Baggies held by Trotters
Taylor scores his 50th league goal as Baggies' survival hopes fade
By Elliot Ball. Last Updated: 21/03/09 6:36pm
Taylor: Scored opener
West Brom's chances of survival look to be fading after they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Bolton.
Saturday's clash at the Hawthorns was billed as a relegation six-pointer with the Baggies desperately needing to get three points on the board.
The game saw Gary Megson make his first return to his former stomping ground and it looked as though it would be a fruitful one when Matthew Taylor gave the Trotters a second-half lead following some typical route one football.
But Tony Mowbray's side continued to come at the visitors and they got back on level terms when Robert Koren's 82nd minute drive took a deflection off Bolton substitute Danny Shittu and found the back of the net.
Both teams had chances to snatch the three points, in between Megson being sent to the stands, but it finished all-square to edge Bolton a little further to safety, while West Brom's survival hopes begin to fade.
West Brom boss Tony Mowbray had targeted the successive home matches with Bolton and Stoke as possible lifelines in the bid to avoid a quickfire return to the Championship.
And it was the same old story for Albion as they knocked the ball around in a fluent and confident style, but were could do little damage in the final third.
Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen did not have to make a worthwhile save but was powerless to keep out Shittu.
In contrast, Taylor was always a threat to the home defence from dead-ball situations and his runs into the box.
Megson, who twice steered Albion to promotion to the top flight, received a warm reception from the home fans when he took his place in the Bolton dug-out before kick-off.
The first glimpse of an opportunity fell to Albion striker Jay Simpson after he had controlled a long pass from Jonas Olsson.
The on-loan Arsenal player cut back inside but, before he could line up a shot, Jlloyd Samuel nipped in to shepherd the ball back to Jaaskelainen.
Marc-Antoine Fortune then headed a deep cross from Chris Brunt back into the path of James Morrison but his shot flashed across the face of the Bolton goal.
Brunt almost broke the deadlock after 16 minutes when he cut into the Bolton box after collecting a pass from Fortune. The Northern Ireland international struck his low shot well enough but it flashed inches wide of the far post.
For all of Albion's territorial dominance, it was Carson who was called upon to make the first meaningful save of the game after 21 minutes.
Kevin Davies got to the by-line and cut a low cross back to Taylor whose rising left-footed drive was parried by the England squad player.
Fortune did have the ball in the net shortly afterwards but had strayed marginally offside.
Bolton were gradually getting a foothold in the game and Carson tipped another dipping free-kick from Taylor around the post.
Taylor delivered the resulting corner into the danger area and Carson did well to block a close range header from Davies.
Carson continued to be the busier of the two goalkeepers and had to be alert to push behind a swerving 35 yard free-kick from Taylor.
Greening became the first player to be yellow-carded after 50 minutes for a clumsy aerial challenge on Ricardo Gardner inside the Bolton box.
Bolton midfielder Gavin McCann had a volley deflected wide and there was a more determined look about the visitors after the break.
Mowbray made his first substitution after 57 minutes with leading scorer Roman Bednar replacing Simpson.
Megson brought on Shittu a couple of minutes later in place of the injured Sebastien Puygrenier.
There was a rare moment of excitement when Carson got his body behind a 20 yard drive from Gardner and then dealt with a low shot on the turn from Taylor.
But Taylor was not to be denied and after 67 minutes he put Bolton in front.
A long Jaaskelainen clearance was headed clear by Olsson and Taylor was first to react as he volleyed home from just inside the box.
But eight minutes from time the home side got back on level terms when Koren's drive was deflected by Shittu past his own goalkeeper.Carson denied Taylor a second goal when he came off his line to block his shot from close range.
|West Bromwich Albion||Team Statistics||Bolton Wanderers|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|0||Shots on Target||8|
|6||Shots off Target||3|
Barclays Premier League
|16||West Bromwich Albion||16||15|
|17||West Ham United||16||14|