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Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 17:01 GMT
Nolan strike sinks Villa
Youri Djorkaeff and Steve Staunton battle for the ball
Youri Djorkaeff and Steve Staunton battle for the ball
Bolton Wanderers 3-2 Aston Villa
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A stunning Kevin Nolan free-kick gave Bolton the three points they so desperately need in their attempt to beat relegation.

The 76th-minute strike set up a nervous last quarter of an hour at the Reebok Stadium, as Villa searched for an equaliser and Bolton's fans prayed for the final whistle.

  Reebok Stadium goals
8 mins: Nolan's volley deflects off Delaney to leave Schmeichel helpless
15 mins: Warhurst diverts Boateng's cross into his own net
17 mins: Taylor heads home a Hitzlsperger corner
40 mins: Bobic finishes coolly after a Djorkaeff free-kick
76 mins: Nolan fires a free-kick past Schmeichel

Nolan's 25-yard effort handed Bolton only their fourth home win of the season - and lifted them above Sunderland to 15th place in the Premiership table.

The midfielder also played a key role in Bolton's opening goal after just eight minutes.

His ambitious 30-yard volley deflected off Villa defender Mark Delaney to leave Peter Schmeichel completely helpless in the Villa goal.

But Bolton returned the favour on 15 minutes when Paul Warhurst diverted George Boateng's cross past Kevin Poole.

It has been a magnificent day when you consider how some of the other struggling clubs have fared
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce
Worse was to follow for the home side two minutes later when Ian Taylor rose highest to head home a Thomas Hitzlsperger corner.

But the Premiership strugglers hauled themselves back into the game on 40 minutes when Fredi Bobic scored his goal for the club.

The on-loan striker reacted quickest to poke home Youri Djorkaeff's free-kick.

I think it's fair to say I am angry and disappointed
Villa boss Graham Taylor
The second half was a scrappy affair and neither side appeared to be doing enough to take all three points until Nolan's dramatic intervention.

And after this second straight win, Sam Allardyce's charges are well on their way to preserving their Premiership status.

Bolton: Poole, N'Gotty, Warhurst, Konstantinidis, Charlton, Nolan, Frandsen (Whitlow 31), Bobic, Gardner, Djorkaeff (Ricketts 66), Holdsworth.
Subs Not Used: Cassar, Wallace, Barness.
Booked: Konstantinidis, Gardner, Holdsworth.

Aston Villa: Schmeichel, Delaney (Samuel 71), Mellberg, Staunton, Barry, Hadji, Boateng, Taylor, Hitzlsperger, Crouch, Vassell (Angel 71).
Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Balaban, Kachloul.
Booked: Schmeichel, Staunton.

Att: 24,600

Ref: R Styles (Waterlooville).

BBC Sport's Alan Biggs
"A very big win for Bolton"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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