frandsen
"We've just shown we're not as bad as everyone said we were"
 real 14k

Tuesday, 21 August, 2001, 20:56 GMT 21:56 UK
Ricketts is Bolton hero
Bolton's Anthony Barness tucks in ahead of Boro's Joseph Job
Barness keeps Boro attack at bay
Bolton 1-0 Middlesbrough

Bolton continued their excellent start in the Premiership courtesy of Michael Ricketts' solitary strike against Middlesbrough.

Sam Allardyce's side are now in first place on goal difference from Leeds, while Boro find themselves propping up the table after two straight defeats.

Bolton fans did have to endure a nervous last 10 minutes as Steve McClaren's men went in search of an equaliser but Boro again lacked a cutting edge.

Allardyce decided to stick with the team that got off to a spectacular start at the weekend by thrashing Leicester 5-0.

With Per Frandsen, Kevin Nolan and Ricketts all finding the target, new 600,000 signing Henrik Pedersen had to settle for a place on the bench.

McClaren named Brian Deane in the starting line-up after the 4-0 defeat by Arsenal with Dean Windass one of the substitutes.

Bolton had a scare after just two minutes when Deane got away from his marker but steered his header just wide following a free-kick from Paul Ince.

Nolan, the two-goal hero of Saturday's victory, released Ricardo Gardner two minutes later, only for his effort to go high over the bar.

Bolton's Martin Ricketts outjumps Middlesbrough's Gareth Southgate
Ricketts on target for Bolton

Bolton stepped up the pace and Bo Hansen fired in a shot that keeper Mark Schwarzer fumbled around the post.

Bolton were playing some neat football and Ricketts left Gareth Southgate trailing in his wake after a fine through-ball from Simon Charlton.

Middlesbrough managed to scramble it to safety but they were beginning to look distinctly uneasy.

Bolton took the lead five minutes before the break with a well-worked move.

Hansen found plenty of space on the right and delivered a teasing cross into the path of Ricketts.

He showed marvellous composure to place a shot neatly into the corner beyond Schwarzer.

Middlesbrough almost equalised a minute later when Deane powered in a header from a Ince cross but Gudni Bergsson came from nowhere to clear off the line.

Bolton kept up the pressure at the beginning of the second half and Frandsen cleverly picked out Hansen.

He steadied himself but sent his shot from the edge of the area wide of the target.

Kevin Nolan of Bolton tackles Paul Ince of Middlesbrough
Nolan beats Ince to the ball

Ricketts was causing Middlesbrough problems with his pace and Ugo Ehiogu, sent off against Arsenal on Saturday, was given a yellow card after hauling back the gangly striker.

The visitors were being limited to counter attacks and Ricard spun away from Anthony Barness but failed to find the target with his effort.

Jonathan Greening, recruited from Manchester United, was seeing plenty of the ball for Middlesbrough but was being continually frustrated.

Bolton almost paid for some sloppy defending when Barness failed to cut out a cross from Ince and Ricard got goalside of him but sent his header wide.

Substitute Dean Holdsworth, given a rousing reception by the home fans, came within inches of adding a second from an acute angle.

However, his effort drifted wide.

It was all hands to the pump in the end but Bolton hung on to the delight of their supporters.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Barness, Charlton, Bergsson, Whitlow, Hansen, Frandsen, Warhurst, Gardner, Nolan, Ricketts. Subs: Banks, Pedersen, Holdsworth, Marshall, Southall.

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Fleming, Cooper, Ehiogu, Southgate, Mustoe, Ince, Greening, Deane, Ricard, Job. Subs: Crossley, Vickers, Windass, Okon, Wilson.

Referee: S Dunn (Bristol).

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