Klasnic makes most of father's lifesaving donation

Bolton Wanderers 3 Everton 2
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The Independent Football

A first goal for a new club is always a cause for celebration and there was no mistaking Ivan Klasnic's joy after his strike four minutes from time enabled Bolton manager Gary Megson to mark his second anniversary at the Reebok with a victory.

For the 29-year-old Croatian striker however, the moment undoubtedly had deeper significance still as another milestone in one of football's most inspiring comebacks. Less than three years after undergoing a life-saving kidney transplant, it is extraordinary that he is playing at all, let alone scoring goals in the Premier League.

Klasnic owes his life to a kidney donated by his father in March 2007 after an 18-month battle with a rare disorder picked up by chance during an appendix operation. His body had earlier rejected a kidney given him by his mother.

After 11 months out of the game his strength of character earned many tributes, to which Megson, who signed the former Werder Bremen player on loan from Nantes at the end of the August transfer window, added another when he described Klasnic's determination to move on from his illness. "He just gets on with his job," Megson said. "He doesn't want any fuss or to be treated any differently. I understand how people are interested but he talks about it so little I wouldn't even know if he still takes medication.

"As far as I am aware he is the first player to come back from a kidney transplant but he wants to move on and be talked about as a good player." Klasnic's goal, drilled home from 12 yards after Kevin Davies had won an aerial challenge from goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen's free-kick, settled a game which had seemed likely to elude Bolton after Everton had recovered from being 2-0 down in 27 minutes.

David Moyes' team, who welcomed back Louis Saha and gave Lucas Neill his first start but still had 11 on the treatment table, went behind when South Korean winger Lee Chung-Yong scored from Sam Ricketts' cross and conceded again when the impressive Gary Cahill outjumped Sylvain Distin to head home Matt Taylor's free-kick.

Inspired by Saha's superbly struck retort before half-time, however, Everton equalised when Marouane Fellaini, picking up Neill's long pass, muscled past Distin to rifle home from a difficult angle on the right.

Megson sent on Klasnic to make better use of Davies' success in winning high balls. It reaped a dividend that lifts his side to mid-table, although not until Klasnic had picked himself up from a mid-air collision with Neill's forearm that nearly knocked him out.

Bolton Wanderers (4-5-1): Jaaskelainen; Ricketts, G Cahill, Knight, Samuel; Taylor, Cohen, Muamba, Gardner (Klasnic, 64), Lee (Basham, 89); K Davies. Substitutes not used: Al Habsi (gk), Steinsson, M Davies, O'Brien, Robinson.

Everton (4-4-2): Howard; Neill, Heitinga (Coleman, 80), Distin, Hibbert; Gosling, Fellaini, Rodwell, T Cahill; Saha, Jo. Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Duffy, Agard, Baxter, Wallace, Akpan.

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).

Booked: Bolton Davies, G Cahill, Samuel; Everton Fellaini.

Man of the match: Cahill.

Attendance: 21,547.