Elmander's footwork puts spring into Bolton's step

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Bolton 3
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The Independent Online

Johan Elmander displayed the kind of nifty footwork that would not be out of place on Strictly Come Dancing to epitomise the change in style Owen Coyle has inspired at Bolton and which is inspiring thoughts of another European adventure at the Reebok Stadium.

Of course, there are still traces of the more uncompromising approach generated by Sam Allardyce, which bulldozed through the Uefa barriers several years ago, but even Kevin Davies' subtleties have been recognised at international level, albeit briefly to judge by Fabio Capello's squad for Wednesday's friendly against France.

There is far more of an artistic swagger under Coyle, despite crippling £94m debts which appear most likely to block Bolton's passage into the Europa League if the financial frailties necessitate the sales of Elmander and Gary Cahill in the January transfer window.

Within less than a year, Bolton have gone from being bottom of the Premier League to fifth. "Bolton is a good place to be right now. We're in the top six and playing total football," said Stuart Holden. Midfielder Holden's first goal for the club was the product of a passing move which pleased the eye and the American international also had a minor role with the pass for the goal Elmander conjured from less space than afforded by a phone box.

The Swede's genius was in contrast to the own goal by Richard Stearman after 46 seconds which left Mick McCarthy cursing and still without a clean sheet. Kevin Foley and Steven Fletcher struck two goals in 10 minutes to give Coyle a "few more grey hairs," but Wolves need to face the reality of the relegation threat they are staring at.

Match facts

Man of the match Elmander. Match rating 8/10. Possession Wolves 58%, Bolton 42%.

Shots on target Wolves 5, Bolton 5.

Referee P Walton (Northants). Att 27,508.

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