Aston Villa 2 Bolton Wanderers 2

Last updated : 13 August 2005 By Footymad Previewer
David O'Leary's pre-match demand for a goalscoring improvement from Juan Pablo Angel fell on deaf ears as the Colombian international striker struggled to make any impact against a solid Bolton side.

The result was that Villa struggled to get into top gear and, like last season, dropped vital home points in the process.

With four goals in the opening hectic ten minutes both teams were keen to impress but they later consolidated to grind out a draw.

Villa were first to make an impact with Kevin Phillips opening his account in only the fourth minute with a simple tap-in when he converted a cross from newcomer Aaron Hughes.

But Bolton capitalised on some embarrassingly sloppy defensive play by Villa when Kevin Davies scored from close range in the seventh minute following a throw-in which was headed on by Radhi Jaidi.

Ivan Campo headed Bolton into the lead from a Davies corner in the ninth minute only for Steven Davis to equalise when he hooked in a pass from Phillips a minute later.

Following this early frivolity the two teams reverted to a more normal approach and as a result the game became a dogged encounter.

Villa were unable to really dominate a persistent Bolton side in which Campo was a key figure.

Phillips made a pleasing impact with some positive play but the performance of Angel was again poor and emphasised the need to acquire Milan Baros.

Bolton, who left out skipper Jay-Jay Okocha and Manchester City target Stelios from their starting line-up, were positive and played with an assurance which often put Villa out of their stride.

The visitors were always potentially dangerous as demonstrated eight minutes into the second half when Kevin Nolan drifted in on the blind side to put in a close-range header which was brilliantly saved by Thomas Sorensen.

As the heavy rain gave way to some weak sunshine Villa slowly emerged from their defensive bunker but Bolton had long since closed the door on any further goals.

Okocha replaced the injured Campo in the second half and Bolton were never in danger of an opening day defeat.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Ivan Campo (Bolton) - Before his injury he was a calming influence in the Bolton side, helping to stem Villa's early attacking enterprise and heading a crucial goal to ensure the match ended level.