Bent nets smash-and-grab Reebok victory for Toffees

Last updated : 21 August 2005 By Chris Rabbitt

BOLTON WANDERERS’ opening home match of the 2005/06 Premiership campaign began in disappointing fashion after a second-half tap-in from Marcus Bent was enough to secure all three points for Everton at the Reebok Stadium.

The match was dominated by the home side, chance after chance being wasted, opportunities aplenty going begging. It was a quiet start to the match, but Everton will have been pleased to go into the half-time interval level after a great reaction save from Nigel Martyn denied Rahdi Jaidi from close range midway through the first half.

Bolton earned many corners before the break, but none came to anything serious, a couple being met by headers but nothing to trouble Martyn in the Everton goal. Kevin Nolan will feel disappointed however that he didn’t make the most of an effort from the edge of the Toffees’ penalty area, his left-footed half-volley clearing the cross-bar.

The second half began much like the first ended, with Bolton piling on the pressure. Almost from the whistle Henrik Pedersen was in space after dispossessing David Weir, but his through-ball to Kevin Davies was blocked and left the home fans wishing he had had an effort at goal.

Just a few minutes later Nolan again had a chance to give Bolton the lead, but after losing his marker inside the Everton penalty box once again the Liverpool-born midfielder blazed over.

It was shortly after this that Everton had their first shot at goal – and it was the deciding one of the match. Tim Cahill found himself in space inside the Bolton box, and slid a ball across the six-yard area just out of goalkeeper Jaaskelainen’s reach, leaving Marcus Bent at the far post to slot into an empty net. An unjust reward for Everton after going 53 minutes without posing any threat to the Bolton goal.

Once the shock of Everton’s goal subsided Bolton found themselves creating chances again, and once again it was Kevin Nolan who spurned Bolton’s opportunity of levelling, his volley once again going high over the bar.

Everton managed to keep the pressure off Nigel Martyn’s goal for the next twenty minutes or so, as Bolton struggled to break through. But with three minutes left on the clock Diouf came within inches of bringing Bolton level, his shot rattling the crossbar before bouncing away, and Everton breathed again.

A stoppage time free-kick from just outside the penalty area gave home fans a final hope of salvaging something from the game, but Jay-Jay Okocha capped a disappointing performance with an equally poor effort that was cannoned straight into the Everton wall.

So David Moyes’ men come away from the Reebok with only their second victory in Bolton since 1977. Sam Allardyce will be disappointed that his Bolton side did not take any of their multitude of opportunities, but if the Wanderers continue to play like this for the remaining 36 games of this Premiership campaign, they should be looking at a third consecutive top-half finish come next May.

Final score: Bolton 0-1 Everton