Three league wins in a row. You read that correctly. Three absolutely nerve-wracking wins for Bolton Wanderers over teams that they absolutely needed to beat in order to have a chance at avoiding the drop.
Owen Coyle once again faced a selection dilemma thanks to the newly injured Darren Pratley. Where once it looked like we had central midfielders to last us years, we were suddenly down to two. Coyle's starting lineup options were extremely limited. There were really only two options:
- Tim Ream back into a central defensive midfielder role with Zat Knight and David Wheater standing at the center of defensive.
- The dreaded 4-4-2 with Ivan Klasnic or Kevin Davies partnering alongside David Ngog.
It looked pretty dire from the start of the match, well into the second half but somehow the men in white found the urgency and laced up their shooting boots. The only major talking point of the first half was a big of infighting between Roger Johnson and the Wolves goalkeeper, Wayne Hennessey. A half-clearance fell to Ivan Klasnic on the edge of the box and the forward hit on the half-volley, high and wide of the goal. Hennessey thought the chance came too easily hand had a few words for the team captain.
Michael Kightly opened the scoring in the 53rd minute (a trend that's been steady for the last three games) with a deft effort from outside of the box that beat Adam Bogdan well. Bolton would equalize ten minutes later thanks to a controversial penalty that was won by Mark Davies. Martin Petrov took the spot kick and sent Wayne Hennessey the wrong way, placing the penalty well. In celebration after the crucial goal, Petrov lifted his shirt to reveal a message to Bulgarian teammate and Aston Villa captain, Stiliyan Petrov. The message read "Be Strong Stan," urging his national teammate to fight hard against the acute leukemia diagnosis he was handed earlier in the week. or the next 15 or so minutes, Bolton gained the sense of urgency they so desperately needed and were well into the ascendancy. It looked like Bolton would have to settle for a point but Martin Petrov was having quite literally none of that. His cross in the 80th minute found the head of David Ngog who smacked the effort against the cross bar. Marcos Alonso happened to be in the right place at the right time and although he was having a very poor game until that moment, his short-range shot from the rebound would make it 2-1.
Then came squeaky bum time. Chris Eagles did well to get the ball into the box. With Wolves closing in, Eagles squared the ball to Super Kevin Davies. The captain took the shot well and put it past Wayne Hennessey into the side netting at the far post. The goal was Kevin Davies' second in two games.
Wolves needed the points too. In the 88th minute, the men in orange broke forward quickly. Matt Jarvis took the ball inside the penalty area and from about 10 yards out at a fairly acute angle, his shot hit the back of the net. Wolves would not be able to find a third goal before the whistle blew.
Adam Bogdan kept Bolton in it in the first half, making a few brilliant saves to deny Wolves a goal or two. Bolton took 20 shots during the match, 12 of which were on target, with 6 coming off the foot of Martin Petrov.
As things stand, Bolton are in 16th place with 29 points. QPR, Blackburn, and Wigan occupy 17-19 on 28 points, and Wolves round it out in 20th on 22 points. Things are tight because Arsenal and Stoke could not get the job done in their respective games. Aston Villa sit just 4 points above Bolton in 15th.