Premier League - West Brom held by Bolton

Sat, 02 Oct 16:56:00 2010

West Bromwich Albion drew 1-1 with Bolton as James Morrison's header cancelled out Johan Elmander's opener in their Premier League clash at the Hawthorns.

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Highlights: West Brom 1-1 Bolton

The home side dominated the first half but failed to open up Bolton at the back, and when Elmander latched onto a perfect pass from Kevin Davies in the 64th minute it seemed that Owen Coyle's side might take all three points.

But a tactical change brought West Brom back into the match, with Peter Odemwingie setting up Morrison's 79th minute equaliser before the sides played out a thrilling, but goalless, finale.

West Brom started the match knowing that a win could potentially leave them as high as second in the table, and their nervousness contributed to a low key start to the match, with the first clear chance of the match falling to Bolton on 13 minutes as Gary Cahill was found unmarked at a corner only to head over the bar.

If anything the scare only served to prompt the hosts into action as they began to dominate possession, but a combination of lack of ambition and solid Bolton defence restricted them to pot shots.

The impressive Chris Brunt had the best of the long range efforts, and he also peppered the box with solid crosses that time and again flew through a box devoid of West Brom attackers.

Bolton almost capitalised on their hosts' lack of cutting edge on 39 minutes as Elmander's beautifully floated cross from the left looked to have set up Davies to bury the ball in the net, but Jonas Olsson managed to get just enough on the ball to deflect it out of the evergreen striker's path, while Gretar Steinsson's thundering header two minutes later was prevented from going in solely by the fact that it was aimed directly at Baggies goalkeeper Scott Carson.

The deadlock was almost broken with 10 seconds of the restart when Carson's fingertip save prevented Martin Petrov's shot from finding the top right corner, while Cahill's header a minute later was headed off the line by Nicky Shorey.

And with West Brom still lacking bite, Bolton found the breakthrough on 64 minutes as Davies's delightful through ball released Elmander.

The Swede, revitalised this season, took the ball away from his defender before smashing a left-foot strike past Carson into the middle of the net.

Four minutes later it seemed certain that Bolton would go two up when Petrov was released by Jussi Jaaskelainen's inhumanly long throw-out. The former Manchester City winger was through on goal, but shocked everyone in the ground by firing tamely into the side netting.

West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo responded with a change of shape to push more men forward, and immediately chances started to fall more often.

When Odemwingie pounced on a mistake by Zat Knight an equaliser looked certain, only for the striker to miss at the near post just as Petrov had.

Yet he made up for it almost within 60 seconds by cutting in from the right and delivering an inch perfect cross for the charging Morrison to head in from six yards.

West Brom looked to have found a winner less than a minute later when Odemwingie once again cut in from the right, this time finding Brunt, whose stinging shot from eight yards was denied by the best of reaction saves from Jaaskelainen.

Bolton sub Matt Taylor went close with a first a superb free kick and a then a solid first-time effort with five minute left, while at the other end Brunt's perfect diagonal ball picked out Odemwingie was superbly controlled on his chest before being sliced into the crowd.

It would have been an incredible way to win the match, but a point each was a fair return for a slow-burning match that built to a thrilling finale.

Toby Keel / Eurosport

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