Coyle feels sore about points that got away

Bolton Wanderers 0 Fulham 0
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The Independent Football

Owen Coyle was correct in his assessment that any point is a good one, given Bolton's current predicament, but thanks to the woeful finishing of his forward Johan Elmander and the refereeing of Mark Clattenburg, this was undoubtedly a case of two points dropped for his struggling team.

Elmander, a £10 million signing by the former manager Gary Megson and subsequently one of the main reasons behind his ultimate demise at the Reebok, was played clean through, unopposed, by Kevin Davies three minutes from time but managed merely to steer a shot beyond the far post.

Two minutes later, Davies himself rose impressively to meet a free-kick from Lee Chung-Yong, heading powerfully into the goal, only for the effort to be ruled out by Clattenburg for a push on Brede Hangeland.

"Everybody in the stadium knew it was a good goal; the Fulham players knew it was a good goal, but there was one man who felt it wasn't," said Coyle. "That leaves a bad taste in the mouth because it was clearly a terrific goal: a great ball in, the player's jumped well and he's won a clean header.

"I asked the referee his view and he said he saw Kevin Davies clearly pushing with two hands. I'd better leave it there or I'll get into a bit of bother.

"I knew at the time there was no contact. I've since seen the rerun and there is no contact that I've seen. The cross comes into the six- yard line and Kevin jumped up and planted a great header into the corner."

After just one victory in his first five games in charge at Bolton, Coyle's frustration was understandable, although consolation came in the form of a dominant second-half display and the fact that, having failed to keep a clean sheet all season, his side have now done so twice in the last three games,

Indeed, save for a late free-kick by Nicky Shorey which was deflected over the bar, it was hard to recall a Fulham effort of note.

"Bolton put us to the test today, they had by far the better of the goal chances but we've been resilient," said Fulham's manager, Roy Hodgson, while confirming his belief that Clattenburg had made the right decision over the Davies effort. "We've had an awful lot of bad luck recently, decisions and deflections, so if that was lucky, we have worked up to that."

In contrast to the visitors, Bolton also created two good first-half chances for Mark Davies, both saved by Mark Schwarzer, the latter one being turned on to the bar. After the interval, it was not until the 70th-minute introduction of the on-loan winger Vladimir Weiss that Bolton's fortunes improved significantly, with Schwarzer being required to make one impressive stop in particular at the feet of Lee.

Attendance: 22,289

Referee: M Clattenburg

Man of the match: Knight

Match rating: 3/10