Goals from Henri Camara and Lee McCulloch gave Wigan their fourth win from their last five matches and 13 points from seven. Their target for the season was to avoid relegation. Now they could average less than a point from each of their remaining games and still do it comfortably. Jewell wears the look of a man perpetually waking from a dream.
"Pity about the Arsenal result," someone said as the Wigan manager prepared to deliver his post-match summing-up. It is not a remark any of Jewell's predecessors in the job has had to consider but in fact only a late goal for the Gunners against 10-man Birmingham City keeps Wigan behind Arsenal, and that only on goal difference.
"We are pleased with the start we have made," Jewell said, trying desperately to retain a sense of proportion. "But we will keep our feet firmly on the floor."
Given that the last time these clubs met they were both on the third tier of the League ladder, a win over Bolton might not look especially significant but Sam Allardyce's team would have gone second had they won.
"They are an established Premier League team," Jewell said. "We were never comfortable even with a 2-0 lead. But we knew what to expect, knew we would have to fight and scrap and defend for our lives."
It was certainly true for the final half-hour, by which time the arrival of Stelios Giannakopoulos and El-Hadji Diouf from the bench had measurably raised the threat to Wigan's goal. But Wigan had a potent weapon of their own in Camara, their record £3.1m signing from Wolves, whose pace had given what was to prove a decisive advantage.
He opened the scoring himself three minutes into the second half, linking with the admirable Jimmy Bullard on the right before capitalising on a horrible mistake by Bruno N'Gotty and chipping goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
A quarter of an hour later, Camara provided the pass from which McCulloch beat Jaaskelainen with a superbly struck half-volley.
Radhi Jaidi's header from a Stelios cross put Bolton firmly back in contention only five minutes later but while Allardyce, refusing to blame fatigue for the result, insisted his side made enough chances to force a draw, Wigan, for their part, could have extended their lead, Camara having a goalruled out for offside, Jason Roberts heading wide and Damien Francis hitting an explosive volley that brought the save of the match from Jaaskelainen.
Goals: Camara (48) 1-0; McCulloch (63) 2-0; Jaidi (68) 2-1.
Wigan Athletic (4-4-2): Filan; Chimbonda (Taylor, 22), Henchoz, De Zeeuw, Baines; Bullard, Francis, Kavanagh, McCulloch; Camara (Connolly, 89), Roberts. Substitutes not used: Pollitt (gk), McMillan, Jackson.
Bolton Wanderers (4-1-4-1): Jaaskelainen; Ben Haim, Jaidi, N'Gotty, Pedersen; Speed; Okocha (Stelios, 53), Nolan, Nakata (Borgetti, 84), Gardner (Diouf, 57); Davies. Substitutes not used: Walker (gk), Faye.
Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).
Booked: Bolton N'Gotty, Nakata.
Man of the match: Camara.
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