Swaibu mishap gives Bolton welcome boost
Bolton Wanderers 4 Lincoln 0
Sunday 03 January 2010
Four second-half goals ensured Bolton's search for a manager to keep them in the Premier League will not be complicated by preparing for a replay at Sincil Bank. For 45 minutes, Bolton fans with a gut feeling that the mere departure of Gary Megson would automatically usher in a bright, new era suffered a frustrating time as they were matched by a side standing 19th in League Two and fielding three debutants.
But then a stroke of luck got them going and Wanderers eventually strolled to a comfortable victory, by a scoreline that flattered them. The good fortune came immediately after the break, when the Lincoln central defender, Adam Watts, completely missed what should have been a routine clearance of Matthew Taylor's low cross at the near post.
The ball ran on, hit Moses Swaibu and finished up in the back of the net, something Bolton had rarely threatened in the first half. Within a couple of minutes, they were two up, Ivan Klasnic threading the ball across the area for Lee Chung-Yong to sweep home.
It was rough justice for Lincoln, who had matched Bolton in the first half, but were now suddenly out of contention.
They had arguably the best chance before the break, their impressive midfielder on loan from Aston Villa, Chris Herd, finding plenty of room for a fierce shot, but putting it straight at Ali Al Habsi, standing in for the rested Jussi Jaaskelainen, one of the three changes in the caretaker management pairing's first selection.
Even late in the game, Herd threatened with a surging run and shot, but it was Bolton who got the late goals. The first came from Gary Cahill's header and the second, in injury time, when Mark Davies knocked in Paul Robinson's cross. "I don't think we disgraced ourselves in any way," said the Lincoln manager, Chris Sutton. "The commitment was fantastic. I don't think it was really a 4-0 game."
Even Bolton's joint-caretaker, Chris Evans, would concede that, at the same time as being relieved to have presided over what was ultimately a solid, professional performance. "In the circumstances of the last few days, the players were focused, which is difficult when the eyes of the football world are on you.
"It was a professional job and we're glad to be in the hat. I'm a traditional football man and for me the FA Cup is always very special." As for the broader question of who will be given the job of keeping Bolton in the Premier League, Evans had no news to impart and will carry on filling in with Steve Wigley until told otherwise. The supporters who played such an influential role in the departure of Megson have made their choice, however. Every so often, the chant went around the sparsely filled Reebok Stadium: "Owen, Owen Coyle."
Referee: Michael Oliver
Man of the match: Herd
Match rating: 6/10
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