Milijas swerve puts skids under stoic Megson

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Bolton Wanderers 1
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The Independent Online

Gary Megson suffered a double indignity at Molineux, where both sets of supporters called for his dismissal as Wolves inflicted a fifth defeat in six games on his Bolton side.

Chants of "Megson out" rose from the visitors' enclosure after a spectacular goal by Nenad Milijas, added to a contentious one by Jody Craddock, put Wolves in command. The home fans, revelling in the discomfort of a former West Bromwich manager, gloated "You're getting sacked in the morning" and the Bolton contingent joined in. Johan Elmander's riposte put the crowd's attention back on the match but Wolves, who began the game in bottom place after Portsmouth's lunchtime victory, held out for a first win in nine games, climbing above Bolton and Pompey.

Megson claimed later that he felt "immune" to the criticism, having heard it "since day one". Pressure was "being a soldier in Afghanistan" or "one of the three million unemployed". The Bolton manager, who was more concerned that Craddock was so clearly offside when he scored, added: "I'm not fearful for my job. We're not a million miles from mid-table."

His counterpart Mick McCarthy, whose position might also have come under scrutiny had Wolves' winless run been extended to nine matches, said: "Despite getting embroiled in a bit of a scrap near the end, we deserved to win. It was a fabulous response to getting beaten by Birmingham "

Even on a dark, dank day in the West Midlands, the contest had a strong World Cup flavour. Milijas, McCarthy's £2.6m summer signing from Red Star Belgrade, will captain Serbia in Germany's group next summer and demonstrated both a set-piece prowess and shooting power. Marcus Hahnemann, likely to be one of the three keepers from whom the United States will choose against England, was at his agile and adhesive best.

Bolton's hopes of a first clean sheet this season lasted just 122 seconds. Milijas curled in a left-footed free-kick from the right which Christophe Berra flicked on for Craddock to score at close range from what McCarthy admitted was an offside position.

Wolves doubled the lead on 63 minutes after Kevin Doyle hustled for possession. The ball broke to Milijas, who drove forward before unleashing a 30-yard shot which swerved away from Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the net.

Elmander, on as a substitute, gave Bolton hope after non-existent marking on Matt Taylor's corner allowed Ivan Klasnic to head the ball into the danger area, but there was to be no respite for Megson.

Attendance: 27,362

Referee: Chris Foy

Man of the match: Milijas

Match rating: 7/10

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