Curcic pitches in

Bolton Wanderers 2 Sellars 44, Curcic 52 Sheffield Wednesday 1 Whittingham 37 Attendance: 18,368
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The Independent Online
THE RELEGATION trap-door, for so long gaping open for Bolton, is slowly starting to creak shut. A much-valued win at home, where their confidence and form has been at its lowest ebb, hoisted Bolton off the bottom of the table for the first time in 16 weeks and into the hurly- burly of the survival scrap.

Again the inspiration came from the twinkling toes of Sasa Curcic, although the perspiration of his colleagues was equally important. The Serb's second- half goal sparked a concerted and threatening Wednesday response which tested the home side's nerve and resilience.

Worryingly for fellow strugglers, Bolton are gaining momentum while others stutter and stumble. The fact that this performance was rarely pretty will worry manager Colin Todd not one jot.

What would have worried Todd, though, was his side's work ethic in the first half. Strong words were forthcoming at the interval and their second- half display was that of a side fighting for their lives. The manager said: "If you are not prepared to battle and graft for 45 minutes you are not going to get anything. In the first half we didn't go out there with any purpose. Sometimes it's not going to be pretty but in the position we are in it's about results."

Tellingly, luck was also on their side, Wednesday hitting the woodwork twice in a feverish spell of pressure following Curcic's goal. Saturday's home game with Manchester City now takes on even more importance.

The winning goal was a departure from the Bolton build-up blueprint, which relies on the central midfielders Alan Stubbs and Scott Sellars feeding Curcic as quickly as possible. This time Sellars opted for a more direct route, Gudni Bergsson and Fabian de Freitas combining to set up Curcic for a skidding drive across the goal.

The first-half goals were the only action of note in a dismal period. Guy Whittingham beat Simon Coleman in a goal-line scramble after the youngster Richie Humphreys deflected a cross past Aidan Davison. Curcic was the inevitable provider of the Bolton equaliser, darting to the by-line and dragging his pass behind the Wednesday defence to Sellars. His shot was scuffed into the ground, the bounce eluding Chris Woods and the defenders on the line.