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Sunday, 1 September, 2002, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Bolton seal first win
Michael Ricketts nets his second goal of the season
Bolton's Michael Ricketts kept his nerve to earn victory
Bolton 1-0 Aston Villa

Bolton opened their account in the Barclaycard Premiership with a deserved win over Aston Villa at The Reebok Stadium.

Bolton's first win of the season - and their first in the Premiership since April - was as deserved as it was hard-fought, but the game did little to suggest that either side will enjoy a season of comfort.

  Match facts
15 mins: Jaskelainen tips over a Warhurst drive
46 mins: Pedersen effort ruled out for handball
56 mins: Ricketts fires home from penalty spot
66 mins: Angel slots home but ruled out for offside

A woeful first-half was littered with mistakes and injuries - Simon Charlton and Paul Warhurst both forced off for the home side and, worryingly for England, Darius Vassell limping off for Villa.

The game limped along too, before bursting to life in the opening moments of the second half.

Bolton thought they had made the breakthrough 33 seconds after the restart.

We got our shape, commitment and organisation right
Sam Allardyce
Henrik Pedersen bundled home after Peter Enckelman had saved his initial effort, but referee Steve Dunn ruled he had used a hand to control.

Minutes later, Pedersen was out of luck again when he latched on to Ricketts' knock down, only to drag a left-foot shot woefully wide of Peter Enckelman's far post.

But Bolton finally made a deserved breakthrough from the pealty spot on 56 minutes after Pedersen was sent crashing in the area by Enckelman.

Ricketts' spot kick was ice cool, the striker hesitating with his run-up then virtually walking to the ball before beating the committed Enckelman.
Bolton's Simon Charlton (left) holds off the challenge of Darius Vassell
Simon Charlton holds off Darius Vassell

It was only the fourth goal the two teams had managed between them this season.

That statistic would have increased substantially, but for the form of the two Finnish goalkeepers on show in this encounter.

Enckelman saved superbly to deny Warhurst on 15 minutes, fingertipping his long-range drive over the crossbar after Pedersen had teed the midfielder up.

At the other end, Enckelman's internation tea-mate Jussi Jaskelainen was also on form, though he was never required to work nearly as hard as the Villa keeper.

Jaskelainen, determined to keep a first clean sheet of the season, was alert to keep out a drive from Lee Hendrie and then even more athletic in palming away Vassell's follow up.

I thought Juan Pablo looked on side but the assistant referee saw differently
Graham Taylor
And when the big Finn was finally beaten midway through the second half, Juan Pablo Angel's low drive was controversially ruled out for offside.

Replays suggested that the Villa striker was level with play - and that the goal should have stood.

But Jaskelainen saved his best until last, brilliantly blocking substitute J-Lloyd Samuel's wickedly deflected shot in the final minute.

Villa, last year's draw specialists having shared the spoils on 14 occasions, made a frantic late push for a point.

But Samuel's deflected strike and a Gareth Barry shot which flew wide were as close as Graham Taylor's side came as Bolton deservedly held on for their first win.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, N'Gotty, Bergsson, Whitlow, Charlton (Gardner 32), Djorkaeff, Warhurst (Barness 39), Frandsen, Nolan, Ricketts, Pedersen.
Subs Not Used: Poole, Mendy, Holdsworth.

Booked: Pedersen, Ricketts.

Aston Villa: Enckelman, Delaney, Mellberg, Staunton, Wright (Samuel 64), Angel, Hendrie, Kinsella, Barry, Vassell (De la Cruz 45), Crouch (Allback 64).
Subs Not Used: Postma, Hitzlsperger.

Booked: Enckelman, Angel, Hendrie.

Attendance: 22,500

Referee: S Dunn (Avon).

BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton
"Bolton were the better team for long periods"
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce
"It's a very important three points for us"
Aston Villa boss Graham Taylor
"I was very disappointed with the assistant referee"
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