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Page last updated at 16:53 GMT, Saturday, 22 March 2008

Bolton 0-0 Man City

By Chris Bevan

Javier Garrido and Bolton's El Hadji Diouf tussle for possession
Javier Garrido and Bolton's El Hadji Diouf tussle for possession

Bolton ended their five-game Premier League losing streak but stayed in the relegation zone after being held at home by Manchester City.

Gretar Steinsson headed against the post as Bolton started brightly.

City responded with a Stephen Ireland shot that Ricardo Gardner headed off the line but Bolton were dominant.

Only a superb clearance by Joey O'Brien denied City substitute Felipe Caicedo but the home side almost won it when Kevin Davies' header was hacked clear.

Either side could have ended up with all three points but, given their current plight, Bolton will look back on the game with most regret.

But, for all their long spells of pressure, Gary Megson's side ultimately lacked the spark they needed to break City down.

Wanderers did have their moments, however, notably with a flurry of chances in the opening minutes.


El Hadji Diouf tested Joe Hart with a rasping shot and, soon after, he sent in a wicked low cross that just eluded Matthew Taylor and Danny Guthrie and was cleared by Vedran Corluka.

From the ensuing corner, which was taken by Senegal star Diouf, Steinsson was first to the ball and sent his header crashing against the post.

But City survived the early storm and threatened themselves when Petrov's corner was cleared as far as Ireland, who fired in a rasping shot that was headed off the line by Gardner.

Bolton continued to push forward after the break but they were struggling to turn their possession into chances.

And it was City who had the next golden opportunity when Benjani ran clear but he dithered on the ball and, although Elano eventually got a shot away, the opening was wasted.

Only in the final half-hour did the game truly open up and several chances went begging at both ends.

Steinsson's header was blocked by the impressive Richard Dunne before a last-ditch tackle by Elano denied Davies.

Another Steinsson effort was deflected clear and Hart produced a fine save to keep out Diouf's shot from a tight angle.

City were threatening too and Elano's drilled 30-yard shot was pushed away by Ali Ab Habsi before O'Brien's heroic block kept out Caicedo's goalbound effort.

Bolton could still have had the final word when Davies rose to head towards the bottom corner but Petrov was in the right place to clear and ensure his side earned a point.

  • Bolton's Ricardo Gardner will have an X-ray on a rib injury after being carried off on a stretcher late in the first half. The Jamaica midfielder landed awkwardly under a challenge from Darius Vassell.

  • Bolton boss Gary Megson:
    "We have drawn a game we maybe should have won but not through a lack of effort.

    "We gave their goalkeeper a lot to do and we certainly could not have tried any harder.

    "We had a lot of efforts on goal so there is a lot to be positive about but at this stage of the season it is all about getting the three points."

  • Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson:
    "Bolton are fighting for their lives. You have to cope with the way they play and defensively we did okay.

    "Richard Dunne was extremely important to us in dealing with the amount of long balls and crosses they put in.

    "We dealt with them well but we hit too many long balls ourselves and in the future we have to play more football."

    Bolton: Al Habsi, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Gardner (Joey O'Brien 46), Diouf, Nolan, Campo (McCann 63), Guthrie, Taylor (Giannakopoulos 83), Davies.
    Subs Not Used: Walker, Rasiak.

    Booked: Nolan.

    Man City: Hart, Corluka, Onuoha, Dunne, Garrido, Ireland (Elano 58), Gelson, Johnson, Petrov, Vassell (Caicedo 58), Mwaruwari.
    Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Jihai, Castillo.

    Att: 22,633

    Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Manchester City's Martin Petrov 8.00 (on 90 minutes).

    Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

    see also
    Premier League as it happened
    22 Mar 08 |  Premier League
    Saturday's football photos
    22 Mar 08 |  Football
    How to watch Match of the Day
    08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day

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