Welbeck settles Sunderland win
Danny Welbeck's first-half header was enough to see Sunderland leapfrog Bolton into sixth place with a 1-0 win.
Last Updated: 19/12/10 4:24pm
Danny Welbeck's first-half header was enough to see Sunderland leapfrog Bolton into sixth place with a 1-0 win over the Trotters.
On-loan striker Welbeck pounced on 32 minutes with a diving header after Darren Bent had forced Jussi Jaaskelainen to parry.
In what was a dull encounter, Bolton threatened to snatch a point with a late flurry of chances, but Ivan Klasnic twice miscued in front of goal.
The win sees the Black Cats continue their fine home form where they are now unbeaten in nine Premier League games this term.
They might have won more comfortably had Welbeck's 70th-minute effort crept inside the post rather than coming off the outside of it, but they were good value for the points as they tamed Owen Coyle's high-flying side.
The sides largely cancelled each other out during the opening half-hour with the visitors enjoying slightly the better of what chances there were.
Martin Petrov warmed the returning Craig Gordon's hands with a seventh-minute snapshot, but the keeper had to be at his best to deny Wanderers two minutes later.
Matthew Taylor managed to force his way past Nedum Onuoha on the left to pull the ball back from the goal-line, and Kevin Davies seemed certain to score until the Scotland international blocked his low drive with a foot.
Darren Bent was guilty of a bad miss at the other end four minutes later with he and strike partner Asamoah Gyan seeing little of the ball.
However, as the half-hour mark came and went, Sunderland stepped up a gear despite the loss of central defender John Mensah to an ankle injury, and to good effect.
It took a fine save from Jaaskelainen to keep out Gyan's 31st-minute shot after it clipped Gary Cahill on its way towards goal after Lee Cattermole had played the striker in over the top.
But the respite was short-lived and Sunderland took the lead seconds later.
Bent did well to control a deep cross beyond the far post and although the keeper parried his shot, Welbeck arrived right on cue to head the rebound home.
Cahill found his way into referee Chris Foy's notebook for a crude 34th-minute challenge from behind on Bent, and he was soon followed by Cattermole, but the Bolton defender was very nearly instrumental in dragging his side back into the game on the stroke of half-time.
He got up well at the far post to head Taylor's corner back across goal, and Knight seemed certain to score until Gordon somehow managed to turn the ball over the crossbar.
Cattermole enjoyed some good fortune four minutes after the restart when, having been booked before the break for a foul on Stuart Holden, he escaped a second and his third red card of the season for a late challenge on Johan Elmander.
The Bolton striker tested Gordon with a 52nd-minute snapshot, but Sunderland might have increased their lead seconds later when Welbeck met Jordan Henderson's free-kick with a downward header which Jaaskelainen claimed just before Gyan could get to it.
They came agonisingly close to a second goal with 20 minutes remaining as the visitors started to wilt.
Bent miscontrolled Henderson's cross with just Jaaskelainen to beat, but the ball ran to Gyan, who looked up before pulling it back for the fast arriving Welbeck.
The 20-year-old opened up his body to slide a side-footed shot across the keeper towards the far post, but saw the ball clip the outside of the upright and drop wide.
Bolton might have snatched a point four minutes from time when the ball dropped to Cahill 15 yards out, but his goalbound effort was well blocked by Anton Ferdinand with Sunderland refusing to release their grip on the points.Substitute Bolo Zenden might have increased their lead at the death, but headed wide from Henderson's cross, but Klasnic was guilty of a worse miss in stoppage-time as the visitors' hopes faded.
|Sunderland||Team Statistics||Bolton Wanderers|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||4|
|7||Shots off Target||4|