Date: 17th August 2008 at 1:26pm
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Bolton breezed past Stoke City with a display of scintillating football in the opening game at the Reebok. Sadly, the previous sentence is a lie. The victory was more to do with luck and incompetence by the visitors than any enterprising play by the home team.

The first goal was an accident and the second and third came from appalling defensive work. It is the mark of Gary Megson’s relentless negativity that with a winning lead against this season’s Premier League whipping boys he chose not to contest the second half.

The win is welcome, especially after last year’s horror show against Newcastle. But as an indicator of how the Wanderers will do this time round, it’s about as useful as the pre-season friendly at Doncaster.

Player Ratings

Jussi Jaaskelainen 6
Had little to do.

Gretar Stenisson 7
Was untroubled defensively and a threat going forward.

Jlloyd Samuel 6
One of his better games.

Kevin Nolan 6
Good pass to Stenisson for the opener but too often anonymous.

Gary Cahill 7
Stood off for Stoke’s goal

Andy O’Brien 6
Struggled to deal with Dave Kitson

Matt Taylor 3
The worst performance by someone wearing a Bolton shirt in a long time. A sluggish, flat-footed, lightweight headless chicken.

Joey O’Brien 7
Performed competently but his speed of thought and vision needs to improve.

Johan Elmmander 8
An impressive debut. Elamander is neat, compact and a willing runner.

Fabrice Muamba 6
Started poorly but improved as the game went on. Doesn’t know where he should be playing. Neither does anyone else.

Kevin Davies 6
Did well with the goal despite the close attentions of Stoke’s defenders. Ineffective on the right.

Gavin McCann 5
Didn’t actually touch the ball.


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