BOLTON WANDERERS 2
- Klasnic 26,
- Davies, K 28
- Dindane 54,
- Dindane 68
**Portsmouth dealt an unwelcomed blow to Bolton Wanderers’s Premier League survival hopes, as two second half strikes from Aruna Dindane won a point for Avram Grant’s side after the home side led 2-0 at the interval.
Ivan Klasnic and Kevin Davies had given the home side a seemingly comfortable first-half lead, but Bolton were unable to suppress the attacking exploits of John Utaka and Dindane, as the South Coast club battled back well to secure a point.
The home side looked to assert the pressure early on, and went close to opening the scoring after a fumble from David James saw the ball land at the feet of Gary Cahill, but his effort struck the post and went out for a goal kick.
With twenty minutes on the clock, Jack Wilshere looked to ease the flow of Portsmouth growing dominance. The on-loan Arsenal midfielder began to orchestrate Bolton’s play, controlling the middle of the park with a series of delightful touches and simple passes.
And the Arsenal man made a telling impact less than five minutes later. Picking up the ball on the left-hand-side of the Portsmouth penalty area, he whipped a cross back towards goal, and his delivery was met by the head of Ivan Klasnic. 1-0 Bolton.
The home side were spurred on by their goal, and quickly doubled their lead on 28 minutes after some delightful wing play from Vladimir Weiss. The Slovakian, another loan signing [from Manchester City] powered down Bolton’s right flank, before pulling a cross back for his captain, and Kevin Davies slotted home easily for 2-0, although there were strong claims for off-side.
The match continued to impress, and the visitors came close to striking back after a flowing counter attack saw Tommy Smith fire a low effort at goal. His attempt had Jaaskelainen beaten, but it thumped the foot of the post.
Bolton’s stronghold over the contest noticeably increased as the match wore on, with Avram Grant’s side seemingly unable to suppress the home side’s exuberance down the flanks.
And the home side should have scored again just before the interval, but Fabrice Muamba’s driven effort flew embarrassingly over James’ crossbar after what was possibly the best attacking move of the match, and Coyle’s took a two goal lead into half time.
Grant reshuffled his pack at half-time, replacing the ineffective Hassan Yebda with French striker Frederic Piqionne making an entrance.
And Pompey’s three-pronged attack of Piquionne, Dindane and Utaka almost bagged a goal for the visitors. A driven ball from the substitute found Dindane on the edge of the box, and after his initial advances were suppressed, some trickery from Utaka freed the Ivorian forward 12 yards out, but his effort flew over the bar.
But it was Bolton who came closest to scoring. And powerful run from Muamba saw the former Manchester City man split the Portsmouth defence with a pass which put Taylor through on goal once more. Looking odds-on to score, a last ditch tackle from Aaron Mokoena diverted the ball out to safety, an exceptional challenge from the South African.
Nonetheless, Pompey’s persistence finally paid off on 54 minutes. Another explosive counter attack saw Piquionne speed down the right-flank once more, and the Frenchman did superbly to cut the ball back for the onrushing Dindane, who despite scuffing his effort, the ball slipped past Jaaskelainen.
And the Bolton keeper’s reflexes were tested immediately after the restart. Vanden Borre whipped a cross in, once more from the right flank, and Piquionne meet the delivery with force, but Jaaskelainen was there, as he’s so often during his Bolton tenure, to tip the ball wide.
With just over 20 minutes remaining, Portsmouth found their equaliser. Once more Bolton failed to handle the onslaught from the visitors' expansive attack line. Cahill was robbed of the ball again, as the young defender continued to falter, and the impressive Utaka split the Bolton backline once again with a low delivery, and Dindane was on hand to tap-home his second of the match.
The equaliser seemed to ignite Pompey’s touch paper, as the visitors looked to commit more players forward in search of the winner. The match became increasingly open, and Grant’s side could have found a third had Utaka squared the ball instead of shooting – although the Nigerian’s performance deserved a goal.
But Portsmouth’s gung-ho approach almost cost them, as Bolton went close to scoring as Wilshere hit a powerful drive which James did well to collect.
The home side thought they’d grabbed the winner, but Davies’ header cannoned off of the post in stoppage time, and Bolton will have to wait another week to all-but confirm their Premier League survival.
Source : Goal
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Weiss, Muamba, Wilshere, Taylor, Klasnic, Kevin Davies
Portsmouth: James, Vanden Borre, Mokoena, Rocha, Sowah, Yebda, Utaka, Brown, Hughes, Smith, Dindane