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Bore draw as Cottagers hold Trotters

06 Feb 2010 17:27:50

Bore draw as Cottagers hold Trotters

The Trotters captain saw his last-minute header ruled out for a push in a dramatic end to a dreary Premier League clash at the Reebok Stadium. Moments earlier the much-maligned Johan Elmander had also spurned a glorious opportunity by shooting wide when well placed. In the first half Mark Davies saw a shot deflected onto the woodwork by Mark Schwarzer but otherwise the game lacked inspiration. Both sides badly needed a cutting edge and Fulham could have done without the loss of their top goalscorer Bobby Zamora for the fixture. Fresh from learning Andrew Johnson could miss the rest of the season through injury, Fulham suffered another attacking blow as Zamora succumbed to injury. The former West Ham forward was conspicuous by his absence as Fulham, searching for form despite ending a five-game losing streak in midweek, looked toothless with Erik Nevland and David Elm up front. But that no doubt came as a relief to Bolton as manager Owen Coyle was forced to make two changes to his rearguard. Andy O'Brien was brought in after Gary Cahill suffered a shoulder injury while Gretar Steinsson pulled out ill after being named on the teamsheet and was replaced by Paul Robinson. The tone for a laboured affair was set early on and it took 10 minutes for either side to create even a half-chance. That fell Fulham's way when a corner reached Elm at the back post but the outstretched Swede stabbed over. Kevin Davies, making his 500th league appearance, tried his luck from distance for Bolton but Aaron Hughes blocked. The hosts' first serious opportunity came after 19 minutes when Mark Davies teed up a volley for Tamir Cohen but the Israeli sliced over. Bolton tested Schwarzer for the first time midway through the first half when a curling Matt Taylor free-kick was met by the head of Sam Ricketts but the goalkeeper was not troubled. Fulham found an opening soon after as Kagisho Dikgacoi got forward and shot from 25 yards but his low effort missed the target. Yet such was the lack of incident it was almost half-time before either side threatened again. A powerful run by Fabrice Muamba pushed Fulham back but his shot was deflected into the path of Mark Davies, and he in turn was unable to make the most of an unexpected opportunity. Mark Davies almost made up for that two minutes before the break as Bolton created a gilt-edged opportunity out of keeping with what had gone before. Lee Chung-yong's ball was nodded down by Kevin Davies and Mark Davies' first-time shot was deflected by Schwarzer onto the woodwork and clear. It was a rare moment of quality and the second half began at a familiar pedestrian pace. Fulham were forced into a change after 55 minutes when Dikgacoi limped off. Dickson Etuhu was sent on in his place. Taylor shot into the wall from a free-kick and Mark Davies was withdrawn soon after as Bolton attempted to add firepower by introducing Elmander. Taylor had their next opportunity with a volley that was comfortably dealt with by Schwarzer while a Kevin Davies effort also failed to trouble the keeper. At the other end Jussi Jaaskelainen could not claim a Jonathan Greening cross but no Fulham players were on hand to pounce. The substitution that really threatened to change the game was made by Bolton as on-loan Manchester City youngster Vladimir Weiss was sent on with 20 minutes remaining. The Slovakian immediately got into the action and cut inside from the left but his shot was deflected over for a corner. Fulham's on-loan player, Nicky Shorey, attempted to break the deadlock from a late free-kick but his curling effort was deflected narrowly over. Remarkably the game burst into life in the final three minutes as Kevin Davies played Elmander through on goal but the striker contrived to shoot wide from six yards. Bolton summoned up another late rally but Kevin Davies' firm header from Lee's corner was adjudged to have come after a push by the home skipper.


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