Knight earns his spurs with Bolton rescue

Bolton Wanderers 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
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The Independent Online

The taxman appears to have effectively taken care of one of the three Premier League relegation places this week, courtesy of the events to have befallen Portsmouth, but a goal from an unlikely source at the Reebok Stadium may yet have a huge say on at least one of the others.

Zat Knight, a defender without goal to his name this season and with just five from his previous 221 League appearances, ended Bolton's 550-minute wait for a League goal on the stroke of half-time to secure a victory that looks, potentially, to be as big as any as the new manager Owen Coyle will record this season.

The identity of the scorer may have been surprising but there was nothing to raise an eyebrow about the finish, a neat placement into the bottom corner, or the approach work from Lee Chung-Yong who chased a lost cause to keep the ball in play then worked his way past Adlène Guedioura on the by-line before producing the telling cross.

"Zat was maybe the last one you would have selected to score the goal," said Coyle. "But it was a good finish and great play from Lee. We knew this was going to be the proverbial six-pointer so it was terrific to win but I thought the performance was of a high standard. We need the points but we need that level of performance, that level of belief in ourselves, the rest of the way. There were moments in the second half when we rode our luck but we should have put the game to bed by that time."

Bolton edged the first half on chances, Marcus Hahnemann twice saving well from Johan Elmander and the Swede also saw a shot blocked by Jody Craddock with the goal at his mercy. However, after the interval Wolverhampton dominated while displaying why their goal-scoring problems are every bit as acute as Bolton's.

David Jones's 20-yard free-kick struck the right-hand post and rolled to safety along the goalline, Matt Jarvis's committed run ended with Sam Ricketts blocking his six-yard shot – with the Wolves man possibly being fouled in the process – and Kevin Foley's half-volley struck the left-hand upright with the ball, again, rolling agonisingly along the line.

"I'm not bemoaning my luck because if I wasn't lucky I wouldn't have been in the Premier League this time last year," said Wolves manager Mick McCarthy. "But the goal we conceded wasn't bad luck, that was bad defending. If we had stopped that and ended up at 0-0 then I might have been able to say we were unlucky not to have scored, but I can't."

Attendance: 21,261

Referee: Andre Marriner

Man of the match: Lee

Match rating: 6/10

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