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Cahill's parting thunderbolt stuns Toffees after freak Howard strike

Gary Cahill struck a superb winner for Bolton last night in what could prove to be his final game for the club.

Cahill, on the verge of a move to Chelsea, lashed home brilliantly 12 minutes from time to lift the visitors from the foot of the table.

David Ngog had equalised for Owen Coyle's strugglers at a windswept Goodison Park -- cancelling out an incredible opener from Toffees 'keeper Tim Howard.

Howard broke the deadlock after 63 minutes when the wind caught his pitch-long clearance and the ball took a huge bounce over Bolton 'keeper Adam Bogdan.

But four minutes later, ex-Liverpool striker Ngog curled an excellent left-footed strike into the corner, and Cahill's stunning winner gave Coyle some belated new year's cheer.

Landon Donovan, making his first Toffees start since rejoining them on another two-month loan deal, won a free-kick in the opening minute which was curled into the danger zone by Leighton Baines but bounced harmlessly behind.

Everton striker Louis Saha was presented with a chance on the quarter-hour mark when Bolton centre-back Zat Knight inadvertently teed him up, but the Frenchman skewed his effort wide.

The Toffees were then left fuming in the 44th minute when Donovan went down in the box under the attentions of Sam Ricketts and referee Phil Dowd waved away their penalty appeals.

Moments later, though, they were indebted to Howard for keeping things level as he pushed Ngog's strike over the bar.

Three minutes after the restart Baines' corner fell to Jack Rodwell, who was unable to poke the ball in. Howard then tipped away efforts from Mark Davies and Ngog, before pulling off something even more spectacular.

The American lofted a huge clearance down field which, assisted by the wind, travelled towards the Bolton box and took a bounce which deceived Bogdan and sailed into the net.

It was a shock blow for the visitors, but they responded well and equalised within four minutes, Ngog turning and slotting the ball into the corner.

With 78 minutes gone, Cahill made his mark. The centre-half won a header from a free-kick which Howard punched clear, but after the ball was helped back in, Cahill composed himself to fire home.

Baines hit the bar with a free-kick at the death, but Bolton were not to be denied and held on for a crucial win.

Irish Independent