Albrighton gets 'mojo back' but desperate times for Bolton
Bolton 1 Aston Villa 2
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.
The Reebok Stadium
Monday 12 December 2011
Aston Villa set their sights on their first away win of the season and found their route wide open.
Wide is the apposite word, because it was on the flanks that they destroyed a Bolton side that hit rock-bottom in the Premier League and might find it hard to rise from there.
The damage was done by the odd couple of Charles N'Zogbia and Marc Albrighton. N'Zogbia was reinstated with surprising haste after being left out last week for missing a treatment session.
That dropping, plus a pep talk from Alex McLeish on the theme of it not being "the good things of life, the cars and houses" that matter, seemed to have done the trick.
"It's about being a top player and we're looking for him to be a great Aston Villa player," his manager said.
The former Wigan Athletic winger was not great at the Reebok, but he was more than good enough to give a desperately poor Bolton plenty of problems. If anything, he was upstaged on the day by the man on the other flank. Albrighton has had to bide his time to get a chance to impress, but he was thrown in at the deep end against Manchester United last week.
"The kid gave us a wholehearted performance and there were signs in the game today that he is getting his mojo back," McLeish said.
Albrighton was a continual nuisance on the right and also scored a vital first goal. A second from Stiliyan Petrov six minutes later, however, ensured that they were on their way to a win on their travels for the first time.
Owen Coyle challenged his Wanderers to show more passion in the second half, but only to a very small extent did he get what he was calling for. Ivan Klasnic's scrambled goal gave them the illusion of being in with a chance. The supporters are restless, though, and some of Coyle's selections are starting to mystify them.His midfield on Saturday was woefully short of grit and was overrun. With teams around them picking up points, the situation is becoming critical.
Scorers: Bolton Klasnic 55. Aston Villa Albrighton 33, Petrov 39.
Substitutes: Bolton Kakuta 6 (Tuncay, 71), Ngog (Klasnic, 79). Aston Villa Heskey (Bent, 81).
Booked: Bolton M Davies.
Aston Villa Agbonlahor, Albrighton.
Man of the match Albrighton. Match rating 6/10.
Possession: Bolton 44% Aston Villa 56%.
Attempts on target: Bolton 13 Aston Villa 11.
Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Latest in Sport
Chelsea injury news: Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic could join Diego Costa on the sidelines for crucial Manchester City clash
Australian Open 2015: Thanks to Amelie Mauresmo, it's no longer Andy Murray against the world
Fantasy Premier League: Invest in Arsenal to climb the ranks in Gameweek 23
Manchester United sign former Manchester City prospect Sadiq El Fitouri on advice from Phil Neville and Paul Scholes
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account