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Saturday 23 August K.O. 17:30

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Goodison Park | 4th January 2012 20:00

Everton v Bolton Wanderers

Everton couldn't capitalise on Tim Howard's astonishing goal as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Bolton.

Howard scored from the edge of his own box to give Everton the lead but strikes from David Ngog and Gary Cahill swung the match in the visitors' favour.

To compound Everton's misery the Blues had three players limp off through injury and then hit the bar on a wet and windy night at Goodison.

For long periods it looked like something out of the ordinary would be required to break the deadlock and so it proved.

As Sylvain Distin charged back down Everton's left side after a corner his pass back to Howard looked innocuous. But the American custodian powered a clearance hard and true and it bounced over a stranded Adam Bogdan in the visitors' goal.

Donovan gets away from RickettsDonovan started brightly on his second debut

Perhaps feeling for his opposite number, Howard offered no celebration but Goodison was temporarily jubilant before the troubled Trotters hit back.

Earlier David Moyes had handed a second Everton debut to Landon Donovan and Howard's compatriot was immediately scythed down by Sam Ricketts as the pair began a long-running tussle down the Everton right.

Denis Stracqualursi charged about on his first league start and from the set-piece Leighton Baines' devilish free-kick hit him and went wide.

Chris Eagles and Gretar Steinsson were off target with speculative efforts for the visitors before Baines' cross cannoned off Donovan's shoulder for Bogdan to claim.

In the 13th minute the busy American's cross found Stracqualursi but his well struck effort on the run was just wide.

Baines and Ngog tussleBaines and Ngog tussle

It was all Everton in the swirling wind and but when Louis Saha pounced on a Zat Knight error he could only drag an ugly effort wide from 10 yards out.

The gangly central defender atoned for that mistake with a fine intervention to prevent Stracqualursi capping a swift move at the near post before Osman went closest yet.

A snappy Everton build up saw Donovan and Saha combine to release the in-form midfielder and his fizzing low shot flew a yard wide.

Five minutes before the break Everton were dealt a blow when Phil Jagielka limped off with what appeared to be a knee injury sustained while denying Ngog minutes earlier.

John Heitinga dropped into the back four with Jack Rodwell coming into midfield.

At the other end Everton appealed for a penalty when Donovan burst past Ricketts onto Stracualursi's flick but Phil Dowd pointed only for a corner.

Straqualursi goes in with the keeperStraqualursi goes in with the keeper

Howard was called into action just before the break after his own poor kick allowed Nigel Reo-Coker to release Ngog.

Normal service was resumed in the second period as Everton forced a couple of corners and Rodwell screwed wide at the back post.

Howard did well to deny Mark Davies and Ngog and in between Osman had been forced off with Magaye Gueye replacing him.

Yet more bad news for the Toffees was still to come as Rodwell was also unfit to continue and Tim Cahill entered the fray.

But then Howard's astonishing goal put Everton ahead.

The lead lasted only a matter of minutes though as Ngog burst into the box and curled past the Everton goalscorer.

Worse was to come as Cahill powered in from the angle after Chris Eagles' clever pass and the Blues couldn't muster a reply despite Baines' injury time free-kick hitting the bar.

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