Everything was about Kevin Davies; the goals (two scored, an assist on Sunderland's second), a missed possible match-winning third, the transfer to Sunderland that didn't happen, the absence, the return. It was all him. Bolton's man of war.
His match, hence his words. "It's been a difficult time for me since Christmas," he said. "It's been frustrating for me, fighting to get back into the side and fighting to keep us in the league, but I'm enjoying the challenge and looking forward to the next couple of games."
Martin O'Neill may wish he had tried harder to sign Davies in January. Afterwards he called him an "old-fashioned centre-forward" and it is refreshing there is still an important place for such a figure.
Davies had clearly been unhappy at his lack of starts, although Owen Coyle insisted he was resting the player to clear up injuries. His return has been a major part of Bolton's push for safety (14 points out of a possible 24).
"Regardless of who we played, it makes no difference to me," added Davies. "Everyone knows the way I feel about Bolton Wanderers. There were conversations that went on in January, but it was all a bit last-minute. I've been at Bolton for nearly nine years and hopefully I can stay for one or two more years yet. The mood is good. You know what the manager's like, his enthusiasm is infectious."
Davies scored early, Nicklas Bendtner and then James McClean replied before, Davies struck again.
"He is not afraid to get hurt, he is a nuisance but he is more than that ," said O'Neill. "I think he is an example to aspiring centre-forwards, people like Connor Wickham could learn a great deal from him."
Booked Sunderland - Cattermole
Man of the match K Davies
Possession Sunderland 44% Bolton 56%
Attempts on target Sunderland 6 Bolton 9
Referee L Probert (Wiltshire)
Attendance 40,768Reuse content