Cohen's volley ensures Villa carry on subsiding - Premier League - Football - The Independent

Cohen's volley ensures Villa carry on subsiding

Bolton Wanderers 1 Aston Villa 1

Although they finished together, this was a game of teams moving at different speeds. Bolton Wanderers are edging slowly towards Premier League survival; Aston Villa are racing towards an anti-climax.

Two months ago Villa appeared to have a Champions' League spot for the taking but they have gone 12 matches without a win in all competitions and fourth place in the Premier League looks about as likely as a Christmas present for Rafael Benitez from Sir Alex Ferguson.

This was only Villa's fourth league point from their last 27 and given the way they struggled in this match the end of the season cannot come quickly enough – even their goal, an intended cross from Ashley Young that sneaked in, was a fluke. Bolton, who equalised through Tamir Cohen, were no better but at least the result moved them fractionally further away from the bottom three.

Martin O'Neill, the Villa manager, conceded that fourth place is now unlikely. "We needed to win today to have any chance," he said. "I thought we were in control in the second half and were enjoying our best spell of sustained possession when they scored. It can always happen." Gary Megson, his Bolton counterpart, was satisfied with the result if not the performance. "I some ways it epitomised us," he said. "Not a lot of quality but hearts as big as buckets."

Villa's lack of confidence was embodied by Young in the opening minutes, two crosses going hopelessly awry. Not that Young was unique and the game was 20 minutes old before the first hint of a chance arrived, when John Carew passed to James Milner who cut inside from the right only for his shot to be blocked by Andy O'Brien.

Bolton replied with a move of their own that should have brought a goal after 32 minutes. A lovely curving pass from Kevin Davies was matched by cross from Matt Taylor but Fabrice Muamba swung with his left foot from five yards and failed to make contact. This seemed likely to be the defining moment of a poor first half but a minute before the interval Villa took the lead. Emile Heskey passed to Young whose cross was aimed at Carew's run. The ball was too high but the curl surprised Jussi Jaaskelainen and with the Bolton goalkeeper stuck on his line the ball hit the upright and bounced in.

The goal had two effects. The first was to invigorate Young, who began to resemble the outstanding winger of the autumn, and the second was to drag some lucidity from the hitherto incoherent Bolton. That was apparent immediately from the restart when Taylor crossed, Johan Elmander cushioned the ball with his head and Davies hit a volley wide.

It promised a more vigorous performance from the home side and that was realised on the hour. Bolton have lived off their set-pieces throughout their current spell in the top division and their goal came from the usual source. Taylor pumped a free-kick from the halfway line, Davies headed on and O'Brien's determination propelled the ball towards the penalty spot where Cohen hit a half volley past Brad Friedel.

Villa, attempting to gain their first success since 7 February, finished on the offensive but the closest they came to ending their depressing run came when Carew's header was tipped over the bar by Jaaskelainen with five minutes to go. In truth was very half-hearted. The best news for Villa yesterday was not at the Reebok but at Goodison Park.

Attendance: 21,709

Referee: Lee Probert

Man of the match: O'Brien

Match rating: 4/10

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week