Eagles swoops to oust Swans
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Sunday 29 January 2012
Bolton showed the value of being up for the cup with the sort of performance their manager feels can give an extra fillip to their Premier League form. Last year's semi-finalists progressed to the last 16 with a well-earned win over a much-changed Swansea side and despite the way his side's season fell apart after the semi last year, Owen Coyle is glad to be on that road again.
"I thought we were excellent today," said the Bolton manager. "It can only give us impetus and confidence to win other games."
Brendan Rodgers made no less than 10 changes from his last Premier League line-up, while Coyle limited himself to a three-man readjustment to the team that beat Liverpool so convincingly.
The young full-back Joe Riley gave Bolton much of their early attacking impetus, being responsible for a number of incisive runs and intelligent crosses, and they should have gone ahead on 19 minutes, when Chris Eagles put David Ngog through while Swansea waited for an offside flag. Ngog shot into Gerhard Tremmel's legs.
Mark Davies also had a low shot well saved before Swansea began to stir. Wayne Routledge had the ball in the net from a clearly offside position, but there was no argument about the goal that put the Welsh club ahead. The ball broke from a tackle to Luke Moore, who held off David Wheater to slot it past the advancing Adam Bogdan. "It was a world-class finish," said Rodgers.
The lead lasted only two minutes as another ex-Swan, Darren Pratley, who was barracked every time he touched the ball, had his revenge, heading home Martin Petrov's free-kick. Rodgers thought it was "fractionally offside".
Petrov was also involved in what turned out to be Bolton's winning goal, 11 minutes into the second half. Cutting in from the left, he put in a shot which Tremmel spilled, allowing Eagles to turn, shoot and score.
Leroy Lita and Pratley hit the woodwork at opposite ends and Petrov, Nigel Reo-Coker and Fabrice Muamba all went close for Bolton before the Swansea substitute Danny Graham headed against the post in the dying minutes.
But Bolton held on to claim the fifth-round place they deserved. Just don't mention Stoke City and Wembley.
Bolton (4-5-1): Bogdan; Riley, Wheater, Boyata, Rickets; Eagles (Tuncay, 90), M Davies, Pratley (Muamba, 78), Reo-Coker, Petrov; Ngog (K Davies, 74).
Swansea (4-3-3): Tremmel; Richards, Williams, Monk, Bessone; Agustien, Gower (Allen, 78), McEachran; Routledge (Dyer, 65), Lita (Graham, 65), Moore.
Referee: Anthony Taylor.
Man of the match: Petrov (Bolton)
Match rating: 7/10
Bolton Wanderers 2 (Pratley, Eagles) Swansea City 1 (Moore)
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