Trotters repel Wolves fightback

The hosts dominated the opening period but shot themselves in the

foot – as they had in their previous game – by conceding a goal in

the first minute, Richard Stearman heading past his own goalkeeper

Marcus Hahnemann. Second-half strikes from Johan Elmander and

Stuart Holden gave Bolton a 3-0 lead, and although Kevin Foley and

Steven Fletcher swiftly reduced the deficit, Mick McCarthy’s side

were unable to find the equaliser. While the visitors will be

delighted to have held out to keep their impressive form going,

McCarthy’s side remain in the Barclays Premier League’s bottom

three. They have earned plaudits for their football over the last

few weeks, but have taken only nine points from 13 league fixtures

and results need to improve fast. Wolves had caused Arsenal plenty

of problems on Wednesday night in one of a string of creditable

performances they have put in recently against top-four sides, but

made life difficult for themselves from the off in that match by

conceding a goal almost immediately after kick-off. It seemed they

had learned little from the experience as they again fell a goal

behind only a few seconds in against the Trotters. Lee Chung-yong’s

cross from the right was only partially cleared and the South Korea

winger headed the ball straight back into the danger zone where

Stearman, under pressure from Matt Taylor, nodded it past Hahnemann

and into the net. It was a disastrous start, but the hosts tried to

rally quickly and their skipper Karl Henry forced a save out of

Jussi Jaaskelainen with a lofted delivery. From the resulting

corner, Matt Jarvis teed up Nenad Milijas, whose drive was blocked.

Moments later Sylvan Ebanks-Blake brought down Stephen Hunt’s cross

and protested that Gary Cahill pulled him back as he shaped to

shoot, but referee Peter Walton ruled that the Wolves striker

controlled the ball with an arm. Kevin Davies then saw a shot saved

by Hahnemann, before Ebanks-Blake hit the post at the other end –

although replays suggested he had used his hand. Wolves went the

closest yet to making it 1-1 when Milijas rifled a free-kick at

goal which Jaaskelainen did well to parry. The ball fell to Foley,

whose floated cross was volleyed over the bar by Ebanks-Blake.

Milijas called Jaaskelainen into action again a minute before the

break with a swerving shot and Bolton survived a scramble that

followed shortly after. Jarvis then broke into the box but was

thwarted by the Finnish stopper. Wolves’ hunt for a leveller showed

no signs of letting up as the second half got under way, with

Milijas unlucky once more after his chip from the edge of the box

clipped the bar. Bolton attempted to wrestle back possession and

Elmander was beaten to Davies’ flick-on by Hahnemann. The Swedish

striker then laid the ball square to Fabrice Muamba, whose shot was

deflected wide. Jarvis, tipped to be in the England squad announced

after the game, sent an inviting ball into the Bolton box but a

handful of his team-mates had all run too soon and it drifted

behind them. The hosts looked to be in the ascendancy, but just

after the hour mark, they were undone by a moment of magic. Holden,

who had brought a save out of Hahnemann moments earlier, played the

ball in to Elmander, who had his back to goal but twisted and

turned around a crowd of defenders before calmly finishing in the

bottom corner. Holden then got on the scoresheet himself, slotting

Lee’s pass into the net and Wolves looked dead and buried. They

swiftly pulled on back, though, as Foley collected the ball from

Jarvis and angled it past Jaaskelainen. Suddenly Wolves’ tails were

up and after piling on the pressure for 10 minutes, they grabbed

another. Jarvis was again the provider, sending in a corner which

Jaaskelainen flapped a glove at but missed, allowing substitute

Fletcher to nod the ball over the line. The comeback appeared to be

on, but nobody could get on the end of crosses from George Elokobi

and Fletcher in the closing stages and Steven Mouyokolo glanced

wide right at the end as Bolton made off with the win.