Bolton Wanderers 4 Charlton Athletic 1: Allardyce outwits rival in race for England job

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But then again, since each of Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs have a foreign manager, if the FA insist on appointing an Englishman then their options are somewhat limited.

On the pitch, Bolton salvaged fresh optimism from a season fading into mediocrity. With fixtures against Spurs (away) and Birmingham (home) ahead, their push for another season of Uefa Cup football may be overshadowed by the travails of their opponents. But, unlike Charlton, they will not allow a season that promised so much to descend to irrelevance.

It was hard to believe this was a Charlton side that occupied the top two in the Premiership in the autumn. While Curbishley can - and did - point out that he was without five first-teamers, each of them six-footers, that was no excuse for the 11 who did start to allow themselves to be dominated from the first whistle. So much so, you might have imagined that only one of these teams had something to play for. Yet a win would have taken Charlton above their opponents.

On the day, tactically and in terms of motivation, Allardyce outmanoeuvred his rival for the England job. Curbishley admitted afterwards that Jay Bothroyd and Jonathan Fortune, introduced at half-time to add height and muscle, should have started the game.

Allardyce's response to his side's recent poor form was to hold a "long, long meeting" with his squad then leave out his two leading scorers in favour of fresher faces. How it worked. Ricardo Vaz Te finally scored his first Premiership goal - also ending a Bolton drought stretching back for five games - while Kevin Davies and Jared Borgetti also struck before half time. Darren Bent, from the penalty spot, pulled one back, only for the hapless Thomas Myhre to present Davies with his second in injury time.

Regardless of the success of his application for the England job, Allardyce will have at least one mountain to climb in the coming months, given that he will spend half of May scaling Mount Everest on a charity trek. Whether Curbishley has the stomach for a task of similar proportions in rebuilding Charlton again in the summer remains to be seen.

Goals: Vaz Te (14) 1-0; Davies (21) 2-0; Borgetti (30) 3-0; Bent pen (77) 3-1; Davies (90) 4-1.

Bolton Wanderers (4-1-4-1): Jaaskelainen; Hunt, Ben Haim, Faye, Gardner; Campo; Davies, Speed (Okocha, 69), Nakata, Vaz Te (Nolan, 81); Borgetti. Substitutes not used: Walker (gk), N'Gotty, Giannakopoulos.

Charlton Athletic (4-5-1): Myhre; Sankofa (Kishishev, 69), Perry, Sorondo, Powell; Rommedahl (Fortune, 46), Euell, Holland, Hughes, Ambrose (Bothroyd, 46); D Bent. Substitutes not used: Andersen (gk), Youga.

Referee: U Rennie (South Yorkshire).

Man of the match: Nakata.

Attendance: 24,713.

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