Sunday, 16 October 2011

Eagles strike sends Bolton flying up table

CHRIS EAGLES’ strike sent Bolton flying up the table as the Trotters finally rediscovered the winning touch.

The winger netted Bolton’s third goal to end a run of six defeats with a dominant 3-1 derby defeat of Wigan and lift his side off the bottom.

An own goal from Gary Caldwell and a David Ngog effort helped Bolton put behind them a nightmare run which had seen them ship 21 goals in seven games.

And relieved Bolton boss Owen Coyle smiled: “From start to finish everyone was excellent. We scored three goals and we could have had five or six. I thought we were outstanding from start to finish.

“When you have lost a number of games you have to get up and running.

“It’s like a kid falling off a bike. You have to get back on it and we have now done that.

“Having lost an equaliser to a wonder goal it would have been easy to get down, but they were magnificent and kept going and got their reward.”

But Bolton’s joy came at the expense of a Wigan side now facing a season of struggle on the back of a fifth successive loss.

Mohamed Diame’s super strike had drawn them level before Steve Gohouri’s clanger allowed Ngog to nudge the visitors into a lead which they simply refused to relinquish.

You could sense it was not going to be Wigan’s day.

When you are sinking at the bottom and gasping for air, the last thing you need is for someone to put their foot on your head.

And that must be just how Wigan felt when the ball flew into his own net off Caldwell’s proud chest in the opening seconds.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez moaned: “I feel disappointed because we gifted them three goals.

“In the game of football the hardest thing is to score goals and we made it easy for Bolton.

“In the last few games we have started conceding cheap goals.”

Martinez’s men were crushed for a while after Caldwell’s clanger and looked relieved as goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi managed to deny Eagles and Kevin Davies before the tide turned.

The Latics sensed Bolton’s confidence was as shot as their own and within eight minutes they levelled.

Moving the ball around the pitch with some sublime passing they managed to work the space for Watson to find Diame 20 yards out.

The big midfielder curled a shot into the top corner with Jussi Jaaskelainen stationary as he watched the ball fly past him.

Martinez was working on a discussion about how to grab a clincher in his half-time team talk when Gohouri let him down once again.

Being asked to play in an unfamiliar left-back role, the Ivory Coast international was an accident waiting to happen and he finally cracked up in stoppage time.

His senseless attempt to beat Davies near his own corner flag handed the striker possession which he shipped to Ngog.

With just one man to beat the ex-Liverpool star twisted away and rapped a shot on target which Al-Habsi failed to keep out.

Martinez finally put Gohouri out of his agony at half-time and also threw on the fit-again Hugo Rodallega to add some teeth to his attack.

And the striker should have done better than simply side- foot into Jaaskelainen’s arms from Victor Moses’ cross in the 54th minute.

Emmerson Boyce then failed to connect with a close range header as Bolton’s anxieties continued to be exposed.

They should have been eased when Martin Petrov aimed a free-kick to the near post and Derek Boyata flung himself at the ball only to hammer a header wide.

Eagles was the next guilty party with a weak effort from 12 yards that a fumbling Al Habsi shovelled to safety.

Bolton suddenly looked like a team reborn though and the game should have been put to bed in the 72nd minute.

Caldwell’s obvious push on Boyata was spotted by ref Mike Dean and Davies stepped up to take the resulting penalty.

He went straight down the middle only to find Al Habsi had read him and blocked, with Boyata blasting the follow-up over.

Eagles was more certain with his finish in the 90th minute.

The winger burst in from the right and carried the ball into the box before coolly producing a precise finish just inside the post.

“I stressed to the group we could come through it and it wasn’t just bravado,” said Coyle. “I truly believed it and we have done that.”

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