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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 January 2007, 16:57 GMT
Bolton 0-0 Man City
By Chris Bevan

Manchester City striker Bernardo Corradi
Corradi had City's best chances - but could not take them
Bolton had to settle for a draw against a hard-working Manchester City side - who almost snatched victory themselves.

Wanderers dominated but could not break down City's defence despite firing a succession of high balls into the box.

Bernardo Corradi volleyed over for City before the break but Bolton continued to have the lion's share of possession.

Bolton went close through Nicolas Anelka but City should have won it when Darius Vassell crossed but Corradi and Joey Barton somehow missed the target.

When the sides met at Eastlands on 23 December, Anelka scored twice as Bolton claimed an easy victory that boosted their Champions League ambitions.

606 DEBATE: Your views on the match

But City had won all three of their Premiership games since - and, while a win here would have made it their best run since Stuart Pearce took charge in March 2005, you can bet he will be happy to have left with a point.

It is unlikely that Bolton boss Sam Allardyce feels the same way but, for all his side's possession, they rarely managed to carve out a clear-cut chance - with their final ball usually to blame.

Nicky Hunt saw his deflected shot fly just wide after just 30 seconds and Ivan Campo fizzed another effort wide soon after.

But City soon settled and as half-time approached they carved out some opportunities for themselves.

Corradi should have done better after Gary Speed surrended possession and the Italian striker was released by Stephen Ireland only to fire horribly high and wide.

But he almost made up for it when he connected perfectly with Trevor Sinclair's whipped cross, only to see his shot fly just over the bar.

It would have been harsh on Bolton for them to have been behind at the break, and they resumed control after the restart.

The City defence had to cope with sustained pressure but Nicky Weaver still did not have a meaningful save to make, although he had to cope with a succession of crosses.

That changed when Anelka at last sniffed an opening, but Weaver was equal to his low shot.

At the other end, Vassell had toiled without reward for much of the match but his industry was almost rewarded with 20 minutes to go.

His low cross from the right bye-line somehow evaded Corradi from close range and ran through to Barton who found the side, rather than the back, of the net.

City were never going to get a better chance than that and on another day they might have been punished.

But Bolton never looked like sparking into life and, although they did not lack effort, the home side's lack of inspiration in the final third made a draw the best result they could expect.

  • Bolton manager Sam Allardyce:
    "It was a disappointing day but not so long ago this was a game that we would have lost.

    "At least we came away with a clean sheet and a point. That is an indication of what we can do here.

    "But all of the front three were kept too quiet for my liking. When they are on a roll nobody can stop us but we didn't really get any of them going."

  • Manchester City assistant boss Steve Wigley on Barton's miss:
    "Joey was unfortunate - it bobbled up for him at the last moment.

    "We could have won in the end but before the game we would have taken a point and we are delighted.

    "It is not often you come to Bolton and your keeper has only one save to make but our back five were brilliant."

    Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Ben Haim, Meite, Gardner, Speed, Campo, Tal (Teymourian 66), Anelka, Davies (Giannakopoulos 63), Diouf (Vaz Te 80).
    Subs Not Used: Walker, Augustyn.

    Booked: Gardner, Tal.

    Man City: Weaver, Richards, Dunne, Onuoha, Sinclair, Dabo, Barton, Ireland, Distin, Corradi (Samaras 71), Vassell (Miller 90).
    Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Beasley, Matthew Mills.

    Booked: Barton, Dabo.

    Att: 22,334

    Ref: A Marriner (W Midlands).

    Saturday's football photos
    13 Jan 07 |  Football


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