By Steve Sutcliffe | In Match Reports - Away Games
Manchester City fell to their second successive away defeat as Bolton grabbed all three points with two late goals.
City had the best of the early exchanges with both Stephen Ireland and Ched Evans testing home keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen during a largely uneventful first half.
But Bolton improved in the second period and took the lead when Ricardo Gardner turned in Gretar Steinsson’s cross. With City unable to force a way through a stubborn home defence Wanderers made sure of victory when Richard Dunne turned Gardner’s low cross into his own net at the far post.
The win was Bolton’s first at home since the opening day of the season and a timely one for Wanderers boss Gary Megson who has been coming under increasing pressure at the Reebok in recent weeks.
For City manager Mark Hughes it’s back to the drawing board away from Eastlands, with his formation match that of his counterpart, City’s creative influences became emroiled in a congested midfield battle which stifled their attempts to seize control.
With chances at a minimum Robinho saw a shot whistle over the bar before Jaaskelainen was forced into action twice in quick succession just before the interval. First the Bolton custodian came out to block Ireland’s shot and seconds later he repeated the trick when Shaun Wright-Phillips played in Evans.
Robinho then worked his magic to turn Steinsson inside the area but an instinctive Jaaskelainen save matched his effort. And with the Finnish keeper proving to be unbeatable Bolton took inspiration.
City Keeper Joe Hart, a spectator for much of the afternoon was called in to action to keep out a Kevin Nolan effort after some good work by Gary Cahill and suddenly Bolton had the ascendency no doubt buoyed by the earlier work of Jaaskelainen.
And in the 77th minute they were able to take full advantage of a Robinho error to open the scoring. The Brazilian dropping deep looking for the ball to set off another city attack lost possession as he tried to out manoeuvre the Bolton defence and the home side broke quickly.
With City still disorganised, Steinsson’s low cross was reached by Gardner who managed to deflect the ball beyond Hart via the crossbar.
City tried in vain to find a way through a packed home defence but with the Blues now committing more and more men forward it was Wanderers who took advantage when Gardner fired in a cross from the left and the unfortunate Dunne, turned home in a desperate attempt to stop the ball reaching Kevin Davies.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O’Brien, Samuel, Riga (Gardner 43), McCann, Nolan, Muamba, Taylor, Davies.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Smolarek, Helguson, Shittu, Basham.
Goals: Gardner 77, Dunne 88 og.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Dunne, Ben-Haim, Richards, Wright-Phillips, Kompany, Ireland, Elano (Hamann 69), Evans (Sturridge 69), Robinho.
Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Onuoha, Garrido, Fernandes, Caicedo.
Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).