Date: 17th February 2011 at 12:05pm
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It has been four long years since Bolton took a result away from The Whateveritscalledthisseason Stadium. A 3-1 victory, courtesy of Nicolas Anelka and two goals from Andranik Teymourian were followed by three league games there that were so turgid you could have put a mattress down in the stand and been sent to sleep.

These games weren’t helped by a pitch that suffers from having two sports played on it and, regardless that Wigan Warriors haven’t had a game since last Autumn, never recovers. Last night’s was no exception, if slightly better than the pudding pitch that was played on last season.

St Owen made his promised six changes, Bogdan coming into goal with Jussi dropping out altogether, Lee, Petrov, Muamba and Klasnic coming into the side and Wheater retaining his place from Sunday.

The game started well, Lee Chung-Yong blazing just wide early on. From then on it seemed to be total Bolton domination, with Wigan’s more changed side having difficulty getting out of their own half. Bolton had the ball in the net soon after, Martin Petrov forcing Mike Pollitt to fumble and Elmander finished off, only to see the linesman’s flag. Typical.

Pollitt, whose games this year have been solely against his hometown club, once again put up a rearguard action, saving again from Elmander before Ivan Klasnic, suffering from lack of game time, spurned a one on one chance with him, allowing the Wigan keeper to save. Just before half time, Martin Petrov forced him into a fingertip save and it seemed, once again, that this was going to be one of those nights.

This was only exacerbated early on in the second half when Sam Ricketts, playing well at right back, pulled up when chasing Moses and had to be stretchered off. A defensive reshuffle was called for and, with no right back on the bench, Paul Robinson was moved across and Marcos Alonso took his place on the left.

Eight minutes later, the goal finally came. Mark Davies, pulling strings in midfield like a man who has just signed a new contract (Elmander take note) played the ball into the box to Klasnic. Still having work to do, he turned and put the ball beyond Pollitt.

Almost immediately, Gomez hit the bar as Wigan threatened to hit straight back. But for attacking intent, that is all Wigan had. Spurred on by their 4,500 fans, they had little to give and, when they tried, they couldn’t get through another resolute Bolton defence. Naturally, Robbo picked up his customary yellow card and Muamba, now having to redouble his donkey impression now Zat Knight is out, had a nightmare and should have joined him in the book before finally being put out of our misery in injury time.

The win sets up a trip to Fulham on Sunday, Chelsea’s home game on Saturday being of more importance to Kensington & Chelsea council and the Metropolitan Police. At least it gives us an extra day.

The injury to Sam Ricketts would appear to be an achilles injury and he may be out for some time, causing him to miss the Wales – England game. Gretar Steinsson is some way off full fitness, leaving us pretty shy in that position.

In the end, it was a game that we controlled pretty much from beginning to end and, as the manager has said, we should have won by more than one goal. Luckily, we won’t have to play against Mike Pollitt again this season and, with a fair wind, won’t have to visit Dave Whelan’s folly for a while either.

 

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