At the start of the weekend, Bolton sit in 6th place with Sunderland just a point behind them in 7th. Results against the Black Cats have been hard to come by for the Whites, especially last seasn. Bolton opened their season against Sunderland last year with a 1-0 loss at the Reebok, Darren Bent the lone goalscorer. The away leg saw Sunderland run out 4-0 winners as Bent came back to haunt us again with a hat trick.
It would be hard to find two more in form strikers short of Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander but you cannot look past Sunderland’s Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan. Darren Bent has 7 so far and Gyan has contributed a further 5. The young Danny Welbeck, on loan from Manchester United, has added 4 to their tally.
Bolton’s lineup featured a surprise in Lee Chung-Yong on the bench with Martin Petrov getting the start. I suppose his temper tantrum after being subbed against Blackburn wasn’t enough to sway Coyle. Fabrice Muamba rightfully regains his midfield place after the Mark Davies red card last weekend. The other interesting sideplot from this match is that Sunderland is the club where Stuart Holden’s England career should have started. The teenager (at that point) was attacked outside of a Newcastle nightclub and left with a fractured eye socket. He never actually played a game for them.
Sunderland had the better of the chances throughout the first half and would start the scoring in the 32nd minute. The ball found its way to Darren Bent who did really well to control it and take a shot from a very acute angle. Jaaskelainen did as he should have done and got his body in front of it but the ball bounced in front of goal. Zat Knight dozed off for a second and no one was able to clear. Danny Welbeck dove in with a flying header and put it past Gary Cahill and Jussi Jaaskelainen, both on the line, to make it 1-0. Frankly, it was coming.
Bolton would nearly equalize on the stroke of half time. The ball bounced two feet short of the goal line and Zat Knight just had to tap it in. Somehow, Sunderland’s goalkeeper, Craig Gordon, made an absolutely phenomenal reaction save to deny the Whites. I got up. I was celebrating the equalizer and then nothing. What a let down.
1-0 to Sunderland at the half.
There wasn't much to write about in the second half. Frustration all around. Missed chances and Bolton looked a half step behind for the entire match. Literally everyone was off the pace and the Whites just couldn’t make any late magic happen. A win at Sunderland was always going to be a tough ask and this match proved it. Lee Chung-Yong never saw the field.
The match ended a 1-0 loss and Bolton didn’t wake up until the final quarter of an hour. To be honest, the loss was deserved and that’s all there is to say about that one. The Whites just have to get over it and pick up a win against West Brom on Sunday.