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REPORT: BOLTON 1, SPURS 0

Posted on 8 November 2005  - 12:00

Kevin Nolan's wonder strike ended our unbeaten record in the Premiership at Bolton on Monday night.

Kevin Nolan's wonder strike ended our unbeaten record in the Premiership at Bolton on Monday night.

The midfielder's rocket in the 32nd minute was a bolt from the blue in what had been an instantly forgettable first period.

Indeed, from a Spurs perspective, it didn't get much better as our dismal record at the Reebok Stadium continued. Luck wasn't on our side either - Jermain Defoe's 'goal' barely seconds after Nolan's effort was incorrectly ruled out for offside and both Mido and Paul Stalteri hit the woodwork in the last 10 minutes.

There was just a single change from the team that gained a Derby point last time out, Edgar Davids was welcomed back into the fold in place of the absent Aaron Lennon. Teemu Tainio switched to the right, with the Dutchman slotting into his left sided role.

The early minutes of the encounter were, it would be fair to say, probably not for the purist as the home side pressed robustly high up the pitch. It was clear that Michael Dawson and Ledley King were going to be in for quite a night and probably be the central characters on a windy evening in the North West.

The boys attempted to bring a little composure to their game as the clock ticked past the midway point in the half with no serious goalmouth action to record, but the five-man midfield of Bolton was doing a good job in smothering such intent. Abdoulaye Faye was proving a formidable presence alongside alongside the busy Nolan in midfield, while El-Hadji Diouf was tasked with providing speedy support to main striker Kevin Davies - not that there was too much supporting to be done at either end.

The first real shot on target came on 32 minutes and turned out to be a costly one from our point of view. Diouf and Davies combined on the edge of the area to tee the ball up for Nolan who dispatched a thumping drive beyond Paul Robinson and into the top right hand corner. It was a finer goal than the game truly deserved.

Defoe responded at the other end moments later and popped the ball past Jussi Jaselainen following a neat pass from Tainio, but was flagged offside

Replays showed to the contrary. Tainio then threaded Lee Young-Pyo through on goal but the full-back didn't get hold of his shot and the ball trickled through to the goalkeeper.

It could have been two for Bolton when Davies and Diouf again combined four minutes before the break and gave Nolan another sight of goal. This time he went for precision, rolled the ball past Robinson and it took the post to deny the midfielder a second.

Bolton made an early change in the second half, bringing on the greater aerial threat of Jared Borgetti for Davies. Sam Allardyce's side were certainly seeking to take advantage and a succession of crosses from deep were slung into the area, with the desired effect of causing suitable panic.

In-roads were starting to be made into the home defences as the game crept towards the hour mark as Michael Carrick began to get a grip in midfield, with Mido showing some invention in the final third. Bolton responded to the turning of the tide by introducing Nakata.

It was enter Robbie Keane just after the hour mark in a bold move that saw the withdrawal of Lee and a switch to three at the back. Despite a more potent attacking mix, it took 10 minutes to plonk Bolton on the back foot when Keane sent Defoe scurrying away in a move than led to Tainio blasting over. The same player couldn't find the target when a clever free-kick variation from Carrick gave him a shooting chance from inside the area.

It was so nearly levelled eight minutes from time when a Keane cross into the area was met first time on the volley by Jermaine Jenas and cleared off the line by Ben Haim. The ball fell kindly for Mido to strike in the rebound, but this time the post got in the way and King couldn't retrieve the loose ball to any great effect.

Into the three minutes of added time and continued pressure almost paid again as Stalteri's cross from the right beat Jaaskelainen in flight but came back off the crossbar. It was that kind of night.