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Saturday, 27 October, 2001, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Villa beat Bolton to go top
Angel heads Villa's first goal against Bolton
Angel heads Villa's first goal against Bolton

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Aston Villa 3-2 Bolton Wanderers

Aston Villa went top of the Premiership for the first time in almost three years after a brace from Juan Pablo Angel sank Bolton.

Darius Vassell scored the other Villa goal as John Gregory's side capitalised upon draws for both Leeds and Arsenal to take a one-point lead at the top of the table.

Bolton could not repeat the heroics of their win against Manchester United at Old Trafford last Saturday but, after trailing 3-1, fought back and were unlucky not to collect a point.

  Key moments
2 mins: Michael Ricketts scores
13 mins: Juan Pablo Angel equalises
43 mins: Darius Vassell gives Villa the lead
47 mins: Angel scores from penalty spot
75 mins: Ricketts makes the score 3-2

Michael Ricketts scored both Bolton's goals, notching the first in only the second minute of the match.

The Villa defence failed to react to a hopeful ball over the top by Per Frandsen and, as they appealed for off-side, Ricketts collected the ball and shot past Peter Schmeichel from 18 yards.

Villa, unbeaten at home this season, responded 11 minutes later through Juan Pablo Angel.

The last 15 minutes seemed to last an hour, but it's nice to be top at any time
Aston Villa manager John Gregory
The Colombian striker - back in the side for Dion Dublin - was left unchallenged at Steve Staunton's corner and headed low past Banks, who had remained on his line.

Villa dominated the remainder of the first-half and were rewarded with a second goal shortly before half-time.

Hassan Kachloul, Lee Hendrie and Mustapha Hadji all had shots at goal before Alpay and Angel combined to create Vassell's goal.

Rod Wallace came on for Bolton at the start of the second half but almost immediately after his arrival Villa extended their lead.

Referee Eddie Wolstenholme gave Villa a penalty for Ricardo Garner's push on Hadji, which Angel placed past Banks' right.

Angel almost completed a 50-minute hat-trick but Banks tipped his 18-yard shot over the crossbar.

Vassell celebrates his strike
Vassell celebrates his strike
Both sides created further chances - Hendrie denied by Banks and Wallace denied by Schmeichel - before Ricketts scored for the visitors.

Gardner knocked the ball past Mark Delaney and crossed from the by-line for Ricketts to score his second of the game and eighth of the season.

It was two minutes before the end of the first half and two minutes at the beginning of the second that changed the course of the game for us
Bolton manager Sam Allardyce
Substitute Paul Merson might have extended Villa's lead with an acrobatic volley - but it was Bolton who finished the better of the two teams.

Gudni Bergsson should have scored with a chance from close range but a nervous looking Villa defence held on for the win.

Aston Villa: Schmeichel, Delaney, Alpay, Staunton, Wright, Hadji, Boateng, Hendrie, Kachloul, Angel, Vassell.
Subs: Taylor, Dublin, Merson, Enckelman, Ginola.

Bolton: Banks, N'Gotty, Bergsson, Diawara, Charlton, Hansen, Nolan, Frandsen, Farrelly, Gardner, Ricketts.
Subs: Hendry, Holdsworth, Wallace, Barness, Poole.

Referee: E Wolstenholme (Blackburn)

BBC Sport's Ian Brown
"Villa held out to go top for the first time in almost three years"
Villa boss John Gregory
"Pschologically it does wonders for the whole club"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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