Tevez (30mins) 1-0; Adebayor (73) 2-0
Bolton Wanderers 0
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- Match reports
- 09 February 2010 21:41
- Posted by Chris Bailey
This 120th meeting between these two sides will hardly go down as one of the more memorable ninety minutes but at least it proved a cathartic experience for City fans after their side’s less than enamouring effort at Hull.
Roberto Mancini, who by his own admission was angered by his side’s first team lethargy at the KC Stadium, stuck to his word and freshened things up with Adam Johnson and Patrick Vieira starting for the first time at home and Vincent Kompany returning from injury.
Though there were some classy touches from Vieira who is a world class reader of the game, it was the whipper-snapper Johnson who stole the show.
Playing alternately central and then on the right – clearly something Mancini likes his left footed players to do – Johnson slalomed this way and that, sashayed in and out of defenders with equal measure of ease and confidence and generally endeared himself to his new fans to the point that he had the man of the match honours pretty much sewn up before the half time whistle had gone.
It was Johnson’s trickery and verve that broke Bolton’s resolve after half an hour of huff and puff during which neither keeper had really been tested.
Johnson twisted down the right flank and into the area by which time defender Paul Robinson was so dizzy that he hauled him down for a soft penalty.
Jussi Jaaskelainen’s antics on the line were amusing and distracting and it nearly worked because Carlos Tevez penalty was not well struck though it did finally hit the back of the net thanks to a ricochet off the frustrated Finnish keeper.
Manu Adebayor shot wide from a promising position but it was Bolton who came closest to a second goal of the game when Muamba’s shot from the edge of the box took a deflection off Kompany forcing Shay Given into a diving save to his right.
In winning, the Blues extended their unbeaten run at CoMS to 20 and stretched their scoring streak on home soil to 21 matches in a row... the best for more than half a century.
According to the stats that really should not have been so difficult a task because Bolton had kept but one clean sheet in their previous 23 Premier League trips.
And their bid to improve that woeful record on the road was not helped by the loss of their top defender Gary Cahill thanks to the discovery of a blood clot on his arm. Not only is he a fine central defender but also tops Bolton’s goal charts this season and scored in the earlier meeting between these sides at the Reebok that ended in a 3-3 draw.
There was never a chance of another six-goal jamboree though Tevez , whose successful spot kick was his 19th goal of the season, almost made it 20 in the 52nd minute only for his his looping free kick to hit the top of the bar.
Kolo Toure limped off shortly afterwards handing a return to action for Joleon Lescott who had been out for the better part of two months...his last outing was, ironically, also against Bolton.
Jaaskelainen saved well from the ever-dangerous Johnson but Adebayor sealed matters in the 73rd minute springing the offside trap, taking Vieira’s long ball on his chest and then hammering home a volley for his ninth of the campaign and third in as many starts. He had never previously scored in eight Premier League attempts against Wanderers and this was a splendid way to break that drought.
Bolton’s anger at losing a game in which they competed well eventually spilled over into frustration and penalty villain Robinson was lucky to see yellow and not red when he upended substitute Wright-Phillips.
The Wanderers’ mood will not have been assuaged any by a glance at the league table. They still dangle perilously close to the relegation trap door while the Blues are up into fifth and still pressing for a top four place and eyeing cup success.