After losing by the same scoreline in April's FA Cup semi-final, the Trotters take pleasure in recording a stylish first home victory of the season in the Premier League
Two goals in the first period from Kevin Davies and Chris Eagles proved as a taster for the Trotters fans who went on to see an inspired performance from their players against an insipid Stoke side.
Eagles got his brace during an outstanding man-of-the-match display from the winger, with Ivan Klasnic also grabbing two goals to give the Lancashire outfit a much needed lift in getting their first home win in the league since April.
There were several changes for both sides from their last outings, with the hosts making a total of six from Owen Coyle as captain Kevin Davies returned to the starting XI, along with Klasnic and Paul Robinson. There were also rare nods for Fabrice Muamba and Joe Riley, with the latter making his Premier League debut for the Trotters. Mark Davies also started ahead of Martin Petrov.
There was no place in Tony Pulis’ squad for both Matthew Etherington and Ryan Shawcross, with Robert Huth and Andy Wilkinson coming into Stoke’s line-up, as well as Cameron Jerome to partner European hero Peter Crouch who scored the winner in the Potters’ 2-1 win away to Maccabi Tel-Aviv.
Bolton briskly took the lead with the game’s first bout of action following a pass-back handled by Asmir Begovic. The free kick just inside the Stoke box was taken immediately by a sharp minded Klasnic and put through skipper Kevin Davies with an open goal to put the ball past a bemused Potters keeper.
Peter Crouch was given a great chance to equalise just minutes later as strong running from Jermaine Pennant allowed the former Liverpool man to pop in a low ball across the Bolton area with the Stoke forward getting a slight touch on the cross to poke it toward Jussi Jaaskelainen, but the Finish keeper got just enough on it to deflect it clear.
Stoke enjoyed their fair share of possession after the game had calmed down, with the ever threatening long-throw from Rory Delap entering the Bolton box on numerous occasions within the first 25 minutes. Only a dogged, if sometimes clumsy, Trotters defence could keep the likes of Jerome and Crouch from nodding in the aerial danger.
However, the Potters’ hard work to get back into the game was proving futile and they were eventually punished for not spending their time on the ball more wisely after a stunning strike from Eagles doubled the Trotters’ lead with less than half an hour played. A hesitant clearance from Begovic found the winger and the former Burnley man blasted the ball from around 30 yards - the shot smashing against the far side of the net.
Stoke pushed Bolton into the second half and after the restart attempted to get a much needed goal back, but stubborn defending from the Trotters kept them out.
Eagles again got himself in the mix for the move that led to Bolton’s third, with the midfielder putting the ball into Robinson’s feet, and the full-back then proceeding to lay the ball perfectly for Klasnic to sweetly thunder past Begovic.
It was four for Bolton after Eagles again put himself into the heat of the action, this time as the goalscorer, popping the ball past Begovic after being put through on goal by Klasnic.
Stoke’s efforts to even grab a consolation were bettered by the Bolton defence who constantly kept on top of their game to keep them from getting even a sniff at goal.
The result was put beyond even further doubt after Klasnic got his second of the game from a close-range effort in the Stoke box, with a floundering Begovic failing to get a proper touch on the ball, sending the Bolton faithful into raptures.
It could easily have been six, or maybe seven, for Bolton who continued to press and add further insult to injury to Stoke, who by now were feeling pretty battered by the Trotters' barrage of goals.
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