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Bolton Wanderers 1. West Ham United 0.


Davies Scores Winner

By Mark Heys
April 12 2008

Bolton Wanderers gave themselves a fighting chance of staying in the Premier League when an early second half goal from striker Kevin Davies put West Ham United to the sword in an atmospheric match at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.

Davies converted from close range just moments after the interval and it was the least that the Wanderers deserved in a game which also saw them have two goals disallowed.

Pre-game, a number of Bolton supporters gathered outside the main entrance to voice their concerns about the way in which the club was being run and thankfully the protest by a minority was a peaceful one which did not affect actions on the pitch.

Bolton boss Gary Megson made changes from the side which lost heavily to Aston Villa last week with left back Jlloyd Samuel coming in for Heidar Helguson and Ivan Campo replacing Danny Guthrie.

Visiting West Ham, coming into the game off the back of defeats against Sunderland and Portsmouth, where without captain Lucas Neill and midfielder Nolberto Solano to name but two.

Within the opening couple of minutes the Hammers already lengthy injury list increased even further when centre half Anton Ferdinand had to come off after going down injured in the area during an early Bolton attack.

Ferdinand was replaced by Ghana right back John Pantsil with former Manchester United youngster Jonathan Spector moving infield from the full back position which he had stared the game.

The recalled Campo ballooned an effort high over the bar after a throw in from Gretar Steinsson and it looked to be another one of those days for Wanderers as far as taking their chances where concerned.

However it wasn't for the want of trying and a good run and cross from Samuel down the left flank found Davies at the far post but makeshift centre back Spector was on hand to stop the big forward's header from going over the line.

Samuel was getting forward well on his return to the side and the full back nearly proved to be an unlikely goalscoring outlet when playing a neat one two with Matthew Taylor just inside the area.

Unfortunately for the ex-Villa man he did not have enough power behind his shot to sufficently test Robert Green in the West Ham goal but the early first half signs where encouraging for the hosts.

West Ham playing striker Bobby Zamora in a more wide position with Dean Ashton and Luis Boa-Morte leading the line, rarely threatened in the opening half an hour much to the frustration of those who had travelled up from the capital.

Bolton continued to force the pattern of the game and on the half hour a powerful shot by Davies from just outside the area was deflected out for a corner which the front man headed goalwards only for Northern Ireland international George McCartney to be in the right place at the right time.

A few minutes later the Wanderers had another corner, this time El-Hadji Diouf played a short corner to Taylor who fed through Steinsson who in turn delivered a fine cross which Andy O'Brien could only head straight into the hands of the grateful keeper Green.

Seven minutes before the break Bolton keeper Ali Al-Habsi was given his first real test of note when Ashton made a powerful run through the Wanderers defence only to fire a tame shot right at the Oman stopper.

Bolton went right up the other end and thought they had taken a 40th minute lead when El-Hadji Diouf tapped home a Kevin Davies flick on at the far post only to be ruled out for offside.

Davies flick from Taylor's inswinging corner was already heading for the back of the net before Diouf's intervention and luckily for the home side this incident did not cost them.

Within one minute of the re-start Gary Megson's men took a deserved lead when another Taylor corner wasn't cleared by the West Ham defence and this allowed Davies the chance to grab his fourth goal of the season.

It was Davies who had won the corner in the first place after Green had done well to tip over his header, so it was quite fitting that the fans favourite should get his name on the scoresheet after a hard working display.

As it happens this goal spurred Bolton to up the tempo even further and for the rest of the game all eleven men wearing white gave their all and more to the Wanderers cause.

It wasn't without it's moments though, firstly Gary Cahill cleared a Luis Boa-Morte effort off the line and then Al-Habsi saved superbly to thwart Ashton's overhead kick.

Bolton looked hungry when on the break and Taylor and Nolan combined well with the latter having his shot deflect just away from danger.

Davies, who by now was nursing a dislocated finger, headed Diouf's corner over the top on the hour and five minutes later yet another Bolton goal was disallowed for offside, this time when Nolan poked home a rebound after Green had saved Diouf's effort.

West Ham brought on their teenage forward Freddie Sears and introduced Carlton Cole in an attempt to perk up their forward line but the nearest they could come towards getting an equaliser was when a shot from midfielder Scott Parker was tipped wide by Al-Habsi five minutes from time.

BOLTON WANDERERS: Ali Al-Habsi, Gretar Steinsson, Gary Cahill, Andy O'Brien, Jlloyd Samuel, Kevin Nolan, Ivan Campo, Gavin McCann, El-Hadji Diouf, Kevin Davies, Matthew Taylor

SUBS NOT USED: Stelios Giannakopoulos, Andranik Teimourian, Tamir Cohen, Grzegorz Rasiak, Ian Walker (GK)

WEST HAM UNITED: Robert Green, Jonathan Spector, Matthew Upson, Anton Ferdinand (John Pantsil), George McCartney, Scott Parker, Jack Collison (Carlton Cole), Hayden Mullins, Bobby Zamora (Freddie Sears), Luis Boa-Morte, Dean Ashton

SUBS NOT USED: James Tomkins, James Walker (GK)

ATTENDANCE:

23,043

REFEREE:

Peter Walton

BOOKED:

Davies (Bolton)

Pantsil (West Ham)

 

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