Published 15/08/2010 | 05:00
A disappointing scoreline, perhaps, but there was sufficient encouragement in the performance of both teams for neither manager to be entirely displeased. Which, as it happened, neither was.
"We'll accept we can sharpen up in the final third, but in terms of how we went about our work today, it was pleasing," said the Bolton manager Owen Coyle. "It's probably a back-handed compliment to ourselves that Fulham were happy to sit in, but they have good players. Some of our play was great, the atmosphere was great and all credit to Stockdale. The biggest compliment I can pay him is to say they didn't miss Mark Schwarzer."
The Stockdale to whom Coyle referred was David, Fulham's reserve goalkeeper.
A 24-year-old Yorkshireman signed from Darlington, and since loaned out several times, Stockdale proved to be nerveless and, when he had to be, agile in defending his goal from shots by Martin Petrov and Johan Elmander. Fulham could point to a beautiful 30-yard chip from Bobby Zamora that beat Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, but drifted just over the bar, and a dominance of the final 10 minutes that should have resulted in more chances than it did.
Fulham manager Mark Hughes was happy, though. "I was pleased with what we produced -- we acquitted ourselves really well," he said. "The confidence Stockdale showed helped the back four -- and they looked very organised," said Hughes.