Charlton Athletic 1 Bolton Wanderers 2

Last updated : 31 January 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Charlton Athletic ended a bad week, which saw the acrimonious £10million sale of young midfielder Scott Parker to Chelsea, by losing 2-1 at home to Bolton Wanderers, who rounded off a fantastic few days for themselves after reaching the Carling Cup final in midweek.

After Parker's departure, the last thing Addicks boss Alan Curbishley wanted was a below-par performance from his side and, although they probably deserved a share of the spoils, they never really recovered from conceding a goal after 36 seconds.

Although Charlton equalised, Wanderers took full advantage of the gale-force wind and the home side's hesitancy in the second half to take the three points and continue their recent rich vein of form with their fifth away win of the season.

Charlton, who themselves were in good form due mainly to their excellent away record, stay fourth in the Premiership table with their nearest rivals Liverpool and Newcastle both picking up just a point.

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce, whose team has played five games in seventeen days, was obviously delighted with the result, especially as he went into the game without his two star players, Jay-Jay Okocha, who is playing in the African Cup of Nations, and Youri Djorkaeff, who is out injured.

Allardyce said: "We got off to a wonderful start and then they came back into the game and it was an even first half, but I thought we took control after the break in very difficult conditions.

"We are becoming a real force away from home and this was our fifth away win, in what was one of our most difficult games of the season.

"I am still floating on cloud nine from our Cup success but I am even more delighted that we got into the top eight and are getting closer to Premiership survival.

"If we are to get into Europe, we will have to do it in the Carling Cup, but I don't want to get too greedy." The shock opener came inside the first minute when a long clearance from Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen was flicked on by Kevin Davies and Henrik Pedersen burst through the Charlton defence to score with a clinical finish.

Former Bolton player Claus Jensen, restored to the Charlton side in place of Parker, should have equalised but hit the post from close range.

However, Jensen did set up the equaliser with a great cross which Jonatan Johansson headed home from close range.

With the wind behind them, Wanderers took control in the second half and home goalkeeper Dean Kiely did well to save from Pedersen, but had no chance with Bolton's second goal, which was to prove the winner.

The Addicks failed to clear a corner and when Bruno N'Gotty played the ball into the penalty area Kevin Nolan finished with aplomb.

The visitors had to hold on in the last few minutes as Charlton threw everything at them, but the home side were unable to force an equaliser and slumped to yet another home defeat.

Boss Alan Curbishley admitted that they got off to a dreadful start but claimed that they had managed to turn it around and probably deserved to be in front at the interval.

He said: "I was very disappointed with our performance in the second half however, it was really flat but I still thought the game would drift into a draw.

"It was a great finish by Nolan but not enough of my players were on song on the day. I am disappointed, but we seem to be struggling at home and we have not achieved what our supporters deserve on our own ground.

"We don't get too high when we win and we won't get too low when we get beaten. We lost our way and got a bit anxious in the second half." Curbishley, who criticised Parker's attitude after the player heard that Chelsea were keen to sign him, said he was as disappointed as everybody at the club that the deal had happened, but they had to move on.

"Obviously, we are going to miss Scott as he has been an integral part of our team and very much a driving force.

"It couldn't have come at a worse time but that is what the transfer window is for and we just have to get on with it. We are a tight-knit group and the players wanted to win today and they understand the position from both Scott's point of view and the club's." Curbishley has been promised that he will get the £10million to spend in the summer and will be keeping the bulk of it until then because he feels he could be held to ransom if he tries to sign big-name players before Monday's deadline.

The Charlton boss has, however, spent £100,000 on Arsenal's 19-year-old England youth international Jerome Thomas. who can play on either wing.

"I was going to buy Jerome whatever happened," he said.

Having had two weeks off following their exit from the FA Cup, Curbishley would have expected his team to do better against a Bolton side who had already played five matches in seventeen days.

Charlton's next match is against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge but Parker will not be able to play against his former club under the terms of the transfer deal.

Things couldn't be much better for Allardyce though. In the past, his team have been perennial relegation candidates but his brilliant wheeling and dealing in the transfer market has produced a squad which has shown that it can match the best.

With Premiership safety likely to be comfortably attained this season and possible Carling Cup glory, he is on the way to restoring Bolton's former glory.

Man of the Match Kevin Nolan, back after suspension, scored Bolton's winner with his eighth goal of the season, six of them having come away from the Reebok Stadium, to give the Trotters their fifth away win of the season.