Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bolton 1 Fulham 3

What a difference 90 minutes can make. Things were looking particularly grim after Wednesday night. I was staying positive but the apparent loss of Aaron Hughes and an imposing set of fixtures did weigh heavily on my mind. A week ago we were a game away from a Wembley semi-final and on the fringe of European qualification now we were out of the cup and looking nervously at the teams below us.

Last year me and my mate Gibbo had talked about going to this game. We fancied an away trip and thought this looked as good a chance of seeing a win as we were likely to find. We realised we weren't going to be able to make it (work commitments and important birthday parties being our main obstacles) a while ago and on our journey home after the Blackburn loss it seemed pretty unlikely we'd be missing anything special. We did joke that it would be typical that we'd end up missing a goal fest and an away win - but didn't really believe it.

I sat in a Merit Tyre shop just before kick-off and watched Sky Sports News with Jeff Stelling cracking jokes about our away form. They showed a montage of all our goals away from home this season - Seol at the KC Stadium, Clint Dempsey at Portsmouth and Konchesky's January goal of the month - it didn't last very long. Stelling informed us that the previous lowest ever total for away goals was six - suggesting we had no hope of passing even that measly total. I spent a lot of the afternoon avoiding the football. A sneaky peak just before half-time showed us 1-0 up and (according to TiFF) well in control. Andy Johnson had shown some real striker's instinct to chase down Andy O'Brien and take advantage of his dreadful back pass to poke home from six yards. As I was trying to take this all in though Bolton equalised. Kevin Davies being a handful on the edge of our box and steamrolling through our defence to level the score just before the break.

I left it a good 10 minutes after full time before I dared check the score again. I could scarcely believe my eyes when I saw the result. Simon Davies had restored the lead firing home a rebound after Danny Murphy had hit the crossbar from a tight angle. Diomansey Kamara confirmed the points collecting a neat pass from Dempsey before sending in an acute daisy cutter.

We've put some ghosts to rest here. Put an end to a run of defeats, picked up that first away win and scored enough goals to make sure we won't be holders of an unwanted Premier League record. We're three points away from that important 40 point marker and I'm feeling very happy indeed.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel (Riga 74), Taylor, McCann, Mark Davies (Muamba 68), Gardner, Kevin Davies, Elmander.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Puygrenier, Makukula, Shittu.
Goals: Kevin Davies 45.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Etuhu, Murphy, Dempsey, Johnson (Nevland 90), Zamora (Kamara 84).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Gera, Dacourt, Stoor, Smalling.
Goals: Johnson 42, Davies 56, Kamara 88.

Att: 22,117.

Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

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