Trotters continue push for Europe as they add to Toffees woes at the Reebok Stadium
Goals from Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge sealed an impressive 2-0 win for Bolton over Everton at the Reebok Stadium as the home side climbed to one point off seventh place while the visitors are only three points above the relegation zone.
Bolton opened the scoring through Gary Cahill when he headed home Stuart Holden’s free-kick in the tenth minute, although there was a deflection on the way to goal from Jonny Heitinga which wrong footed Tim Howard.
Everton‘s best chance fell to Tim Cahill who failed to hit the target from six-yards from Leighton Baines’ superb cross which proved to be costly for the Toffees.
The home-side wrapped the game up in the 67th minute when Sturridge pounced on Chung-Yong Lee’s flick on and powered the ball past Howard to secure the points.
Bolton were looking to bounce back after last week’s defeat at White Hart Lane and showed their intent from the off when Sam Ricketts cut inside the Everton defence and fired a shot with his left foot, which flew wide of Tim Howard’s post.
This early initiative paid off when Gary Cahill headed in from Stuart Holden’s free kick, which evaded the Everton defence but deflected off Heitinga on its way into the net leaving, Howard with no chance.
David Moyes’ side tried to respond to the early set-back and nearly got on level terms when Baines ran down the left and put a great cross into the box for Tim Cahill but the midfielder was caught in two minds between heading and shooting, and guided his left foot shot just past the post.
The Toffees again threatened soon after; this time Mikel Arteta split the Bolton defence open with a wonderful through ball setting Anichebe through, but Zat Knight managed to get back and make an excellent defensive block, to deny the striker the opportunity to test Jaaskelainen.
Unfortunately for Knight this tackle ended his participation in the game as he was carried off on a stretcher, breaking down seconds after re-entering the field of play after receiving lengthy treatment.
The game became a battle of possession in midfield with chances becoming sparse but from a Bolton corner Kevin Davies managed to square the ball to Mark Davies on the edge of the area and his goal bound effort was blocked superbly by Sylvain Distin to deny the home side a second goal.
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Just before the break Seamus Coleman’s shot-cum-cross trickled across the Bolton six-yard box but no Everton player was within yards of the ball leaving the Toffees unable to turn the ball into Jaaskelainen’s empty net, which on the balance of play would have been harsh on the Trotters.
Everton came out in the second half with a point to prove and put Owen Coyle’s side under immense pressure but struggled to carve out any clear cut chances and were unable to get the ball to Anichebe and Tim Cahill, who were being well superbly marshalled by Wheater and Gary Cahill.
Bolton got their second goal of the game slightly against the run of play in the 67th minute when Everton failed to deal with a long ball into their area. Jonny Heitinga’s failed clearance looped in the air and Chung-Yong Lee beat Osman in the air. His knockdown fell to Sturridge and the striker on loan from Chelsea smashed the ball past Howard to give the Trotters a commanding lead.
The home side thought they had made it three when Sturridge was set clear of the Everton defence. It looked as though he kept the ball in play with a clever back-heel, which fell to Holden who volleyed past Howard, but the goal was disallowed as it appeared the ball crossed the line before Sturridge pulled it back.
Everton were spurred on by this and substitutes Leon Osman and Jose Baxter had decent efforts on goal. In particularly Baxter drew an excellent save from Jaaskelainen as the Finn tipped the ball round the post.
From the resulting corner the Toffees tried an audacious move when the ball was chipped to Baxter again but his volley sailed well wide of the Bolton goal.
The result could have been worse for the visitors had Johan Elmander and Sturridge got late efforts on target but in the end it was a comfortable victory for Owen Coyle’s side who will look to continue their push for European football.