Premier League - Bolton hold off West Ham for win

Eurosport - Wed, 03 Mar 16:55:00 2010

Early goals from Kevin Davies and Jack Wilshere helped Bolton to a vital 2-1 win at West Ham that puts Owen Coyle's side five points clear of the Premier League drop zone.

FOOTBALL West Ham's Alessandro Diamanti and Bolton's Tamir Cohen - 0

Davies opened the scoring with a trademark header on 10 minutes while on-loan Arsenal midfielder Wilshere opened his league account with a cool finish on the quarter-hour mark.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men after Tamir Cohen picked up a second yellow card, and Alessandro Diamanti's late curler set up a grandstand finish that saw both sides hit the woodwork in the dying minutes.

The match was played against the backdrop of West Ham's revelations that the club's former owners had left them in financial dire straits, with David Sullivan expressing his concern in the programme notes but insisting the club could still become a major force in British and European football.

But Bolton - who won the reverse fixture at the Reebok in December - had the edge in an entertaining match, and their superior finishing was helped by some indifferent West Ham defending to give the Trotters a 2-0 half-time lead.

Davies opened the scoring on 10 minutes in typical fashion, rising to power Lee Chung-Yong's cross past the helpless Robert Green.

Diamanti sent a free-kick just over four minutes later but soon afterwards Bolton doubled their lead.

Hammers centre-half James Tomkins showed his inexperience as he tried to shepherd the ball out of play while under pressure from Davies, who shrugged him off the ball and popped a cross far post that Cohen nodded down to the 18-year-old Wilshere, who remained calm in a crowded box to put a left-foot scissors-volley beyond Green.

One minute later Tomkins was again exposed, this time as Johan Elmander spun away from him to drill a low shot that Green held on to.

West Ham rallied, with Diamanti and Scott Parker forcing a splendid double-save from Jussi Jaaskelainen after the former's free-kick, while Sam Ricketts foiled Carlton Cole with a superb sliding tackle after Parker put the England striker clean through.

Lee should have made it 3-0 but the South Korean badly sliced his finish after a dreadful defensive header from Matthew Upson, while down the other end Zat Knight was alert to clear off the line after Diamanti's 45th-minute cross wreaked havoc in the Bolton box.

The miss of the half fell to another Trotters player though, with Elmander - who was an otherwise excellent foil to Davies - somehow thrashing his finish over the bar from close range after Lee slid a lovely low ball across the face of goal.

The second half adopted a similar pattern, although with less consequence, as possession was fairly even but Bolton more threatening.

Kieron Dyer, on as a sub for Julien Faubert, should have done better but was falling as he blasted Cole's flick-on over the bar, while for the visitors Elmander had a goal-bound effort blocked by Matthew Upson's arm but no penalty was awarded.

Just before the hour mark Elmander had another goal-bound effort blocked by Upson, legally this time, and from thereon in the Trotters sat back and defended resolutely as they frustrated the hosts.

Things got interesting with 20 minutes remaining as Cohen received a second yellow card for a needless trip on Parker and, with Bolton down to 10 men, the Hammers dominated possession.

Aside from a comfortable save from a Dyer header, Jaaskelainen had little to do until the 87th-minute when, with many home fans already departed, he picked the ball out of his net after Diamanti picked up the ball on the right and curled a beautiful finish just inside the far post.

West Ham committed everyone forward, with Trotters skipper Davies almost grabbing a third on the break but putting his finish off the angle of post and crossbar, while right at the death sub Junior Stanislas rattled Jaaskelainen's bar with a ferocious shot from just inside the box.

Bolton held on though to take a big win back to the North-West, completing a double over the cash-strapped club.

Reda Maher / Eurosport

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