Bolton v Everton
Everton moved up to eighth place in the Premier League after second-half goals from Marouane Fellaini and Apostolos Vellios earned the Blues a 2-0 win at 10-man Bolton Wanderers.
After Phil Jagielka had gone close for the visitors, Bolton were reduced to 10 men after 20 minutes when David Wheater was shown a straight red card for a late lunge on Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, who had returned to the starting XI because of an injury to Royston Drenthe.
The Blues dominated proceedings from then on in and deservedly made the breakthrough just after the break when Fellaini tucked home Bilyaletdinov's inviting cross.
Substitute Vellios made sure of the points and ensured a second straight win for David Moyes’ side just minutes after entering the fray when he tapped home Tim Cahill’s pullback to become Everton’s leading scorer with three goals this term.
Backed by nearly 5,000 travelling supporters at a wet and windy Reebok Stadium, Everton started brightly, with Paul Robinson making a fine block on Seamus Coleman on three minutes as the Irishman cut inside to shoot.
Less than 30 second later, Leighton Baines floated a free-kick into the box, with an unmarked Jagielka’s effort from close range going straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen, who pushed the defender’s volley away.
At the other end on 14 minutes, Ivan Klasnic dropped a shoulder to fool Jagielka, but saw his 20-yard drive parried to safety by Tim Howard.
A lull in the game suddenly came to an end on 20 minutes when Wheater lost possession on the greasy surface and made a high studs-up lunge on Bilyaletdinov, who was sent sprawling. Referee Michael Oliver immediately went to his pocket and produced a red card to bring Wheater’s afternoon to an abrupt end to the fury of the home support and manager Owen Coyle.
Bolton were forced to reshape, with Nigel Reo-Coker moving to right-back, a position he played in on occasion for Aston Villa, and Kevin Davies taking up a role on the wing.
Everton’s numerical advantage almost paid off on 26 minutes when Coleman skipped past Robinson down the right. His inviting cross was met by Bilyaletdinov, but the Russian scooped his right-footed effort over the bar from 12 yards. It was a good chance gone begging and the winger knew it.
The Blues continued to press, with John Heitinga’s free-kick being held by Jaaskelainen on 36 minutes, before Bilyaletdinov’s inviting cross was met by Tim Cahill, bit his diving header struck the back of an unaware Zak Knight.
Leon Osman went into the book on 43 minute for chopping down Mark Davies in the middle of the park, with first-half proceedings coming to a close shortly afterwards.
There were no changes by either side at the break and the Blues made the breakthrough just four minutes into the second half in front of the away end.
Good work by Osman saw him feed Bilyaletdinov down the left. The winger's low cross was delivered perfectly for Fellaini, who had arrived from deep, to fire home from close range. It was the Belgian’s second goal of the season and his first since putting pen to paper on a new five-year deal.
After 55 minutes, the lively Coleman then saw a left-footed shot deflect off his own teammate Tim Cahill and into the grateful arms of Jaaskelainen.
The Bolton goalkeeper then kept out Louis Saha’s tame effort after the Frenchman had latched onto Tim Cahill’s throughball. The striker was under pressure from Knight but placing his shot either side of Jaaskelainen would have put Everton 2-0 up.
A sublime Tim Cahill backheel sent Baines scampering down the left on 63 minutes. The left-back cut inside and decided to go for goal, with his drive fizzing just over the bar.
With just one goal still separating the sides, Howard then had to be alert to save Klasnic’s effort with his legs in a rare Bolton attack, while Baines should have done better when he broke away only to overhit his pass for Saha and allow Knight to nip in and clear the danger.
With 20 minutes remaining, Baines, who was having a stormer, again burst down the left. His cross was met by Tim Cahill, who saw his header palmed away by Jaaskelainen. The Finnish shot-stopper then got up quickly to save the rebound from Saha with his chest.
Vellios, sporting luminous green boots, entered the fray on 75 minutes to replace Saha, and the big Greek would score with almost his first touch of the ball.
Baines clipped a cross to the far post, which a stretching Tim Cahill hooked back across goal, and Vellios was there to knock the loose ball into an empty net for his third strike of the campaign.
That led to a mass exodus from the home fans and Everton saw out the final minutes to secure a second clean sheet of the season and move into the top half of the table.