Bolton beats Everton 2-0 in Premier League
Daniel Sturridge kept up his impressive scoring record for Bolton to inspire a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Everton in the Premier League on Sunday.
The England under-21 forward scored for the third straight match since joining on loan from Chelsea on transfer deadline day, smashing home a swerving finish in the 67th minute to seal Bolton's victory.
Sturridge, who was one of English football's great hopes when he came through the ranks at Manchester City, rarely featured at Chelsea following his move to Stamford Bridge in 2009. But he is flourishing now he is getting regular starts at Bolton.
''I'm just delighted to be playing first-team football,'' he said. ''The manager has instilled a lot of confidence in me, told me to go out and play my normal game. I'm enjoying it.''
Gary Cahill put the hosts ahead in the 10th minute, his header from an inswinging free kick by Stuart Holden deflecting into the net off the unfortunate Everton defender John Heitinga.
Everton struggled to create many clear-cut chances and remain 13th in the standings, three points off the bottom three.
''It's probably the poorest performance I have seen from us for a long time,'' said Everton manager David Moyes, who acknowledged his team is embroiled in a relegation battle with 12 games remaining.
''Overall I never thought we were at the races.''
Bolton is now a point behind seventh-place Sunderland.
Cahill had already shown he was a threat at set-pieces by heading wide at the far post early on following Matt Taylor's deep corner.
But Everton didn't learn the lesson and, minutes later, the England center back found space in the area to meet Holden's free kick with a header that deflected off the static Heitinga and into the net past wrong-footed goalkeeper Tom Howard.
Australia midfielder Tim Cahill was Everton's most dangerous player at the other end, shooting wide in the 17th before firing straight at goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen from the edge of the area just before halftime.
Everton dominated possession at the start of the second half but failed to seriously trouble Jaaskelainen. The concession of a second goal then killed off any realistic hopes of a comeback.
A long ball hoisted forward by the Bolton defense ended with Lee nodding a header down to Sturridge, who was running in from the right. The forward's finish was unerring as it fizzed past Howard from 10 yards.
Sturridge also scored the winner against Wolverhampton on his Bolton debut on Feb. 2, and again at Tottenham last weekend.
Holden had a goal disallowed in the 79th when the ball was harshly adjudged to be out of play as Sturridge backheeled to the United States midfielder. Sturridge then curled just wide from long range as Bolton threatened to score a third.