Present from Samuel helps United keep noses in front

Bolton Wanderers 0 Manchester United 4

Having beaten Manchester United in August with his Burnley team, which with every passing week looks the most unlikely result of the campaign, Bolton's manager Owen Coyle was unable to conjure up a repeat or anything like it. The champions, on a ground where they usually win but had to wait until the 90th minute to do so a year ago, benefited from the 11th own goal that opponents have generously contributed this season, and then ran in three in 13 second-half minutes to stay one point ahead at the top. "Put the gauntlet down and United will always accept it," Sir Alex Ferguson said of Chelsea's seven-goal flourish.

He was even able to hold back Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand for Tuesday's Champions' League tie against Bayern Munich, who had Arjen Robben injured in a 2-1 home defeat by Stuttgart yesterday. Dimitar Berbatov, the scorer of that late winning goal last season, took Rooney's role and claimed two more, each almost as easy as he makes everything look. Darron Gibson had been on for only a couple of minutes as a substitute before scoring the fourth, by which time Bolton were beginning

to worry about goal difference themselves. As it is, they are grateful for the 32 points already banked and one more victory should see them safe.

Coyle may have attempted to bring a little more craft to their play, and Jack Wilshere's promptings offer a welcome option to the long ball forward for Kevin Davies, but as Ferguson said: "I got a sore head just watching. When you come here you have to put your head on everything." Nemanja Vidic did that superbly to subdue Davies, although Coyle was upset by one "terrible" challenge on Johan Elmander, who needed five stitches to the back of his head.

For all Coyle's positive spin, Edwin van der Sar was required to make only two saves, even if the second of them was an outstanding one. That came just after a ridiculous own goal belatedly brought the game to life. Ryan Giggs' cross eluded the one or two red shirts keeping up with the attack, but Jlloyd Samuel, presumably attempting to play the ball for a corner, passed it precisely inside Jussi Jaaskelainen's right-hand post.

Wilshere's clever pass sent in Elmander for a shot that Van der Sar pushed away and the goalkeeper then made a fine save towards the top corner of his net after another Wilshere pass, to Fabrice Muamba. The half ended bizarrely with Bolton allowed to take a corner when Van der Sar was out of his goal and Ferguson made his feelings known as the officials left the field. He was able to relax with 21 minutes to play once United had seen off a Bolton rally.

Giggs slipped a pass square to Fletcher, who had been more adventurous throughout than his position as the second defensive midfielder implied. The Scot hit a left-footed drive which Jaaskelainen could only push into a danger area inhabited by Berbatov, who gratefully knocked in the rebound.

The points were probably secure at that stage. Nine minutes later there was no further debate after Nani jinked in from the flank and crossed low for Berbatov to flick in with the outside of his foot. Four minutes after that Nani repeated the trick and this time Gibson was on the end of it to profit.

The only disappointment United provided was for the many thousands staying up late in Korea who had hoped to see Park Ji-Sung going head to head with compatriot Lee Chung-Yong. The latter was lively in Bolton's midfield but Park remained on the bench.

Attendance: 25,370

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Man of the match: Fletcher

Match rating: 6/10

Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
premier league
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam