Bolton Wanderers 2 Manchester City 0: Campo has Bolton fizzing once more
Monday 23 January 2006
The Bolton manager promised them the first dozen bottles at their belated Christmas party - possibly the first two dozen. If his side's performance had not quite been premier cru, it was certainly of a far better vintage than that which has seen them stand accused of being downright unpalatable of late.
There were two obvious reasons for the return of the missing sparkle and fluency. For one thing, the pitch, so ruined by playing on it when it was virtually underwater against Zenit St Petersburg in the Uefa Cup in November, has been replaced by a new one, which ran smooth and true under the late winter sun.
For another, Bolton had back in their side the one player certain to insist that they used it in the way that nature intended.
There is a theory, to which not all Bolton supporters subscribe, that Ivan Campo should always be in the starting line-up, because he forces those around him to play football.
Campo was making only his third Premiership start of the season and he made that sort of difference as he sprayed long passes out to the wings and shorter ones to the central midfielders ahead of him."Once he blew the cobwebs away, he started to find the space for his probing and his long passing was outstanding," Allardyce said.
One of those to benefit from Campo's approach was Kevin Davies. He was asked, in the absence of El Hadji Diouf at the African Nations' Cup, to play wide on the right and he gave City's young left-back, Stephen Jordan, a gruelling afternoon, including turning and sweeping past him to set up Bolton's first goal.
His redeployment created the opportunity for Jared Borgetti to play as the main striker and to take the chance that Davies provided for the Mexican's first Premiership goal.
Bolton's second came from Kevin Nolan, who gave a typically vigorous midfield performance and could have had a hat-trick.
If Bolton's absentees in Egypt - Diouf is one of four missing - remain a recurring theme for Allardyce, then Stuart Pearce, another touted for the England job if Sven Goran Eriksson succeeds in self-destructing, has his own "Riddle of the Sands" to solve.
How can a team that played with such vigour and panache against Manchester United the previous week lapse into such limp anonymity at the Reebok?
They failed to direct a single effort on target over the 90 minutes, giving Bolton their 12th clean sheet of the season and further cause for satisfaction on a very gratifying afternoon for Allardyce.
Goals: Borgetti (37) 1-0; Nolan (41) 2-0.
Bolton Wanderers (4-3-3): Jaaskelainen; O'Brien, Ben Haim, N'Gotty, Gardner; Nolan, Campo, Fadiga (Vaz Te, 22, Hunt, 89); Davies, Borgetti (Jansen, 79), Stelios. Substitutes not used: Walker (gk), Fojut.
Manchester City (4-4-2): James; Jihai, Dunne, Distin, Jordan; Sinclair, Barton, Ireland, Riera (Sibierski, 67); Vassell (Croft, 76), Cole (Fowler, 67). Substitutes not used: Musampa, Onouha.
Referee: R Styles (Hampshire).
Booked: Bolton Davies, Ben Haim; Manchester City Jihai, Sinclair.
Man of the match: Campo.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Manchester City: With Arsene Wenger missing a number of key players, who could start the Community Shield clash?
Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
Chelsea transfer news: Didier Drogba returns to Stamford Bridge on one-year deal
Liverpool transfer news: Reds 'in talks' to sign Benfica winger Nicolas Gaitan as summer spending threatens to exceed £100m
Manchester United: Five things we've learned so far about Louis van Gaal, including his ability to accommodate Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney
- 1 Crash victims in car flattened by shipping container emerge with just minor injuries
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
- 5 Joey Barton and Yossi Benayoun become involved in Twitter row over Israel-Gaza conflict
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains