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Bolton 2-0 Man City

By Chris Bevan

Bolton celebrate after Gardner breaks the deadlock
Bolton celebrate after Gardner breaks the deadlock

Bolton climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone after scoring two late goals to sink Manchester City.

City had the best of a drab first half that saw Stephen Ireland and Ched Evans test home keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

But Bolton improved after the break and took the lead when Ricardo Gardner turned in Gretar Steinsson's cross.

City seemed to run out of ideas and Wanderers made sure of victory when Richard Dunne turned Gardner's low cross into his own net at the far post.

The win was Bolton's first at home since the opening day of the season and a timely one for Wanderers boss Gary Megson, who has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks.

A positive result for either side had looked unlikely in the early stages, with Bolton - who were bottom of the table at the start of the day - showing why they have found goals so hard to come by and City again struggling to reproduce their home form on their travels.


With both sides playing with just one striker, play all too often got bogged down in a congested midfield and a Robinho shot that whistled over the bar was the closest the game got to a goal in the first half hour.

Chances were hard to come by, although City briefly burst into life before the break when Jaaskelainen was forced into action twice in quick succession.

First the Finnish goalkeeper came out to block Ireland's shot and seconds later he repeated the trick when Shaun Wright-Phillips played in Evans.

Megson bullish after 'vital' victory

Robinho forced Jaaskelainen into another instinctive stop in the second half after turning Steinsson inside the area but it was Bolton who were to end the game the stronger.

City keeper Joe Hart had seen little action until he kept out Kevin Nolan's effort following a neat pass by Gary Cahill but that opening only served to encourage the home side.

Megson's men also had an appeal for a penalty turned down when Dunne tangled with Matthew Taylor.

But they made the breakthrough after 77 minutes when Gardner scored what was only their ninth league goal of the season.

Hughes wants City to improve away form

Robinho had dropped deep looking for the ball but lost it as he tried to run at the Bolton defence and the home side broke quickly.

With City still disorganised, Steinsson's low cross was scooped home, via the bar, by the Jamaican.

City's response was far from convincing and, although they committed men forward, that provided Bolton with more space at the other end.

A second goal for Wanderers looked likely and duly arrived with two minutes left when Gardner fired in a cross from the left that the unfortunate Dunne, in trying to stop it reaching Kevin Davies, could only divert into his own net.

Bolton boss Gary Megson:
"We played very well. We competed well and kept a clean sheet. We scored the first goal and then City came out and it opened up for us.

"We have won for the first time in a long time.

"We're out of the bottom three but we need to keep scoring goals if we are to continue climbing the table."

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes:
"They made it hard for us to play our normal game and credit to them for that.

"You have to be stronger in possession but we failed in that respect. We need to be stronger mentally and physically.

"Our home form is excellent but our away form is weak so we need to look at that and address where we are weak. The performance we wanted wasn't there."

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel, Riga (Gardner 43), McCann, Nolan, Muamba, Taylor, Davies.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Smolarek, Helguson, Shittu, Basham.

Booked: Jaaskelainen.

Goals: Gardner 77, Dunne 88 og.

Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Dunne, Ben-Haim, Richards, Wright-Phillips, Kompany, Ireland, Elano (Hamann 69), Evans (Sturridge 69), Robinho.
Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Onuoha, Garrido, Fernandes, Caicedo.

Booked: Zabaleta.

Att: 21,095

Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Manchester City's Robinho on 6.89 (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.

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see also
Premier League as it happened
02 Nov 08 |  Premier League
Sunday's football photos
02 Nov 08 |  Football
Hero or zero?
02 Nov 08 |  Premier League

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