Everton sneak past Bolton
Last Updated: 01/09/07 6:58pm
Lescott: Last-minute winner
A last-minute Joleon Lescott strike ruined Bolton's 10-year Reebok Stadium anniversary as Everton sneaked a 2-1 win.
Yakubu Aiyegbeni had marked his Everton debut with a goal after he was set up by Andy Johnson on 11 minutes to put The Toffees in front.
Bolton then seemed to have a good penalty appeal turned down as they looked for an equaliser when El Hadji Diouf was brought down by Lee Carsley, but referee Peter Walton rejected the claims.
However, Bolton did not have to wait long to restore parity when Nicolas Anelka blasted home a stunning volley after 55 minutes.
The game then continued in end-to-end style, but Lescott secured the points as he headed home a Thomas Gravesen corner in the 90th minute.
Despite Bolton controlling the opening 10 minutes, they were soon caught on the counter, and in clinical fashion.
Breaking away down the right-hand side, the ball fell to Johnson who first rode a sliding challenge from Gerald Cid before driving into the penalty area.
Backs to the wall
With Bolton's defence backtracking, Johnson passed square to Yakubu and the Nigerian had no trouble in scoring the opener from eight yards, his 62nd goal in 154 Premier League appearances.
It was backs-to-the-wall stuff for Everton after that as The Trotters poured forward in search of an equaliser.
Mikel Alonso twice came close to hauling Bolton level during the opening 45 minutes, but from his first effort moments after Yakubu had struck, Tim Howard clawed away a 22-yard first-time drive.
The Spaniard, on loan from Real Sociedad, then came closer in the 40th minute when he unleashed a powerful angled drive that swerved away from the full-stretch Howard and crashed against the bar.
There also appeared to be a clear case for a penalty in the 14th minute when Diouf was brought down in the area by Lee Carsley. Referee Walton instantly waved away appeals, much to Diouf's anger, only for replays to prove the Northamptonshire official was correct.
Diouf came close soon after but volleyed over the bar after trapping a Kevin Nolan flick-on on his chest.
Yet despite all the possession, and for the most part penning the visitors back inside their own half for long periods, Bolton came close to conceding a second just before the interval.
Jussi Jaaskelainen made his first save of the game, diving to his right to keep out a downward header from Joseph Yobo as he met a Mikel Arteta corner.
Bolton's breakthrough came with Anelka rifling a right-foot volley in off the underside of the bar after Phil Jagielka had tried to clear a Diouf cross.
Bolton should then have taken the lead on the hour as another Diouf cross picked out Nolan at the far post, but he skewed his volley wide.
That prompted Gravesen's introduction just after the hour, the Dane making his second debut after signing on loan from Celtic.
He provided the through ball in the 73rd minute that should have led to Everton regaining the lead. A mistake from Abdoulaye Meite helped the ball on its way to an unmarked Johnson.
But with only Jaaskelainen to beat, a recovering Meite did enough to thwart the England striker, whose eventual shot was pushed wide by the Finnish goalkeeper.
With the game end-to-end, Meite then forced a reaction save from Howard shortly after, prior to Leon Osman sidefooting over the bar from 12 yards.
Then just 75 seconds from the end of normal time Lescott grabbed the winner as he rose in between half-time sub Andy O'Brien and Jlloyd Samuel to nod home a Gravesen corner.
|Bolton Wanderers||Team Statistics||Everton|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||7|
|5||Shots off Target||4|
Barclays Premier League
|11||West Ham United||34||37|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||33||33|