Bolton trot out easy win
Lacklustre West Ham remain deep in the relegation mire
Last Updated: 09/04/11 5:33pm
A brace from young striker Daniel Sturridge handed Wembley-bound Bolton Wanderers a comfortable 3-0 success against relegation strugglers West Ham.
Sturridge, on-loan from Chelsea, scored a marvellous 14th-minute opener before sealing victory shortly after the second half restart with another stunning left-foot strike.
South Korean star Chung-Yong Lee bagged Bolton's second as Owen Coyle's men warmed up for their FA Cup semi final against Stoke in the best possible manner.
It was Bolton's eighth straight win against the Hammers and extended their excellent home form to just one defeat in their last 11 games at the Reebok.
But there was little comfort for Avram Grant's men who were defensively all at sea in the first half before finally sorting themselves out after the interval.
Despite rattling the woodwork twice they could not grab a lifeline as Bolton produced a professional display to strengthen their top eight place and maintain the pressure on Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton.
However, goalscorer Sturridge will only be at Wembley in spirit when Bolton face Stoke as he played for Chelsea earlier in the competition.
He took his tally to six goals in eight games today and has arguably been one of the best signings of the January transfer window.
Bolton almost got off to a perfect start after Kevin Davies picked out Sturridge in the penalty area in the third minute.
He fired in a shot that took a deflection off West Ham defender Manuel da Costa. Gary Cahill then got on the end of Martin Petrov's corner but saw his header go wide of the post.
The home side took the lead in the 14th minute with a superb strike by Sturridge who carved an opening for himself out of nothing before curling a shot beyond Robert Green and into the corner.
Kevin Davies should have added a second in the 18th minute but dragged his effort wide but a minute later Bolton forged 2-0 ahead.
West Ham failed to close down Martin Petrov and he swung in a cross that was headed firmly home by Lee.
Petrov was revelling in the space afford to him and cracked in a shot after 28 minutes that was blocked by James Tomkins.
The Bulgarian winger again came close minutes later as did Elmander while Sturridge saw a close-range header taken by Green.
West Ham hit back two minutes later when Thomas Hitzlsperger tested Jussi Jaaskelainen with a shot from the edge of the box after Wayne Bridge had delivered the cross.
The Hammers started brightly after the break but went 3-0 down in the 51st minute when Sturridge grabbed his second of the game.
He drifted in from the left and got the better of Scott Parker on the edge of the area before steering a shot beyond Robert Green.
Sturridge came within a stride of completing his hat-trick in the 55th minute, only for Tomkins to make a vital interception.
A minute later West Ham almost pulled a goal back but Jussi Jaaskelainen reacted magnificently to somehow claw away a header from Demba Ba.
Back came Bolton and Green did well to get a hand to Sturridge's chip from close range.
However West Ham had suddenly come alive and Tomkins saw his effort in the 63rd minute blocked by Jaaskelainen.
Bolton continued to look dangerous every time they broke forward and Sturridge was again left frustrated in the 68th minute when he found the wrong side of the post with his effort.
Bolton almost added a fourth in the 83rd minute through substitute Ivan Klasnic but he failed to test Green and sent his effort wide.The crowd were willing Sturridge to get his hat-trick but the young striker squandered a glorious chance from close range in stoppage time.
|Bolton Wanderers||Team Statistics||West Ham United|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||6|
|12||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
|6||West Ham United||19||31|
|15||Queens Park Rangers||19||18|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||19||17|