Football: Blake day for Huddersfield

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The Independent Online
Bolton Wanderers 3

Frandsen 15, Blake 26, Gunnlaugsson 43

Huddersfield 0

Attendance: 20, 971

HUDDERSFIELD'S attempt to extend a winning sequence to six and remain unlikely First Division leaders was repelled in embarrassingly one-sided fashion by Bolton, who look much more likely than their visitors still to have the scent of a Premiership place next spring.

A crowd in excess of 20,000, the largest of the season at the Reebok Stadium, witnessed a victory that was wrapped up before half-time as Colin Todd's side swept into a three-goal lead that Huddersfield never threatened to eat into.

In the Yorkshire side's mitigation, an injury to Marcus Stewart deprived them of one half of a partnership responsible for 11 of their 15 League goals, but even if he had been available one suspects he would have seen little of the ball.

A midfield controlled by Per Frandsen and Claus Jensen delivered one incisive pass after another to Bolton's rampaging forwards. The visitors, reliant on Grant Johnson and the veteran Barry Horne to pull their strings, made little headway, leaving Wayne Allison and stand-in strike partner Paul Barnes with negligible service.

Frandsen made the first breakthrough, arriving unmarked at the far post after Arnar Gunnlaugsson sent over a looping cross from the right. Jensen might quickly have added the second when Michael Johansen put him through but he missed the target.

Nathan Blake soon made it 2-0 in any event. His header from Johansen's cross drew an acrobatic save from Huddersfield's goalkeeper, Nico Vaesen, but the ball flew upwards and when defender Sam Collins tried to clear he headed against the crossbar. Blake was waiting for the rebound to hook in his eighth goal of the season.

Just before half-time Gunnlaugsson put the result effectively beyond doubt, collecting Neil Cox's pass into the penalty area and then coolly side-stepping Collins before rolling the ball into the net.

By comparison with the first, the second half was uneventful and if Huddersfield enjoyed more possession than previously it was only because Bolton dropped down a gear.

"We were well beaten by the better side," the Huddersfield manager, Peter Jackson, admitted. To rub salt in the wounds, Sunderland's point knocked his side off the top.

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