Bolton Wanderers 0 West Bromwich Albion 0: Mowbray puts brave face on Baggies' goal drought in top flight

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The Independent Online

After the first scoreless draw of the 2008-09 Premier League, it was not hard to ask: how are these teams going to get enough goals this season?

Both managers were in Corporal Jones "don't panic" mode afterwards, but when the transfer window closes tonight Tony Mowbray and Gary Megson will be scrutinising their squads anxiously hoping someone will reach double figures this season. In Mowbray's case the search could be particularly urgent.

On one hand West Bromwich Albion gained their first point of the season, but on the other a problem intensified into one that is likely to shape their season. Mowbray's team play delightful football, but in this match there was no substance to top the style.

Still, Mowbray was counting the positives. "We're three games in and there are other teams that have only scored one goal," he said. "Manchester United scraped a 1-0 win the other day, so did Chelsea. We've played two very tough away games and conceded one goal against Arsenal and Bolton, and it ain't bad. I have no fears, goals shouldn't be a problem."

Last season the Baggies were easily the top scorers in the Championship but a quarter of their goals came from Kevin Phillips, with 22 from 35 starts. He is now at Birmingham City.

Phillips would surely have done better than Ishmael Miller, who shot over when put clear through, and he could hardly have done much worse when the 21-year-old managed to find Jussi Jaaskelainen's leg with a header from five yards after Kim Do Heon hit the bar.

For Bolton, scoring is almost a perennial problem, as Megson acknowledged. In this game they were particularly one-dimensional, going for the long ball even though Ricardo Gardner and Riga suggested more promising avenues on the flanks. Kevin Davies twice had "goals" ruled offside in the closing minutes but both decisions were correct.

"Kevin Nolan will score goals, and so will Kevin Davies," Megson said. They will, and in sufficient numbers to keep Bolton up. Whether the Baggies can do is the same is more debateable.

Bolton Wanderers (4-1-4-1): Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, Shittu, A O'Brien, Samuel; McCann; J O'Brien (Riga, 15), Muamba, Nolan, Gardner; Davies. Substitutes not used: Al Habsi (gk), Hunt, Fojut, Helguson, Dzemaili, Vaz Te.

West Bromwich Albion (4-5-1): Carson; Zuiverloon, Barnett, Meite (Hoefkens, h-t), Robinson; Koren (MacDonald, 71), Valero (Cech, 58), Greening, Morrison, Kim; Miller. Substitutes not used: Kiely (gk), Bednar, Brunt, Moore.

Referee: K Stroud (Hampshire).

Booked: Bolton McCann, Nolan; West Bromwich Robinson, MacDonald.

Man of the match: Morrison.

Attendance: 20,387.

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