Skip to main content


16:53 2th October 2010

Albion 1 Bolton 1

JAMES Morrison rescued a late point for Albion as the hosts' excellent start to the season continued. In a tight encounter, Swedish international Johan Elmander opened the scoring with a clinical 64th-minute finish. But Roberto Di Matteo's side piled on the pressure during the closing stages and got their just desserts through Morrison's 78th-minute header - his first of the season. Albion weren't as fluent as they have been in their previous three unbeaten home games but showed great resilience to avoid a first Hawthorns league defeat in nine months. Di Matteo made two changes as the injured Jerome Thomas (calf) and benched Pablo Ibanez made way for Graham Dorrans and the fit-again Gabriel Tamas. Owen Coyle made one alteration as Gary Cahill returned from suspension in place of Sam Ricketts. Former Baggie Paul Robinson received a mixed reception on his first Hawthorns return since leaving for Bolton just over two years ago, with generous applause being tinged by a few boos. Buoyed by last week's euphoric win at Arsenal, Albion launched the first attack and Morrison wasn't far away from getting on the end of Chris Brunt's terrific centre at the back stick. But the Baggies lacked fluency during the opening stages, with several wayward passes attracting unnecessary Bolton pressure. Scott Carson's goal remained unthreatened until the 14th minute when ex-Villa man Cahill spurned a great chance, planting a free eight-yard header over from Martin Petrov's corner. However, Albion gradually found their feet and a lengthy spell of keep-ball in the 17th minute presented Brunt with a shooting opportunity. The Northern Ireland international saw his 25-yard drive clip Stuart Holden and fly just wide of the right-hand post. Two minutes later, Morrison was far less effective from similar distance, blasting well wide of the far post. But Albion were getting on top and Jussi Jaaskelainen could only stand and watch as Peter Odemwingie spun and shot just wide from 20 yards. Then, on 24, Odemwingie robbed the ponderous Zat Knight and charged into the box. But the Nigerian had little support and his attempt to find Morrison at the far post was snuffed out by Gretar Steinsson's last-ditch lunge. The Albion pressure continued and man-of-the-moment Odemwingie will feel he should have done better when he got between two Bolton defenders and headed over Morrison's pinpoint centre. The Baggies were first to everything and the latest in a line of terrific Paul Scharner challenges led to another shooting chance for Brunt, whose 30-yard rocket flew into Jaaskelainen's midriff before bouncing to safety. Bolton didn't threaten again until the 39th minute and, worryingly for Albion, it came from another free header from a Petrov corner. Thankfully, Steinsson's flying effort from ten yards flew straight at Carson. That proved the final action of a half which had yielded few clear-cut chances. But the second period was only 18 seconds old when Carson had to make his first testing save of the day. Bolton surged forward right from the kick-off and a forceful run by Holden presented an opening for Petrov, who saw his 18-yard curler palmed away at full stretch by the England international. Albion only half-cleared the ensuring corner but former Blues midfielder Fabrice Muamba blasted well wide from 30 yards. But the Baggies had a bigger let off on 51 when the ever-dependable Nicky Shorey, marshalling the right-hand post, headed Cahill's towering header off the line from Petrov's corner. Albion regrouped and Brunt's terrific far-post centre was flicked back into the danger-zone by Morrison - but Cahill was on hand to clear. Morrison was in the thick of it again moments later when he expertly controlled Shorey's lofted ball over his shoulder before firing viciously at Jaaskelainen from 18 yards. The game was now opening up and Carson did well to hold onto Kevin Davies' 20-yard effort on the turn. The action swung straight to the other end and Steinsson was relieved to see his attempted clearance from Brunt's free-kick fly inches over, and not under, his own bar. Morrison then exchanged a neat one-two with Odemwingie before dragging his shot wide of the near post from 18 yards. But Albion fell behind in the 64th minute. A well-worked Bolton move climaxed in Davies threading through Elmander who gave Carson no chance with a fierce 12-yard finish. It should have been game over five minutes later when Tamas played the ball against Petrov's legs and the Bulgarian raced clear. The winger had all the time in the world to pick his spot but inexplicably fired wide of Carson's near post from 12 yards. Albion bounced back and Morrison wasted a decent chance when he was well off-target with a free header from sub Giles Barnes' centre. The Baggies' best opportunity to equalise thus far came on 77 when Odemwingie pounced on a Knight mistake and charged into the box, only to fire wide from an acute angle. But Albion were level just 60 seconds later. Odemwingie ran at Robinson before picking out Morrison with a peach of a cross and the Scotland international headed past Jaaskelainen from eight yards. Incredibly, Albion could have been ahead just a minute later when Odemwingie raced to the byline and pulled the ball back to Brunt who saw his close-range effort superbly pushed away by Jaaskelainen. Both teams could've won it as the fixture drew to an exciting climax. On 86, Wanderers subs Matt Taylor curled a 25-yard free-kick inches over the bar and, just a minute later, the ex-Portsmouth player was fed by Holden and shot just wide from the edge of the box. But it was Albion who finished the game on the front foot and Knight's last-ditch interception inside the Bolton six-yard box denied sub Simon Cox a tap-in from Brunt's low centre. Odemwingie looked set to continue his fairytale start to his Baggies career in the first minute of stoppage time when he chested down Brunt's sublime ball. But the ex-Lokomotiv Moscow forward lost his balance and screwed his effort wide. This was still a fine point for Di Matteo's men and ensured they took their early-season momentum into the two-week international break. ALBION (4-2-3-1): Carson; Jara, Tamas, Olsson, Shorey; Scharner (Cox 71), Mulumbu; Brunt, Dorrans (Barnes 60), Morrison (Tchoyi 90); Odemwingie. Subs not used: Myhill (gk), S Reid, Ibanez, Fortuné. BOLTON (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Robinson; Lee (Taylor 76), Holden, Muamba, Petrov; Elmander (M Davies 82), K Davies. Subs not used: Bogdan (gk), Klasnic, Ricketts, Moreno, Blake. GOALS: ALBION - Morrison (78). BOLTON - Elmander (64). BOOKINGS: ALBION - Morrison (foul 63), Jara (unsporting behaviour 84), Tamas (foul 85). BOLTON - Elmander (foul 61), M Davies (unsporting behaviour 84). REFEREE: P Walton (Northampton). ATTENDANCE: 22,846. ALBION STARMAN: Nicky Shorey.

PIC: USING HIS HEAD...Morrison nods home Albion's leveller  To buy a DVD copy of this game for just £4.99, plus postage, click here.
    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.