Coyle delighted for match-winner

When the Scot sent on Tamir Cohen for the injured Daniel Sturridge

six minutes from time, Arsenal probably breathed a sigh of relief

after struggling to cope with the on-loan Chelsea striker.

Sturridge’s seventh goal in nine Bolton games had put his side into

the lead while, in contrast, Cohen was still looking for his first

goal of a traumatic season. A minor operation last summer had left

him playing catch-up to the rest of the squad then in December his

father Avi was left critically injured by a motorcycle accident.

Cohen returned to Israel to be at his father’s bedside but the

former Liverpool defender did not recover and died from his

injuries nine days later at the age of 54. When the Bolton

midfielder met Matthew Taylor’s corner with a powerful header in

the 90th minute to earn a 2-1 win, his immediate reaction was to

take off his shirt to reveal a picture of his father before

breaking down in tears. Avi Cohen had been very much in the

thoughts of the Bolton squad, who held up a shirt with the words

‘Get well soon Avi Cohen’ on the back during a victory over West

Brom on Boxing Day. Coyle said: “It was very emotional. Tamir’s had

such a difficult year because he had an operation in the summer and

when he came back in pre-season he was slightly behind the lads in

terms of fitness. “By the time he was up and running the lads were

flying and he had to be very patient. And then when he was on the

brink of coming back his father passed away. “A week before passing

away, Avi had spent a week with us at the training ground and we

all got to know him. When you saw Tamir with his team-mates, it was

emotional for them as well because they got to know Avi. He was

such a lovely man. “Tamir has had a huge burden of responsibility

as the leader of the household. His father was such a big name in

his country. But he’s trained every day and for him to get that

winner, I’m delighted.” Cohen’s tribute earned him a booking from

referee Mike Jones, who was roundly booed, but Coyle had no

complaints. He added: “Referees are charged with a set of rules and

the referee is not to understand the emotion of what happened. What

I would say is, if he’s going to score the winner every week, I’ll

take a yellow card for Tamir every week.”