West Ham 1 Bolton 3: Error-strewn Green hands Bolton an easy victory

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The Independent Online

No one pays more dearly for errors than a goalkeeper but Robert Green must have wished fate had chosen a different moment to make it his turn to wish there was somewhere to hide. Just as Fabio Capello was inking in the names in his latest England squad, West Ham's No 1 was exposing himself to the full glare of live television, making not one blunder but two.

Indeed, a case could be made for pinning the blame on him for all three Bolton goals as Gianfranco Zola's third Premier League match in charge at Upton Park saw his 100 per cent record abruptly ended.

It will not have helped his popularity in the dressing room that up until the moment of his first mistake – the real howler of the afternoon – there was only one team playing with serious attacking intent. And it was not Bolton.

But then Green inexplicably dropped a routine catch from Jlloyd Samuel's unthreatening 30th-minute cross right at the feet of Kevin Davies, handing the Bolton forward an invitation to hook the ball into an empty net that he did not pass up.

Of course, one horror moment is always excusable. But two? And, yes, Green was careless, by the standards of international goalkeepers, in the manner of Bolton's second goal, four minutes later, when he made a fine block from Gretar Steinsson's snap shot but pushed the ball forwards instead of sideways, allowing Gary Cahill, adding a goal to an assured performance at the back, to flick it over him into the net.

"It was hard to take because we were completely in control," Zola said. "But these things happen. It doesn't change Robert's value. He is a great goalkeeper and the players have complete trust in him. Next time I wouldn't be surprised if he saves two penalties."

What it did change was Bolton's interest in getting out of their own half. Negligible at first – manager Gary Megson admitted that a clean sheet was their priority – it was now almost non-existent. West Ham pulled one goal back when Carlton Cole directed a header past Jussi Jaaskelainen but there were precious few openings for the home side.

Five minutes from time, with West Ham players milling about near the edge of the box and Green neglecting to organise a wall, substitute Matthew Taylor added the final scene to the nightmare by sending a left-foot free kick from wide on the right scorching into the far corner, securing Wanderers their second win of the campaign.

Goals: Davies (29) 0-1; Cahill (33) 0-2; Cole (68) 1-2; Taylor (85) 1-3.

West Ham United (4-4-1-1): Green; Faubert, Neill, Upson, Ilunga; Behrami, Parker, Noble, Etherington (Sears, 78); Di Michele (Bellamy, 53); Cole. Substitutes not used: Lastuvka (gk), Lopez, Boa Morte, Mullins, Davenport.

Bolton Wanderers (4-5-1): Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, Cahill, A O'Brien, Samuel; Davies, Nolan, McCann, Muamba (J O'Brien, 79), Gardner; Elmander (Taylor, 73). Substitutes not used: Al-Habsi (gk), Hunt, Smolarek, Riga, Shittu.

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

Booked: West Ham Noble, Faubert, Bellamy; Bolton Nolan, Taylor, A O'Brien.

Man of the match: Cahill.

Attendance: 33,715.

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