Bolton Wanderers 2 Fulham 1

Last updated : 26 February 2006 By Footymad Previewer
Bolton manager Sam Allardyce praised his side after yet another convincing performance at the Reebok Stadium.

The Trotters had to come from behind against Fulham who took a 22nd minute lead through Heidar Helguson.

Helguson headed home from Simon Elliott's left-wing cross having earlier hit the bar with a close-range shot.

But Helguson's joy turned sour as he unluckily deflected the ball into his own net on the stroke of half time.

To rub salt into their wounds, Bolton skipper Kevin Nolan, still vying for an England place, enhanced his international claims further with a wonderful strike which ultimately gave the home side the points.

Some trickery on the left-hand side of the box saw Nolan receive the ball from Kevin Davies and his shot gave Fulham keeper Tony Warner no chance.

Bolton continued their charge up the table and after the disappointment of a 2-1 defeat to Marseille in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup on Thursday night, the Bolton fans had something to savour.

As early as the second minute Helguson found time and space in the six-yard box, only to direct his left-foot shot against the woodwork just as it looked as though Chris Coleman's side were going to take an early lead.

Radhi Jaidi had Bolton's best chance of the opening exchanges and nearly scored with an acrobatic overhead kick, but the ball flew agonisingly over the crossbar.

At the other end, Elliott then whipped in a teasing ball from the left and Helguson didn't miss with his second chance.

Jay-Jay Okocha, restored to the Bolton side, fired over the woodwork in the 27th minute and then two minutes later Davies forced Warner to make a point-blank save.

Japanese international Hidetoshi Nakata nearly levelled matters with a superb left-foot volley, but again the ball flew over the crossbar.

Fulham weathered the storm and their American striker Brian McBride, influential all day for Coleman's charges, headed wide from a Wayne Bridge free-kick.

Moments later John McBride hit the target with a left-foot shot, but Jussi Jaaskelainen produced an excellent save to deny the centre-forward.

Tomasz Radzinski tried his luck from 35 yards as the half drew to a close, while Davies shot wide for Bolton from close range, but again he couldn't find the net.

Helguson, who had earlier given his side the lead, then turned villain as he cruelly deflected the ball into his own net just before the half-time whistle blew.

The resumption saw Nolan make Warner save again and, at the other end, McBride had a shot charged down by Bruno N'Gotty.

In the 59th minute Abdoulaye Faye headed over and Stelios Giannakopoulos saw a shot saved by Warner.

But then it was the turn of Nolan to take centre stage. Leading from the front he gladly accepted a clever pass from Davies and found the bottom left-hand corner with a powerful shot.

Fulham's hearts didn't sink and Helguson nearly scored his third goal of the game, only for Jaaskelainen to save his header.

Fulham still pressed and McBride had a shot saved and then Papa Bouba Diop volleyed over.

Nolan had a shot charged down by Zat Knight and Okocha fired wide with ten minutes remaining, but that was the last of the action as Bolton took the points.