Premier League - Villa send Bolton bottom

Sat, 10 Dec 17:09:00 2011

Aston Villa struck twice in the first-half as they defeated Bolton Wanderers 2-1 in the Premier League at the Reebok Stadium.

Bolton 1 Aston Villa 2

Marc Albrighton put Villa on their way with his first goal of the season, and Stiliyan Petrov doubled the lead with a deflected effort to put Alex McLeish's men in charge at half-time

Ivan Klasnic hit back for Bolton after the break but they struggled to create chances and Villa held out comfortably.

Tuncay Sanli started for Bolton in an attacking line-up, while Villa handed Brad Guzan his first league start of the season in place of injured goalkeeper Shay Given.

Both sides were desperate for a win, Bolton entering the fixture having lost all but three Premier League games and Aston Villa with just one victory in seven.

Eagles spurned the first chance of the game as he curled a tame low shot into the grateful arms of Guzan after a neat pass from the impressive Klasnic.

The unmarked Petrov somehow contrived to miss a simple chance when firing wide in front of goal after Charles N'Zogbia had capitalised on a slip by Gary Cahill.

Paul Robinson's own loss of footing then allowed Albrighton to dribble into the box and cross for Darren Bent whose low first time shot was blocked by Jussi Jaaskelainen at the near post.

Guzan could not hold onto a low Eagles free-kick at the other end, with Richard Dunne forced to clear away for a corner.

Villa took the lead after 33 minutes as Gabriel Agbonlahor took on Dedryck Boyata on the left and crossed for Albrighton who provided a simple finish from close range.

The visitors doubled their lead six minutes later when Petrov was given far too much space on the edge of the Bolton area to fire into the bottom right corner via the aid of a deflection off Gary Cahill.

Kevin Davies almost reduced the arrears before the break but saw his far post header from a Chris Eagles free-kick spectacularly saved by Guzan.

Excellent combination play from Tuncay and Klasnic after the interval resulted in Eagles's goal bound shot being pushed away by Guzan as Bolton came out with more purpose.

Their adventurous play soon reaped rewards as Klasnic fired in from close-range after Villa failed to clear a tame Zat Knight effort.

Villa, though, almost extended their lead as Petrov found Darren Bent in front of goal and the England striker's shot was blocked by Cahill, making a heroic intervention against his former club.

Bolton continued to press for an equaliser and Mark Davies should have done better than fire well over from the edge of the area.

The energy that Bolton displayed after Owen Coyle's half-time team talk slowly dissipated and Villa played out the final 20 minutes with some ease.

Indeed, they could have extended their lead in injury time but Jussi Jaaskelainen made a smart save to deny Albrighton as Bolton slipped to the bottom of the Premier League.

Stewart Coggin / Eurosport

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