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Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Saturday, 30 August 2008 17:10 UK

Bolton 0-0 West Brom

By Oliver Brett

Leon Barnett and Fabrice Muamba
Leon Barnett attempts to get the better of Bolton's Fabrice Muamba

West Brom earned their first point of the season in a goalless draw at Bolton, but left the Reebok Stadium with thoughts of what might have been.

Ishmael Miller missed two terrific chances to give West Brom victory.

He hit wide from seven yards with only Jussi Jaaskelainen to beat, then headed weakly straight at the goalkeeper.

Bolton lacked the creative flair of their opponents, and had their best hope of a goal - a Mustapha Riga free-kick - saved by Scott Carson.

In the dying minutes, the home team poured forward, and Kevin Davies had two goals disallowed for off-side.

After a generally dire first-half, both teams played a more expansive game in the second period, but one way or another neither team could carve out the goal they each craved.

Interview: Bolton boss Gary Megson

The early caution was understandable, given that both teams were seeking to recover from dispiriting midweek defeats to League One opposition in the Carling Cup.

But Bolton in particular looked woefully short of productive ideas until after the interval.

Although Carson was not having the most comfortable of afternoons, he was rarely put under pressure and most of the creativity came from the West Brom midfield, where record signing Borja Valero had settled nicely on his debut for the club.

606: DEBATE
ASTLEBOING

The Spaniard released Do-heon Kim on a couple of breaks that almost led to something, and James Morrison had a shot well saved by Jaaskelainen.

Valero then triggered a rapid four-player move down the left which left Bolton's defence flat-footed, but the man who started it off ended with a weak shot that was easily stopped.

Bolton's brightest moment of the first period came when Ricardo Gardner and Kevin Nolan exchanged passes inside the penalty area, but Gardner was pushed too far wide and Carson easily dealt with his shot.

Nolan and Davies's physical brand of play was frequently stifled by the whistle of Keith Stroud.

Baggies belong in this league - Mowbray

And the home fans were not happy with the referee when he then chose to ignore a possible foul by Leon Barnett, as the West Brom defender seemed to tug Nolan's shirt inside the area.

The second half opened quietly but burst into life from the moment Miller missed the first of his two golden opportunities to steal all the points.

Down at the other end, Paul Robinson's foul on Riga was adjudged to have taken place on the very edge of the area.

Riga took the free-kick himself, a right-footed shot that swung in from outside Carson's left-hand post. But the West Brom goalkeeper judged his dive perfectly and palmed the shot over the corner.

Bolton's fans found their voice, and both teams attacked with vigour.

Nolan was unable to direct a header on target from a well-advanced position, but West Brom kept their composure and Kim unleashed a brutal shot from 30 yards which cannoned off the underside off the cross-bar.

Replays suggested the ball might have just passed the goal-line after bouncing down, but in any case Miller should have put the incident beyond doubt.

There was no timing in his header, however, and the chance had gone.


Bolton manager Gary Megson:
"We had four players missing and the people who have come in have done very well.

"But it's better for us to have a big squad and more players to turn to.

"I would like to think we can get one more in definitely, and maybe get two. The transfer window's a real nonsense."

West Brom manager Tony Mowbray:
"Bolton are very, very physical. That's what their game's about. There's a bit of intimidation.

"I've never known a more physical team get so many free-kicks.

"Did I read somewhere that Kevin Davies was the most fouled player and yet gave the most fouls away in the Premier League last year? That's who they are."


Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Andrew O'Brien, Shittu, Samuel, Joey O'Brien (Riga 14), McCann, Muamba, Gardner, Nolan, Davies. Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Helguson, Vaz Te, Dzemaili, Fojut.

Booked: Nolan, McCann.

West Brom: Carson, Zuiverloon, Meite (Hoefkens 46), Barnett, Robinson, Borja Valero (Cech 58), Koren (MacDonald 70), Greening, Morrison, Kim, Miller. Subs Not Used: Kiely, Bednar, Brunt, Moore.

Booked: Robinson, MacDonald.

Att: 20,387

Ref: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: West Brom's Do-heon Kim 6.83 (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
Saturday's football photos
30 Aug 08 |  Football
Live text - Premier League
30 Aug 08 |  Premier League
How to watch Match of the Day
08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day


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