Bolton Wanderers 1 Aston Villa 1: Defiant Villa find the key to Fortress Reebok with Moore spirit

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The Independent Online

If this was not quite the Wanderers of Fortress Reebok fame, it was certainly not the Villa who looked to be sending David O'Leary down into the moat when they succumbed meekly at Doncaster less than two weeks ago.

With two difficult away games in the Premiership to follow that result, Villa have come away from Newcastle and Bolton with two creditable draws.

True, Wanderers had most of the play on Saturday and would have been in the lead, through Kevin Davies or Gary Speed, but for the agility of Thomas Sorensen. But Villa hung in determinedly and, even after El Hadji Diouf had put Bolton ahead, the visitors found one last defiant gesture for a late, late equaliser to deny them a ninth home victory in a row.

After their impressive win over Arsenal last week, Sam Allardyce fielded an unchanged team, only to find that he had to make changes before the end.

One such change saw the arrival of the Portuguese teenager, Ricardo Vaz Te, who set up Diouf's goal and almost beat Sorensen for an injury-time winner.

The manager who really got lucky with his substitutions, however, was O'Leary, with Luke Moore battling to get the ball across for Juan Pablo Angel to score his first goal in 12 appearances.

O'Leary was keen to stress Moore's part in the late escape. "I put him on to nag and drive the central defenders mad and that's exactly what he did," he said.

Allardyce felt his defenders should have coped better, but it is hard to be critical of players who were conceding their first home goal in the Premiership for over 11 hours. That sort of statistic marks this as a solid achievement by Villa.

Goals: Diouf (81) 1-0; Angel (87) 1-1.

Bolton Wanderers (4-1-2-2-1): Jaaskelainen; O'Brien, Ben Haim, N'Gotty, Gardner; Faye; Nolan, Speed; Diouf, Giannakopoulos (Vaz Te, 79); Davies (Okocha, 66). Substitutes not used: Walker (gk), Jaidi, Nakata.

Aston Villa (4-5-1): Sorensen; Hughes, Mellberg, Ridgewell, Bouma; Milner (Davis, 86), Bakke, Hendrie (Angel, 84), McCann, Barry; Baros (Moore, 76). Substitutes not used: Taylor (gk), Samuel.

Referee: P Dowd (Stoke).

Booked: Bolton Diouf, Ben Haim; Aston Villa Baros, Milner, Bakke.

Man of the match: Sorensen.

Attendance: 23,646.

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