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Bolton 2-1 Fulham: Cottagers denied

last updated Sunday 11th February 2007, 4:31 PM
   
Zat Knight
 
Zat Knight scored a stunning headed goal to give Fulham a chance at Bolton  

Kevin Nolan scored his third goal in five games as Bolton continued their push for Europe.

Manager Sam Allardyce believes the club captain deserves a place in the England squad.

Certainly on the evidence of this display the 24-year-old midfielder will have done his chances no harm at all.

Bolton made it hard for themselves, however, after going into a two-goal lead.

Zat Knight stretched their nerves and the crowd's to breaking point by pulling a goal back after Gary Speed had opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

Allardyce handed a league debut to Andranik Teymourian and the Iran midfielder's long throw in the sixth minute caused confusion in the Fulham defence.

Nicolas Anelka got on the end of it but only succeeded in sending his header wide of the target.

Teymourian then winced in the 18th minute following a stiff challenge from Papa Bouba Diop.

Bolton stepped up the pressure and Nolan released Anelka three minutes later with Ricardo Gardner racing down the left.

However, the France striker over-hit the pass and the chance was lost, much to the frustration of the home crowd.

Bolton made the breakthrough in the 23rd minute when Speed scored coolly from the penalty spot.

He took full advantage after Michael Brown barged Anelka in the back as Nolan played the ball in.

Match Stats Bolton Fulham
Goals 2 1
Possession 49% 51%
Goal attempts 7 8
On Target 4 6
Corners 9 8
Off-sides 3 3
Fouls 14 11
Yellows 1 4
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet

It was veteran midfielder Speed's fourth goal of the season and just the boost Bolton needed.

Teymourian made a good break down the right in the 33rd minute but a poor touch on the byline let him down.

However, he was looking energetic as Bolton went in search of extending their lead.

Two minutes later El-Hadji Diouf whipped in a cross that Fulham scrambled away with some difficulty.

This was a good spell by the home side and defender Abdoulaye Meite strode forward in the 36th minute only to clear the bar with his effort.

Teymourian almost made it 2-0 to Bolton in the 40th minute after being released inside the six-yard box by Anelka.

The Iranian's effort was struck well enough but goalkeeper Jan Lastuvka made a breathtaking block.

Teymourian held his head in his hands in disbelief at failing to find the net.

Bolton were playing some good football as half-time approached and Lastuvka remained alert to divert Nolan's effort to safety.

Bolton made a bright start to the second half and Anelka picked out Nolan on the edge of the area.

He tried to chip the goalkeeper but the giant figure of Knight managed to head the ball to safety.

Bolton made it 2-0 in the 50th minute following a flowing move.

Nicky Hunt's deep cross was headed against the post by Stelios Giannakopoulos. Nolan was first to react and scored from the rebound.

Simon Davies was then wasteful for Fulham in the 64th minute when he blazed a free-kick from 20 yards out high over the bar.

Fulham pulled a goal back two minutes later with a clever header from Knight which deceived Jussi Jaaskelainen after Davies had swung in the corner.

Former Portsmouth midfielder David Thompson almost found the target for Bolton in the 85th minute but his effort was deflected to safety.

Fulham almost grabbed the equaliser in stoppage time but Jaaskelainen reacted superbly to tip a header from substitute Tomasz Radzinski over the bar.

Bolton manager Sam Allardyce lauded Jussi Jaaskelainen as the number one goalkeeper in the Premiership after his side stepped up their bid for a place in Europe.

A 2-1 victory against Fulham keeps them in sight of the promised land for the second time in three seasons.

Yet Fulham almost grabbed the equaliser in stoppage time with a firm close-range header from substitute Tomasz Radzinski.

However, Jaaskelainen stood his ground to turn his effort over the top of the bar.

Allardyce said: 'He is the best goalkeeper in the Premiership. That save proved it.

'His concentration was great and so was his positioning. He had very little to do during the game but when we needed him he was there at such a crucial time.

'That's a big victory for us. He has won us the three points.'

Allardyce, however, was relieved to get the victory and a boost ahead of the FA Cup replay against Arsenal on Wednesday.

He said: 'We are hanging in there. We have got to see the next 11 games out and beat 58 points.

'That was good enough to take us to the UEFA Cup last time and if we beat that points total who knows where that might take us.

'Other teams will have to slip up but we have got to be in a position to take advantage.

'We have put pressure on the top teams by taking the three points and are in an exceptionally good position in the table.'

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Meite, Ben Haim, Gardner, Nolan, Speed (Thompson 68), Teymourian (Tal 81), Giannakopoulos, Anelka, Diouf (Pedersen 86).
Subs Not Used: Walker, Vaz Te.

Booked: Thompson.

Goals: Speed 23 pen, Nolan 51.

Fulham: Lastuvka, Volz (Radzinski 63), Queudrue, Knight, Christanval, Rosenior, Brown (Smertin 62), Diop, Davies, McBride, Helguson (Montella 67).
Subs Not Used: Warner, Routledge.

Booked: Brown (23,f), Helguson (28,f), Davies (37,f), Queudrue (90,f)

Goals: Knight 66. - Quality headed goal into the bottom-right of the Bolton goal from the right of the penalty area, 12 yards out. Assist, cross, by Simon Davies from right by-line.

Att: 24,919.

Ref: H Webb (S Yorkshire).





















Source Ken Gaunt at PA Sport

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