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Venue: Reebok Stadium, Bolton
Premier League
 Saturday 26 November 2011; 3:00pm
0 2
 Wheater sent off (19')
Half Time: 0-0
Fellaini (49')  Vellios (78') 
Attendance: 24,058
Fixture 12
Referee: Michael Oliver

Match Summary

Injuries have begun to bite deep into David Moyes's limited side with Rodwell, Distin, Neville, and Drenthe all missing from a somewhat predictable line-up that included Saha, Cahill and Bilyaletdinov as its attacking thrust.

Everton started brightly, Coleman running at the Bolton defence, having a shot blocked them earning a free-kick from which Jagielka came very close to diverting in. From another free-kick, though, Heitinga demonstrated how poor Everton could be, playing the ball nowhere to no-one.

Everton had a succession of three corners that came to nought. Davies set up Klasnic who had a great chance to score but Howard covered the danger and saved well, as Jagielka had backed off to allow the shot.

Then the turning point, in the middle of the park, under no real pressure, Wheater lost control of the ball, and dived in after it with his studds flashing, catching Bily and sending him flying after the Russian had nicked the ball. Straight red card. Michael Oliver had no hesitation and was 100% correct. Bily needed extended treatment and some strapping but he came back on, with Everton needing to take advantage of this situation. But it riled the Bolton crowd and seemed to unsettle the Blues who took a while to grasp the opportunity.

Eagles poked in a lob that Howard saved, while Coleman fed Bily who clipped his shot wide with Ossie behind him wanting the ball as Everton looked to be a little more positive in their play. Baines then fed Bily but his control and shot was dismal. Everton then had loads of possession around the Bolton box but could not even fashion a shot on goal.

In a good move Fellaini, Cahill, Baines and Bily ran through the Bolton defence but tied themselves in knots with Saha straying offside as the ball rolled harmlessly to Jaskaleinen. Davies then gave away a nice free-kick, fouling Baines, who's training ground variation let Heitinga take the low shot, forcing a save off the deflection.

Heitinga then mirrored the scenario at the other end, fouling Davies, but the Bolton free-kick from Eagles was headed wide by Coleman in the wall and then hit Davies and went dead.

A better chance was constructed when Heitinga made a good run down the middle and pushed the ball wide for Bily who crossed early but Cahill's diving header was straight at Zac Knight's body.

But poor organization going forward led to few chances and no goals by half-time. However, some determined build-up play finally paid off after the break with good movement and a great cross from Bilyaletdinov first time from the left that Fellaini, momentarily playing centre-forward and goal-poacher, buried in fine style into the roof of the net with < Jaaskeleinen well beaten.

Again, Everton got the ball forward with pace, Heitinga to Saha but his execution was very disappointing.

Baines got forward too and ran in on goal from the left but his shot was poor. At the other end, Klasnic forced Howard to save with his legs as Bolton made a strong effort to push Everton back, the Blues visibly relaxing a little on their one-goal lead, a poor ball from Baines failing to set up Saha in the middle.

Baines set up Cahill for a weak header that almost scored, and Saha tried something impossible from the save that Jaskelienen saved easily. Osman even got a powerful shot in but it too was straight at Jaaskeleinen.

Saha, who had been virtually useless, was finally withdrawn by Moyes, giving Vellios a full 15 mins to stretch his legs and he was soon testing the Bolton keeper. However, Bolton were increasingly determined with Everton clinging to their slender lead until Cahill did brilliantly to turn a deep cross back across goal for Vellios to drive home. Another very good goal!

Ross Barkley was given another pointless cameo, coming on in the 88th minute for Tim Cahill. Same for Magaye Gueye, who needed a few pages of instructions for his 2-minute appearance in stoppage time.

Once again, with his first choice selections denied him, it's the replacements Moyes usually overlooks who perform better as a team and produce an excellent result and a very rare clean sheet albeit with a huge slice of luck in playing against 10 men for most of the game.

Michael Kenrick

Match Report

Everton moved into 8th place in the Premier League, at least until the results of the Sunday fixtures, with a comfortable 2-0 victory over 10-man Bolton Wanderers in soggy conditions at the Reebok Stadium. The direction of this largely forgettable encounter was established in the 19th minute when a poor touch by David Wheater saw the ball run away from him and his clumsy, studs-up tackle caught Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, earning the former Middlesbrough defender a straight red card.

Already struggling for form as they were, that effectively ended the home side's hopes of getting the three points they needed to move out of the bottom three and meant Everton just needed to accomplish what has been so hard for them to do at times this season... and that is score!

In the end, they found the net twice and wasted a number of other promising attacks due to poor decision-making and a lack of intelligent movement off the ball but neither manager David Moyes nor the fans who made the trip along the road from Liverpool will mind too much. The result, a third away win of the campaign, was paramount and, given the slippery conditions, any in-depth post-mortem would probably be redundant.

Already without Phil Neville, Sylvain Distin and Jack Rodwell due to hamstring, groin and rib injuries respectively, Moyes was forced to make more changes to his starting line-up when Royston Drenthe was ruled out with an ankle injury. Bilyaletdinov was given the nod to play on the left flank, John Heitinga continued alongside Phil Jagielka in central defence and Leon Osman again partnered Marouane Fellaini in central midfield.

The slick turf and the way the ball skidded off it would be a significant factor all afternoon and Jussi Jaaskeleinen was almost caught out in the third minute when Leighton Baines' free kick skipped through, just evading what would have a crucial touch from Jagielka, and the Finn beat the ball away awkwardly to clear the danger.

At the other end, Ivan Klasnic, Everton's tormentor in this fixture last season when he scored the winner in a 3-2 thriller, picked the ball up in space following Kevin Davies' smart dummy but his shot was parried by Tim Howard.

As has been the case in many of their recent games, Everton were enjoying plenty of possession, but there were countless occasions in the first 20 minutes where they just gave it away cheaply. One of the most glaring culprits was Heitinga whose long-range distribution from the back was shockingly bad, and all three of Tim Cahill, Louis Saha and Osman let themselves down badly with poor ball control in forward areas.

Despite being thrown into what was potentially one of the most physical games on the Blues' calendar, Bilyaletdinov was acquitting himself fairly well, though, and it was he who found himself on the end of Wheater's ill-advised lunge. By the letter of law, the red card was probably warranted but had some context been applied, specifically to allow for the conditions, the lack of malice and the fact that the Bolton man only went in with one foot, albeit too high off the turf, a yellow would not have been a travesty from Everton's perspective.

Bily, however, dumped on the turf in considerable turf despite his best efforts to evade the challenge, probably wouldn't agree and given that referee Michael Oliver's decision was decisive in handing Everton the initiative, no one in Blue was taking Wheater's side.

The home side briefly rallied in an attempt overcome their numerical disadvantage, Chris Eagles giving Howard a brief scare with a dipping shot that the American parried under his crossbar and gathered at the second attempt. But the game was now Everton's to win and they gradually assumed full control, Coleman setting Bilyaletdinov up from eight yards with a low centre but the midfielder side-footed over the crossbar.

All too often in the first half, Moyes's side just couldn't get things to come together in the final third and three potentially incisive passing moves collapsed once the ball got into the Bolton area, either because of a poor decision or because the Blue jerseys in attendance were too close to each other. Needing to pass the ball more to stretch and tire Owen Coyle's depleted side, all too often they chose the long ball and they just seemed to lack the pace to really capitalise on the increased space.

And when the Blues did create a geniune opening, Jaaskeleinen was aided by crucial deflections or blocks that took the sting out of the ball and enabled him to snuff the opportunities out. That was the case when Leighton Baines was clipped by Davies on the edge of the box and Heitinga's drive caught a defender and the ball ran into the 'keeper's arms; then again early in the second half when Coleman cut inside and fired towards the far corner but a defender charged his effort down.

The second period had been less than four minutes old, however, when Everton did make the crucial breakthrough and it was Bilyaletdinov who was the provider, finishing a patient build-up that went through Heitinga, Baines and Osman by delivering a low cross to Fellaini who despatched the ball into the roof of Jaaskeleinen's net to make it 1-0.

Saha, who had a very disappointing game by his standards, then spurned a good chance when he was put in by Cahill but shot straight at the goalkeeper, and Osman repeated the feat 16 minutes from time before Baines hammered a shot narrowly over from a tight angle.

Bolton were almost completely impotent as an attacking force but they were almost let in on the hour mark by an awful slip from Tony Hibbert; the defence was able to close down the opportunity, however. Five minutes later, and Eagles put Klasnic in behind Hibbert but Howard saved well with his legs to preserve the Blues' advantage.

When Cahill rose in typical fashion to steer a header destined to creep inside the far post and Jaaskeleinen clawed his effort away, it looked as though the decisive second goal would never come. Apostolos Vellios had other ideas, though. Introduced for Saha in the 74th minute, the Greek striker became Everton's top scorer for the season so far with three when he converted Cahill's excellent sliding cut-back from the angle to seal the win.

That should really have been the invitation for Moyes to throw on Magaye Gueye and Ross Barkley in ideal circumstances to get some more playing time but the 17 year-old had to wait until the 87th minute before he was introduced and the young French forward didn't get onto the pitch until the game had moved into stoppage time.

Nevertheless, Barkley still had time to try two efforts from outside the box, both of which were unfortunately blocked, and Everton were able to pass their way through the closing stages and pick up three really important points.

Again, Moyes won't care much how the points were one, just that they were. How his men go about their task against Stoke City next weekend will be more important and they will be aided by the confidence that comes from being back in the top half and with consecutive wins under their belts.

Player Ratings: Howard 6, Hibbert 6, Jagielka 7, Heitinga 6, Baines 8*, Fellaini 7, Osman 6, Coleman 7, Bilyaletdinov 7 (Gueye), Cahill 6 (Barkley), Saha 5 (Vellios 7)

Lyndon Lloyd

Match Preview

Everton return to the scene of one of their most abject peformances of last season hoping to build on the narrow victory against Wolves last weekend. The Blues lost 2-0 at the Reebok Stadium in February, a result that was ultimately a bump in the road that would lead to a seventh-place finish that seemed unlikely when David Moyes's side were propping up the Premier League the previous September.

Though they come into their 12th match of the campaign in a similar position as last season, it's fair to say that on the evidence thus far, another top-seven finish looks unlikely. Much has been made of Everton's propensity to start slowly in recent seasons but with the most creative elements stripped from the side and goals depressingly hard to come by, it's hard to see anything but a struggle between now and perhaps until that promised addition in January.

In their favour this weekend, though, is the fact that Bolton are struggling to find their footing this season and, with just won home win in six and having conceded more than twice as many as Everton in the process, they're in very unBolton-like form on their own turf. They go into this weekend in the bottom three but only four points behind the Blues.

Moyes won't be able to name his first-choice starting XI, though, because Sylvain Distin looks set to miss out again with a groin strain. Phil Neville will undergo a fitness test on his troublesome hamstring but Jack Rodwell could return sooner than expected from a rib injury sustained on international duty for England.

Elsewhere in the team it's expected that Phil Jagielka and Tim Cahill will be patched up and sent into battle again while Victor Anichebe remains a long-term injury casualty.

Lyndon Lloyd

* Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.

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BOLTON (4-4-2)
  G Cahill
  Wheater :19'
  Reo-Coker booked:59' (71' Steinsson)
  Muamba (61' Pratley)
  M Davies (71' Tuncay)
  K Davies
  Subs not used

EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Osman booked:44'
  Bilyaletdinov (90+1' Gueye)
  T Cahill (87' Barkley)
  Saha (74' Vellios)
  Subs not used
  Distin (injured)
  Drenthe (injured)
  Rodwell (injured)
  Neville (injured)
  Anichebe (injured)
  Baxter (loan)
  Bidwell (loan)
  Duffy (loan)
  Garbutt (loan)
  SIlva (loan)
  Yobo (loan)

Premier League Scores
Arsenal 1-1 Fulham
Bolton 0-2 Everton
Chelsea 3-0 Wolves
Man United 1-1 Newcastle
Norwich 2-1 QPR
Stoke 3-`1 Blackburn
Sunderland 1-2 Wigan
West Brom 1-3 Tottenham
Liverpool 1-1 Man City
Swansea 0-0 Aston Villa

Team Pts
1 Manchester City 35
2 Manchester United 30
3 Tottenham Hotspur 28
4 Newcastle United 26
5 Chelsea 25
6 Liverpool 23
7 Arsenal 23
8 Aston Villa 16
9 Everton 16
10 Norwich City 16
11 Queens Park Rangers 15
12 Stoke City 15
13 Swansea City 14
14 West Bromwich Albion 14
15 Fulham 12
16 Sunderland 11
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 11
18 Bolton Wanderers 9
19 Wigan Athletic 9
20 Blackburn Rovers 7


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