Stoke collapse to Trotters defeat
Two late Matthew Taylor goals saw relegation threatened Bolton come from behind to condemn Stoke to their sixth home defeat of the season. Dave Kitson had given the home side the lead but some poor finishing and poor refereeing allowed Bolton to get back into it and Taylor duly obliged.
Tony Pulis made two changes from the side that drew at Wolves on Sunday. Injuries to Mama Sidibe and Matthew Etherington saw them miss out and they were replaced by Tuncay and Liam Lawrence. Ryan Shawcross yet again missed out to his ankle injury but James Beattie returned to the bench.
Bolton started the brighter side but was soon behind due to some great link up work between the two strikers. Tuncay was allowed room to turn and he clipped a beautifully measured ball over the top for Kitson to run on to. The former Reading man coolly rounded Jaskelainen and slotted the ball home. German defender Robert Huth almost doubled his side`s advantage but his header from Delap`s throw cannoned the post and Lawrence couldn`t turn it in.
Tuncay was the main threat to the visitors and they failed to pick him up. A clever flick from the Turk almost put Kitson through again but the flag was raised for offside. Although having a one man advantage in midfield Wanderers couldn`t get a grip on the game and didn`t bother Thomas Sorensen in the Stoke goal.
A mainly dire first half ended 1-0 but if Stoke applied themselves, it could have easily been more. Bolton`s system didn`t work and the Potters coped with all the long balls that they played.
Perhaps the key decision came at half-time when Owen Coyle threw on Croat striker Ivan Klasnic in place of Sam Ricketts. Klasnic should have scored almost immediately but he dragged his shot wide as Bolton started to gain control of the match.
Ref Stuart Atwell then became centre of attention as his wrong decision to not stop the match for Dean Whitehead`s head injury almost resulted in Jack Wilshere equalising.
The Potters quickly got a grip of things and should have put the game to bed. A well crafted move involving substitute Matthew Etherington and Glenn Whelan. Etherington`s superb drag back set-up Tuncay 8 yards out with just the keeper to beat. Instead the 28 year-old fluffed his shot against the post and Kitson blazed over from just 2 yards. Dean Whitehead also drew a save from the Bolton stopper as he got a finger to the midfielder`s attempted lob.
Turkish captain Tuncay then seriously dented his relationship with the home fans by storming down the tunnel after being taken off and replaced by Fuller. Although Pulis has since laughed it off I imagine that Tuncay may be in for a rollicking some time soon.
Just to add to the bad atmosphere ref Atwell then awarded Bolton a dubious free-kick outside of the box and Matty Taylor stood up and smashed it under the wall beyond Sorensen.
Stoke were stunned and then things then got worse as substitute Vladimir Weiss crossed for Taylor to glance home a second to send the visiting fans delirious. Stoke had imploded with the help of Atwell.
Ab Faye did have the chance to salvage a point from a Delap throw but he wildly fired his unmarked volley from 3 yards high over the bar, a shocking miss.
This result leaves the Potters 11th in the table with only four games to go. Next up is a trip to league leaders Chelsea on Sunday. Bolton are now all but safe.
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