Allardyce relief at halting slump

Bolton Wanderers 1 - West Bromwich Albion 1
Click to follow
The Independent Online

After the relief of ending a six-match losing streak with El Hadji Diouf's goal five minutes from time, the Bolton manager Sam Allardyce admitted he had not felt so much pressure since his side teetered on the brink of relegation two seasons ago. Bolton's nightmare run has seen them fall from fourth in mid-November to 14th, plunging them into another battle for survival.

After the relief of ending a six-match losing streak with El Hadji Diouf's goal five minutes from time, the Bolton manager Sam Allardyce admitted he had not felt so much pressure since his side teetered on the brink of relegation two seasons ago. Bolton's nightmare run has seen them fall from fourth in mid-November to 14th, plunging them into another battle for survival.

"It felt like it did when we met Middlesbrough here in the last game the season before last, when we had to win to stay in the division," Allardyce said. "This time it was about stopping the rot after six defeats and having lost the last three home games 1-0 you can imagine how I felt when we went a goal down again.

"The players got so wound up they were running around all over the place and it seemed nothing they did was going to get the ball in the net.

"I had to calm them down at half-time and tell them to be more patient with their passing. Thankfully it paid off in the end with a very well-worked goal and although we felt we had a blatant penalty turned down that could have won us the game I can tell you it is a huge relief to get a draw."

Allardyce's relief equalled disappointment for Bryan Robson, who had seen his side defend Zoltan Gera's 13th-minute strike for 72 minutes before "one lapse of concentration" allowed Diouf to pounce after the excellent Ivan Campo had released Nicky Hunt to create the opening. If the Bolton manager is feeling stressed with 24 points, consider Robson's position with 12 points and no win yet from nine games in charge.

Two draws in a row, however, has been enough to give him hope, although he made it clear that the bottom-of-the-table side must now deliver results.

"The lads can be encouraged by being unbeaten in two games but we have to build on that, especially over the next month," Robson said. "We have been playing a lot of top sides but we will not be able to use that as an excuse now because the games coming up are against teams in the middle and bottom half."

Albion face Newcastle at The Hawthorns tonight followed by Fulham and Norwich away, Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Southampton at home. Bolton go to Birmingham tomorrow but face Arsenal in their next home game with a hamstring injury to striker Kevin Davies adding to Allardyce's worry lines.

Goals: Gera (13) 0-1; Diouf (85) 1-1.

Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Poole; Hunt, Jaidi, N'Gotty, Gardner; Okocha, Campo, Speed, Nolan; Davies (Vaz Te, 57), Diouf. Substitutes not used: Oakes (gk), Pedersen, Hierro, Ben Haim.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Hoult; Scimeca, Purse, Clement, Robinson; Gera, Johnson, Wallwork, Greening (Albrechtsen, 82); Kanu (Earnshaw, 66), Horsfield (Hulse, 80). Substitutes not used: Kuszczak (gk), Koumas.

Referee: M Dean (Merseyside).

Booked: West Bromwich Albion Kanu.

Man of the match: Campo.

Attendance: 25,205.

Comments