Bolton beat Sunderland, Villa held by Fulham
Bolton rallied to beat Sunderland 4-1 on Saturday and heap more pressure on manager Roy Keane as he took charge of the team for the 100th time, and Aston Villa was held to a 0-0 draw by Fulham in the Premier League.
Johan Elmander scored twice for Bolton, which also got goals from Matthew Taylor and Gary Cahill. Djibril Cisse scored for Sunderland.
“It was very poor again. Individual mistakes have cost us for three of the four goals and obviously it is a very hard one to take again,” Keane said. “We are giving teams a helping hand and maybe one or two players lost confidence in the second half.”
Villa was unimpressive up front with Gareth Barry squandering three good chances. Goalkeeper Brad Friedel twice denied Fulham’s Clint Dempsey as the American didn’t concede for a third straight match on
his record 167th consecutive Premier League appearance.
Also, Wigan came from behind to beat bottom-place West Bromwich Albion 2-1 and win back-to-back league games for the first time under manager Steve Bruce. Newcomers Stoke and Hull played to a 1-1 draw, while Middlesbrough and Newcastle failed to score in a 0-0 draw in the north-east derby.
Cisse gave Sunderland a perfect start in the 11th minute, scoring off the post after being fed by Steed Malbranque, but Taylor rose above Pascal Chimbonda a few minutes later to meet Gretar Steinsson’s cross with a looping header and equalise.
Cahill put Bolton ahead in the 21st when Kevin Davies headed down Andy O’Brien’s free kick, and then had referee Chris Foy to thank for keeping the lead intact.
Kenwyne Jones headed off the crossbar and Cisse volleyed in the rebound, but Foy disallowed it, ruling that Jones had pushed Jlloyd Samuel.
Slack defending from Danny Collins allowed Bolton to take a 3-1 lead when Elmander scored from a tight angle in the 39th.
Elamander’s second goal came in similar fashion in the 55th. Dean Whitehead stumbled over a clearance, allowing Kevin Nolan to feed the Sweden striker to complete a miserable day for Keane, whose side is
18th in the 20-team standings.
“We are very concerned and as manager it’s my job to put it right,” Keane said.
Villa failed to build on its recent victory over Arsenal and draw against Manchester United and squandered a chance to move into third place.
Ashley Young and Stiliyan Petrov came close several times, but were frustrated by Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
“It’s a couple of points dropped no doubt about that,” Villa manager Martin O’Neill said. “It was a frustrating day after the great exploits of the last couple of weeks and maybe a bit disappointing. It was a difficult game for us.”
Marlon King scored just before halftime for Hull, swiveling and curling in his fourth goal of the campaign. But Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill fouled Ricardo Fuller, who converted from the penalty spot in
“We’ve been robbed by a poor decision,” Hull manager Phil Brown said. “It was a very theatrical dive.”
West Brom lost a fourth straight match despite Ishmael Miller scoring the club’s first goal in 344 minutes in the 47th after Wigan defender Titus Bramble failed to clear.
West Brom’s Paul Robinson failed to pick up Henri Camara’s run and Emile Heskey was able to put the ball back into the striker’s path to equalise in the 61st.
With three minutes left, Emmerson Boyce scored Wigan’s winner when he headed home a corner from substitute Jason Koumas.
Newcastle moved out of the relegation zone with its point at Middlesbrough, a day after manager Joe Kinnear was given a contract until the end of the season.
In foggy conditions, Obafemi Martins hit the crossbar for Newcastle in the 35th, while Magpies goalkeeper Shay Given saved well from Justin Hoyte with 15 minutes left.
On Sunday, Chelsea hosts an Arsenal side in disarray as it bids to break away from Liverpool at the top the standings, with the Reds not in action until Monday against West Ham.
Also Sunday, Portsmouth hosts Blackburn and Everton is at Tottenham.
In the second-tier League Championship, Birmingham missed a chance to close the gap on leader Wolverhampton Wanderers when the teams drew 1-1 at Molineux. - Sapa-AP