The Reebok Stadium witnessed an action packed, entertaining North West Derby between Bolton and City. City struck back on three occasions, cancelling out earlier Bolton’s efforts.
With last week’s victory over Chelsea, this match was tipped as a ‘typical City’ moment. Hopefully, with a win today that tag would have been tarnished. However, a hardly convincing 3-3 draw, despite the constant fight backs, leaves much to be desired.
The match started brightly for Bolton, a constant threat from the ‘typical’ long ball game, as the home side looked to set the tempo.
On 11 Minutes Bolton took the lead. Poor defensive work allowed Lee to swing a cross in, with Sylvinho unable to block the ball it fell for Klasnic. The in-form striker netted ‘controversially’ from two yards out. Looking convincingly offside the goal was given to the dismay of Shay and his back four.
City had to now force the occasion, with Bolton looking clearly ‘up for it’ an uphill task awaited us. With the creativity of Tevez and now Ireland, an early sub for SWP, as well as the speed and desire of Bellers we always looked like getting back into the game.
Justice was served on 25 minutes with Star Man Carlos Tevez scoring his 3rd in three games. Fine work down the wing from Bellers, gave Tevez space on the edge of the box. The striker then took aim and after a slight deflection we were level.
This now looked like our chance to capitalise, Tevez was pulling the strings, Bellamy was using his pace and Superman was contributing well. With chances coming at both ends, neither side looked happy with a point. Gareth Barry missed the best chance before half time, with a left foot shot struck horribly wide.
Both sides then looked to sit back and ensure that they weren’t the side going in at half-time behind. However, English defender Gary Cahill superbly hit the ball with his left foot past the despairing dive of Given. The City keeper looked to be positioned poorly, but nothing could be taken away from Cahill.
Mark Hughes looked increasingly frustrated on the sideline as our defence was easily being picked apart. With an aggressive half-time team talk on the agenda, The Blues continued to press.
On the stroke of half time Micah Richards dealt a hammer blow to the home side. Adebayor and Bellamy linked up well before a slick through ball found the rampaging Richards. The full back then drove the ball neatly past Jaaskelainen into the bottom corner.
Half Time 2-2
The impetus had to be with us after equalising on the stroke of half time. Despite this, neither side came out flying as they both took a more cautious approach.
Again, looking like we were on top, we threw away good possession by allowing Bolton to take the lead for the third time.
Ivan Klasnic with his second goal acrobatically beat Lescott to the ball and hooked it past Given.
The goal was only one of several problems, the shape of the team was simply embarrassing, no-one was defending and the frustration was increasing.
Not wanting to face defeat for a second time this season, all 10 outfield players looked like contributing to a goal.
However, our poor shape led to continuous counter attacks from Bolton. We were lucky to be within one goal with several guilt-edge chances going Bolton’s way.
With the referee and his assistants having a poor game more controversy struck, Bellamy tumbled after a clear foul, however, Clattenburg decided to send Bellamy off to the dismay of everyone watching.
Hughes was looking to bring on substitutions with impact in mind. This task was growing harder by the second. With all 9 outfield players completely out of shape 3-2 was flattering us.
Despite this we still plugged away, chances fell to both sides as we battled for every ball and pushed for that third equaliser.
On 78 minutes the equaliser came, Carlos Tevez, the Argentine hit man made it four goals in three games. This time Tevez shot perfectly in the corner past the distraught Jaaskelainen.
Suddenly there was only one winner. Neither team were giving up without a point and after constant pressure from us the game ended.
Despite the marvellous fight back we were surely hoping for more than a draw. Nigel De Jong was sadly missed in midfield and again poor defensive mistakes cost us. A positive from the game was our battling display and our “never say die” attitude.
Shay Given- 6
The superb stopper wasn’t as convincing as usual. Poor positioning led to the second goal.
Micah Richards- 7
Attacked very strongly and deserved his goal. Poor defensive display in the second half led to several Bolton chances.
Kolo Toure- 6
The captain was at time forced to defend on his own. On several occasion Kolo stood strong but as a captain needed to be more commanding.
Joleon Lescott- 5
After some recent positive and excellent performances, Lescott had a poor game by his standards. Let Klasnic go for the third goal and failed to stop many crosses.
The Brazilian left back started his first game of the season to the surprise of some. Worked well with Bellamy and Tevez and prevented several chances.
Vincent Kompany- 4
NDJ was a big miss today and unfortunately on his first midfield start of the season Kompany struggled. Bolton countered very well and VK didn’t have any answer.
Gareth Barry- 6
Barry looked to have a very difficult afternoon. With poor defensive play, Gazza was left chasing too many home shirts.
Carlos Tevez- 9
Star Man. One of the few shining lights this afternoon. Pulled all the strings in both midfield and attack. Tevez is now in fine form with 4 goals in 3 games, both goals were typically great finishes.
Craig Bellamy- 7
Extremely unfortunate to be sent off in bizarre circumstances. The Welsh Wizard was a constant threat with blistering pace and strong creativity.
Emmanuel Adebayor- 6
Struggled at times and didn’t look as threatening as our other attacking options.
Stephen Ireland- 7
Created several chances and looked much more accomplished in the attacking role. Switched and worked well with Tevez and will hope this performance grants him a starting position.
Tried and came close with a late effort. Sometimes struggled to keep up with odd positional sense by players.
Mark Hughes-6 Has been criticised for poor substitutions. However, this time all were justified and the first two had an impact. Struggled to keep his team in shape.