Taylor works hard to win over Bolton doubters
Bolton Wanderers 2 Portsmouth 1
Monday 22 December 2008
Gary Megson's call for Matthew Taylor to be considered for England forms an odd contrast with some Wanderers fans' doubts over whether he is good enough to play for Bolton.
The former Portsmouth left-back has been slow to win over the Reebok crowd, but performances like this will surely convince them, if not Fabio Capello.
Playing in an unfamiliar role wide on the right, Taylor scored one goal, made another and gave his old club little peace all afternoon.
Megson said that Taylor always tops the stats for work rate and suggested that England could do a lot worse, either in his traditional territory on the left or in the international problem position on the opposite side.
Bolton's other big success in a display of exhilarating football and – after two early goals – indecisive finishing was Ricardo Gardner. He scored the other goal, could have had a couple more and ran at a lethargic Pompey defence in a way that frequently terrorised them.
When he was replaced near the end by Fabrice Muamba, it was to a howl of protest from the crowd.
"That wasn't very nice for Fabrice, but it was probably aimed at me," said a philosophical Megson, who still has the knack of putting the supporters' backs up.
Megson's counterpart, Tony Adams, had little good to say about his team's display, apart from a nod in the direction of Peter Crouch, who at least led the line as though he wanted to be involved and scored the goal that kept Pompey in with a chance of an undeserved point. "I lost my voice in the process of driving the lads on after the shambles of the start," Adams said. "The boys were not up for the fight and that was disappointing."
Goals: Taylor (1) 1-0; Gardner (3) 2-0; Crouch (20) 2-1.
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, Cahill, A O'Brien, Samuel; Taylor, Nolan, McCann, Gardner (Muamba, 83); Davies, Elmander. Substitutes not used: Al Habsi (gk), Shittu, Basham, Obadeyi, Riga, Smolarek.
Portsmouth (4-4-2): James; Pamarot, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson; Davis, Diop (Nugent, 75), Hughes (Diarra, 63), Kranjcar; Crouch, Defoe. Substitutes not used: Ashdown (gk), Traoré, Little, Kanu, Wilson.
Referee: M Atkinson (West Yorkshire).
Booked: Bolton Steinsson.
Man of the match: Taylor.
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