Premier League - Eagles inspires five-star Bolton

Sun, 06 Nov 16:58:00 2011

Referee Howard Webb was the early talking point at the Reebok Stadium before Chris Eagles turned on the style to help Bolton collect their first home win of the season in the Premier League with a 5-0 mauling of a listless Stoke City.

Bolton 5 Stoke 0

Owen Coyle's side completed their biggest home win in the Premier League courtesy of two goals apiece from Eagles and Ivan Klasnic after Kevin Davies's opener had seen Stoke's day begin badly before going even further downhill.

Stoke can have few complaints about the result having managed little of note throughout a torrid 90 minutes for manager Tony Pulis, who took the unusual stop of making all three changes with around 20 minutes left such was the dismal output from his players.

World Cup final referee Webb penalised visiting goalkeeper Asmir Begovic for picking the ball up in the second minute of the match as Glenn Whelan was deemed to have passed the ball back.

It looked a harsh call, but Bolton were not for hanging around as Klasnic snatched the ball from the Stoke goalkeeper before taking a quick free-kick that saw Kevin Davies tuck the ball home with Begovic still debating Webb's earlier decision.

The visiting players surrounded the match official, but Begovic continued to toil as Bolton moved two goals ahead on 23 minutes. He made a poor clearance from Robert Huth's pass-back, perhaps mindful that he would not pick the ball up after the earlier shenanigans.

Eagles promptly drove the ball beyond the exposed Bosnian, who could not get back in time to keep the ball out.

Bolton - with Premier League debutant Joe Riley warming to his task at right-back - were clearly the brighter lot, and moved three clear when Eagles played in Paul Robinson, who in turn found Klasnic to drive the shot into the net via a post from the edge of the box on 61 minutes.

The home side moved four goals ahead when Eagles raced on to a lovely pass from Klasnic to convert after Kevin Davies had played his part with a lovely cushioned header into the Croatian striker's path as Begovic was left well beaten.

Klasnic completed the rout when David Wheater headed on Eagles's corner for Klasnic to nod home on 82 minutes with Stoke looking out on their feet in their third game in six days.

The win for Bolton's ended a five-match losing run at home, and gives them a measure of revenge for the 5-0 loss they suffered in losing to Stoke in the semi-finals of the FA CUp earlier this year.

Stoke need to address the issue of playing in the Europa League o Thursday and the Premier League on the following Sunday. This is the fourth time they have lost a match on the Sunday within days of playing in Europe.

Tony Pulis's side have endured a pretty forgettable week despite overcoming Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday having gone down 3-1 to Newcastle United at home on Monday followed by this capitulation in Bolton.

It is little wonder that Pulis later described the performance as "not good enough". It was not, despite the adventure of Bolton throughout the match.

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