Nolan hits high note in front of Eriksson

Bolton Wanderers 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Martin Jol's unbeaten run away from White Hart Lane ended amid controversy and misfortune, with Jermain Defoe having a legitimate goal disallowed for offside and both Jermaine Jenas and Mido hitting the frame of Jussi Jaaskelainen's goal as Bolton survived a torrid finale to finish the night leaping over Manchester United into third place in the table.

Allardyce resisted the temptation to claim his side deserved their luck, agreeing with his Dutch counterpart on the error that granted Bolton a sixth successive home victory, though had he used Kevin Nolan's immaculate 32ndminute strike as justification for three points, there would have been no complaint. The Bolton manager has found a reflection of himself in his new captain, an uncompromising and effective character who is also on the periphery of conversation where England is concerned. Nolan has been the only man in Bolton to keep his international credentials in perspective, with the fair analysis that he has little prospect of dislodging the established names from Eriksson's midfield this close to a World Cup, only for four goals in five games to undermine his modesty.

Nolan's latest matchwinning strike was worthy of the description, sailing beyond Eriksson's first-choice goalkeeper Paul Robinson from 25 yards in the 32nd minute after a creative combination between Kevin Davies and El-Hadji Diouf. "He's not allowed to shoot from there because he usually misses but I'm glad he ignored my advice," reflected Allardyce. "And the technique he showed for the shot against the post was equally impressive.

"I'm sure he would have impressed Sven, he was the best player on the pitch without his goal. He showed the understanding and vision you need at the top and there is nothing like a midfield who comes from deep and scores. Chelsea would not be so far ahead without Lampard's goals and we wouldn't be in third without Nolan's goals. Sven can only measure his performance by the Tottenham players he was up against and he must have impressed."

Tottenham needed Nolan's moment of excellence to awake from their initial slumber and display the composure and penetration that had served them so well on their travels. They should have been level 60 seconds later when Defoe converted Teemu Tainio's threaded pass only for the assistant referee to wrongly flag for offside. "The referee should have been helped by his assistant," said Jol. "I could have lived with a draw but not this." Ledley King escaped with what appeared to be a stamp on Stelios Giannakopolis but Bolton's good fortune, save for the elevation of their players into the England ranks, extended no further.

Bolton Wanderers (4-3-2-1) : Jaaskelainen; O'Brien, Ben Haim, Jaidi, Gardner; Nolan, Faye, Speed; Giannakopoulos (Nakata, 59), Diouf (N'Gotty, 83); Davies (Borgetti, 49). Substitutes not used: Okocha, Walker (gk).

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2) : Robinson; Stalteri, Dawson, King, Lee (Keane, 61); Jenas (Brown, 83), Tainio, Carrick, Davids; Mido, Defoe. Substitutes not used: Kelly, Keane, Cerny (gk), Reid.

Referee: H Webb (S Yorkshire).