Monday 18 December 2017

Elmander kills off spirited Baggies

bolton 2
west brom 0

Dave Hadfield

GOALS from Matt Taylor and Johan Elmander maintained Bolton's upward momentum, but it was often West Brom who caught the eye in an enterprising encounter.

Bolton have rightly had praise heaped upon their shoulders for the way they have played this season, but Albion are equally part of a consensus which says that the less well-resourced clubs are better off having a go and trying to play attacking football.

They came with a nominal 4-5-1 formation, but caused Wanderers all sorts of problems with the ability of their wide players and Peter Odemwingie's knack of beating the offside trap.

With a tad better luck and a little calmer finishing they would not have been going back to the English West Midlands empty-handed.

It was against the run of play that Bolton took the lead, with a goal redolent of their supposed 'route one' heritage. Jussi Jaaskelainen's long clearance fell for Taylor, who found Chung-Yong Lee, in his last game before a likely one-month's absence at the Asian Cup. He allowed himself to be forced too wide to find the net, but he salvaged the situation by pulling the ball back for Taylor, who scored.

Albion continued to have more than their share of play after the break and came close to an equaliser when Phil Brunt headed against the post.

Bolton soon made sure of the win when Elmander broke through on the right and though Ivan Klasnic could not force home his cross, the ball came back for Elmander to drill in his ninth goal of the season.

Another welcome statistic for Owen Coyle, who has lifted Bolton from the bottom three to the top six in his first year, was that this was their first clean sheet in the league since the opening day. "I don't think we ever got to our maximum," he said. "But West Brom were terrific."

Albion boss Roberto di Matteo was bemused: "We had more chances, better chances and we lost." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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