Bolton Wanderers 1 Sheffield United 0

Last updated : 31 March 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Kevin Davies fired Bolton Wanderers to a vital win against Sheffield United - the club that released him as a boy.

The Sheffield-born former Chesterfield front man hit a searing 80th-minute strike into the bottom right corner to halt Wanderers' worrying run of four successive Premiership defeats.

Davies still talks of his affection for the club that he supported as a youngster, but he certainly made them pay for rejecting him as a teenager.

And, as Bolton moved one step closer to qualifying for Europe, they deserved exactly what they got due to their superiority throughout the vast majority of this contest.

Although it was a one-sided affair, you could actually sense the nervous tension oozing from the home players and supporters.

Their last outing was the confidence sapping 4-1 drubbing at the hands of leaders Manchester United, and you got the feeling that it was still at the back of a few minds.

But they managed to settle and put the Blades goal under siege, with crosses, shots and headers all raining in.

But in their way, they found an inspirational Paddy Kenny, who had an afternoon to remember in between the sticks.

Wanderers could quite easily have been at least two up if it hadn't been for Kenny making two wonderful saves in the space of four minutes.

The first came courtesy of a rasping Nicky Hunt volley, which the former Bury keeper tipped over from all of 35 yards on the half-hour mark.

Then it was El Hadji Diouf's turn to test Kenny's credentials when he cut inside Blades right-back Leigh Bromby to curl a shot towards the bottom right corner. But yet again, Kenny was there to tip the ball round the post.

The Irishman was at it again within ten minutes of the restart, when he blocked a Davies flick that had found its way through a crowded box from a Diouf corner.

How Kenny's goal remained intact would have been something of a mystery to Bolton boss Sam Allardyce, who also saw Nicolas Anelka flick another cross agonisingly wide.

But just when hope was fading for the hosts, who have consolidated their fifth position, Anelka put the ball on a plate for Davies to hit it first time into the bottom corner.

Just before Davies' sixth goal of the season, Blades' midfielder Michael Tonge had a glorious chance to open the scoring, but his left foot shot was palmed away by the alert Jussi Jaaskelainen.

In fact, it was probably the only clear-cut chance that the visitors had all afternoon.

The Blades came into this game just four points above Charlton, and the drop zone, in 17th - but they left just one point above it after the Addicks' home win against Wigan Athletic.

Bolton will get the chance to make it two wins on the bounce against the Latics next week when they travel the short distance to the JJB Stadium, while United have a vital home clash with Newcastle to get themselves back on track.