Football: McGinlay magic maintains momentum: Bolton's Merseyside treble

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The Independent Online
Bolton Wanderers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Tranmere Rovers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

BOLTON, who have trampled over Everton and Liverpool's FA Cup aspirations in the last two seasons, showed they are equally capable of inflicting damage in the League yesterday when they undermined Tranmere's First Division promotion hopes. Their name must be uttered like a curse on Merseyside at the moment.

John McGinlay, who initiated Bolton's comeback against Everton in last Tuesday's third-round replay at Goodison, scored twice, both with headers, to stretch to 22 matches a run that has been marred only by two defeats. They are now within six points of yesterday's opponents and will be encouraged that a tilt at League achievement could accompany their progress in the knock-out competition.

'Last year's Cup win over Liverpool started a run that carried us to promotion,' McGinlay said, 'and it would be nice to think something similar could happen again. Merseyside must be sick of the sight of Bolton.'

Certainly Tranmere must be despairing of playing on the Sabbath. This was the fifth time they have lost on a Sunday and they rarely threatened to break the sequence. John Aldridge had a chance in the second minute but, that apart, their attack, hamstrung by the appalling Burnden Park pitch, was muted and it was a surprise when they did score, Chris Malkin sliding and shooting in one movement from John Morrisey's 53rd-minute pass.

Bolton created far more, largely through their penetration on the right. David Lee was given the sort of space wingers fantasise about and even though the surface was more akin to a cobbled street than a lawn, he ran the Tranmere defence ragged in the first half, forcing the visitors to switch full-backs to spare Ian Nolan further punishment. That was after Lee had scythed through to the byline in the 19th minute before looping a cross to McGinlay which allowed him a free header from five yards.

Even after the interval, with his licence reduced to normal proportions, Lee had a shot cleared off the line by Steve Mungall after 75 minutes and then played a part in the winner 10 minutes later.

He appeared to have squandered an opportunity when he was forced inwards but his pass located Mark Patterson on the left and he, in turn, pased to substitute Alan Thompson after losing and regaining possession. The cross, like Lee's for the first goal, was close to perfect and McGinlay scored his 19th goal of the season at the far post.

'We stress that if you get in the right position enough times goals will come eventually,' Bruce Rioch, the Bolton manager, said. 'Both crosses were the sort defenders hate.'

Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Davison; Brown, Winstanley, Stubbs, Phillips; Lee, McAteer, Kelly, Patterson; McGinlay, Coyle (Thompson, 72). Substitutes not used: Seagraves, Hoult (gk).

Tranmere Rovers (4-4-2): Nixon; Mungall, McGreal, Higgins, Nolan (Irons, 72); Morrisey, Brannan, O'Brien, Nevin; Malkin, Aldridge. Substitutes not used: Branch, Coyne (gk).

Referee: R Hart (Bishop Auckland).