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Back to Earth With a Bump

Aston Villa
4 - 2

Villa Park

13th September 2008

Attendance: 35,134


After three consecutive victories on the road, Bolton reverted to type by going down to a crushing defeat at Aston Villa after a second half display of stunning ineptitude. Villa are a competent side, fully deserving of their place in the top four, but they aren`t world beaters. Gary Megson`s team just made them appear to be.

Yet there was little sign of the things to come in the opening sector of the game as the Whites went ahead after Johan Elmander had diverted Kevin Davies`s cross past Brad Friedel. The lead could have been two, minutes later when Gretar Steinsson headed against the bar. But the tone of what remained of the game was set on the 25 minute mark. Gabriel Agbonlahor`s equaliser was an accomplished piece of finishing and Martin Laursen`s ball over the top, pin-point accurate, but the Villa captain had the freedom of Birmingham in which to pick out his man.

Even then, Bolton could have regained the lead, but from a promising position in the penalty area, Matt Taylor sliced his shot high and wide, when a side-footed effort would have sufficed. As an attacking force, Bolton packed up tools after that and finished for the day.

The hosts went deservedly in front, five minutes from the break. Bolton have struggled to defend against crosses this season, but here they took that incompetence one step further with Kevin Davies heading into his own goal. Not that Villa fans went for their half-time refreshments happy. Inexplicably, referee Lee Probert failed to see Gary Cahill`s blatant handball and the Gloucestershire official left the field to some serious booing. What Cahill was trying to do hasn`t been established yet. Perhaps he was waving to his mum.

The second half wasn`t even a contest. Committing men forward in search of an equaliser and then giving the ball away repeatedly is never a profitable tactic, but when the opposition have a winger as quick as Ashley Young it`s suicidal. Villa`s 9 million signing had Matt Taylor and Gretar Steinsson to contend with on the left, but as neither of them can tackle it was straightforward to put in a cross from which Agbonlahor headed his second goal of the game.

Ten minutes later and Young himself was on the score sheet after his shot was deflected by the hapless Steinsson. The move started in the Villa half with Kevin Nolan surrendering possession and showing no inclination to remedy his mistake. Kevin Davies managed to put the ball in the correct goal four minutes from time which made the scoreline look flattering to Bolton. If the hosts had doubled their tally there could have been no complaints.

Gary Megson`s post match comments were on the money: 'Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor are good players but we let them have the ball and didn't close down enough. We were too easy to play against,` said the Ginger One.

Villa boss Martin O`Neill was understandably more cheerful, but he will know that his side will rarely face more accommodating opponents.

Star Player

Johan Elmander, the best of a bad bunch.

Player Ratings

Jussi Jaaskelainen 6

No chance with any of the goals

Gretar Steinsson 5

Neat cross for Davies's consolation goal. Pity he can't defend.

Jlloyd Samuel 4

He was on the team sheet, but appeared to have gone Christmas shopping.

Kevin Nolan 4

His reaction to losing the ball at the start of the move that led to Villa's fourth goal was more like Kevin the Teenager. Harry Enfield would be proud. A captain's performance. Not.

Gary Cahill 5

Looked good, but only in comparison to the blundering pillock next to him.

Andy O'Brien 3

The aforementioned blundering pillock. Low on confidence and error prone. The alternative is Danny Shittu. Scary isn't it?

Matt Taylor 5

Anonymous, apart from when he missed that sitter.

Fabrice Muamba 3

A promising player on his day. This wasn't one of them.

Kevin Davies 5

Good work for the opening goal but failed to close Villa's midfield down.

Gavin McCann 5

An off day for the Badger.

Johan Elmander 7

The one class player in Bolton's side.

Ricardo Gardner 5

Ran about a bit. Got the ball occasionally.

Ebi Smolarek 5

Mr Smell a Wreck has been on the bench for most of the season. He showed why.

Writer:Richard McCormick
Date:Sunday December 14 2008
Time: 12:52PM


What tomog said on your previous article: Another win onn the road against a team playing in Pink and powder blue. As for Ashley Young its all wind and pi5s. Bomb down the wing with very little on the end of it. Villa will not score against us this weekend, I dont know if anyone has noticed they dont have a striker? Loads of pace up both wings but absolutely nothing in the shape of a striker.
14/12/2008 13:28:00
Also : 'I will have a few quid Bolton Wanderers will finish above Villa this season.'
14/12/2008 13:29:00
Now I understand that most Bolton supporters aren't quite as retarded as tomog, and so for that reason I think tomog you should apologise to the other Vital Bolton members for your pathetic comments and making your site look ridiculous. But i'm sure today you're hiding in a hole somewhere feeling like a tw at, and rightly so. For all the other Bolton Wanderers fans with a higher IQ than tomog, good luck for the rest of the season.
14/12/2008 13:36:00
I enjoy reading this Bolton site, very witty Mr Mcormick, sure you dont fancy being a Villa fan? and write some reports for the Villa? "hat Cahill was trying to do hasn`t been established yet. Perhaps he was waving to his mum." ha ha
14/12/2008 13:54:00
Nice to hear a well balanced view from the 'other side'. We were far from our best, but Bolton were very accomodating. The beauty is that even when we are below par we still have matchwinners in the team.
14/12/2008 15:43:00
for 25 minutes you were under the cosh and a goal down, Cahill is allowed to wave to him Mom who was in the crowd or watching on telly..... Cahill may be suffering from Gerrarditus....... Villa worth their win for their performance in the second half, apart from the Davis consolation we offered nothing second half and as such deserved nothing from the game. Good Luck to Villa in breaking the top four... hopefully youcan dislodge one of the London Baswards and see if the press revise the Big Four to the Big Three!!
15/12/2008 09:59:00
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