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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 21:54 GMT
Bolton 1-2 Man Utd
Paul Scholes
Manchester United extended their lead at the top of the Premiership by giving Bolton a lesson in finishing.

Paul Scholes put United ahead from close range to make it three goals in four days for United.

Ruud van Nistelrooy doubled the lead when he headed home from barely a yard out after good work from Ryan Giggs.

Bolton more than matched United for large spells but Youri Djorkaeff's late header failed to prevent United claiming a sixth straight league win.

With Chelsea losing at home to Liverpool and Arsenal held to a draw at Everton, United moved three points clear of their title rivals.

After leaving some of his first teamers on the bench against Aston Villa in the FA Cup at the weekend Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson brought back the big guns.

Roy Keane and Van Nistelrooy were back in the starting line-up, while Rio Ferdinand recovered from a bout of flu to start.

Van Nistelrooy was immediately into the action as he drilled a right-foot shot that was well blocked by Simon Charlton.

After a shaky start Bolton rallied and Kevin Nolan almost got on the end of a Jay-Jay Okocha cross with the ball drifting narrowly wide of the post.

KEY MOMENTS
24 mins: Scholes gives the visitors the lead after some fine build-up play
39 mins: Van Nistelrooy doubles Man Utd's lead by heading home from close range
89 mins: Djorkaeff gives Bolton hope by heading a late goal
Per Frandsen tested Tim Howard with a long range effort while Darren Fletcher was narrowly off target at the other end.

United went ahead against the run of play with Scholes finishing off a sweeping move.

The in-form midfielder was involved in the initial build-up along with Keane and Fletcher, who found Giggs on the left.

Van Nistelrooy helped on the Welshman's cross only for Jussi Jaaskelainen to deny the Dutchman with a fine stop, but Scholes was on hand to fire home the rebound.

Bolton responded with Frandsen curling a shot just past the angle.

The home side had a good shout for a penalty when Kevin Davies went down in the area under a challenge from Ferdinand.

The home fans' frustrations grew when United went further ahead through Van Nistelrooy.

Scholes was involved again as he sprung the offside trap and Giggs rounded Jaaskelainen before lobbing the ball towards goal for Van Nistelrooy to head into an empty net.

Bolton enjoyed another spell of dominance but they failed to capitalise.

Van Nistelrooy could have made it three when he broke free, but for once his control let him down and Jaaskelainen was able to save.

Bolton again came back and Davies turned well before putting in a cross that Djorkaeff was inches away from poking home.

Javi Moreno was handed his Bolton debut and he almost marked his first appearance with a goal, but like his new team-mates he was denied by Howard.

The Trotters finally got the goal they deserved through Djorkaeff in the penultimate minute to create a thrilling finale, but a ragged United defence somehow held on.


Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, N'Gotty, Charlton, Gardner (Thome 18), Campo (Ba 82), Frandsen, Djorkaeff, Okocha, Nolan (Javi Moreno 64), Davies.
Subs not used: Poole, Giannakopoulos.

Booked: Hunt, Frandsen.

Man Utd: Howard, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea, Fletcher, Keane (Butt 82), Phil Neville, Giggs (Fortune 84), Scholes, Van Nistelrooy.
Subs not used: Carroll, Kleberson, Forlan.

Attendance: 27,668

Referee: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Ian Brown
"Man Utd can argue this was the perfect work of champions"


Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"We've done well to get the result"




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