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Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Saturday, 25 April 2009 17:10 UK

Bolton 1-1 Aston Villa

By Emlyn Begley

Tamir Cohen
Cohen's goal was only his second in the Premier League

Bolton edged closer to Premier League survival after coming from behind to deny Aston Villa a first win in 12 matches in a hard-fought game.

Villa led late in the first half when Ashley Young's curling left-wing cross eluded everyone in the box, ending up in the net via the inside of the post.

But Tamir Cohen equalised for Bolton with a fine 10-yard volley from Andy O'Brien's knockdown.

John Carew almost won it but his header was tipped over by Jussi Jaaskelainen.

The draw was Villa's first away from home in the Premier League this season and was enough to edge them a point further ahead of Everton, who lost at home to Manchester City.

But Martin O'Neill will be increasingly concerned about the way his side's season appears to be tailing off.

Fourth beyond Villa - O'Neill

Young's fortuitous opener was his first goal of 2009, his last strike was in a 4-2 win against the same opponents at Villa Park on 13 December.

The goal was deserved for Villa, who had the better of what chances there were in a tepid first half.

James Milner had the first half-chance, but his shot was blocked well by former Newcastle team-mate Andy O'Brien.

Milner then saw Jaaskelainen comfortably save his free-kick three minutes later after Gretar Steinsson felled the charging Stiliyan Petrov.

Villa were on top as Gareth Barry and Petrov had chances blocked in the same move and Nicky Shorey followed up by blazing wildly over from 30 yards.

Bolton should have taken the lead when Matthew Taylor's ball found Fabrice Muamba six yards out, but the England Under-21 midfielder scuffed the ball, leaving Brad Friedel to smother after a scramble.

606: DEBATE
2/11/08 Megson Out (bwfcsandboy)

Bolton improved after the break and Kevin Davies volleyed wide from 12 yards after the restart.

Cohen's goal, his first of an injury-plagued season, gave Wanderers confidence and Gavin McCann volleyed wildly over from just outside the box.

The home fans demanded a penalty when Gareth Barry barged Cohen down in the box, but there were limited appeals from the players and referee Lee Probert was not interested.

Megson content with draw

Villa went desperately close to a winner when Carew met Nicky Shorey's fine cross with his head but Jaaskelainen was equal to his effort.

The result moves Bolton seven points clear of the bottom three and ends any lingering hopes Villa may have had of reaching the Champions League.


Bolton boss Gary Megson:

"This result helps us along the way and another win should see us stay up.

"We did OK today without playing champagne football. What we did do well was that we worked our socks off.

"It was a great strike and hopefully Tamir can settle down now and push on. He's had a disappointing season from his point of view."

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill:

"In terms of the elusive win I hope it is just around the corner. Overall I have been delighted with the team and on the whole we are playing pretty well.

"It was disappointing to concede the goal but we have gained a point on Everton and retained fifth spot. By league table definition it means we have improved on last season.

"We have not been out of the top six all season. It is hard to break through into the top four but we gave it a go.

"There is a morsel of disappointment we could not sustain it but that is the way it happens sometimes."


Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien (Puygrenier 78), Samuel, Kevin Davies, McCann, Muamba, Cohen (Basham 87), Taylor, Elmander.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Smolarek, Riga, Makukula.

Goals: Cohen 60.

Aston Villa: Friedel, Knight, Davies, Cuellar, Shorey, Milner, Petrov, Barry, Ashley Young, Heskey (Delfouneso 76), Carew.
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Sidwell, Salifou, Gardner, Albrighton, Clark.

Booked: Barry.

Goals: Ashley Young 43.

Att: 21,709.

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Aston Villa's Ashley Young 7.92 (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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