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  • Stoke City 1-2 Bolton: Taylor vital strike

    Matthew Taylor scored two late goals as struggling Bolton Wanderers practically guaranteed Premier League football next season with a 2-1 win over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

    Dave Kitson stroked the ball home on 13 minutes to give the hosts the lead, but in an incredible late turnaround, Taylor's 85th minute free-kick levelled proceedings before flicking home another with two minutes to go.

    The result gives the Trotters a comfortable seven-point cushion above the relegation zone with just three games remaining.

    Confusion between Jussi Jaaskelaninen and Gretar Steinsson on 11 minutes almost gifted the marauding Rory Delap the opener and the Potters only had to wait another two minutes before taking a deserved lead.

    Tuncay Sanli beat the offside trap with a delicate pass and Kitson neatly rounded Jaaskelainen to slide the ball into the empty net.

    Liam Lawrence should have doubled Stoke's advantage on 16 minutes only to hit the post after he failed to react quickly enough to Robert Huth's towering header and the German was left holding his head again when his instinctive header looped into Jaaskelaninen's arms.

    In contrast, Stoke stopper Thomas Sorensen was left without a shot to save in the first half as Bolton's final ball continuously let them down and Trotters boss Coyle was greatly relieved to go in at the break with only a one-goal deficit.

    The Bolton manager threw on Ivan Klasnic at the restart and the introduction of the sub immediately galvanised the visitors.

    Zat Knight should have done better when he sliced a shot wide, but Klasnic twice came within inches of the leveller with shots that left Sorensen beaten.

    Arsenal loanee Jack Wilshere then tested Sorensen as Stoke waited in vain for play to stop for an injury to Dean Whitehead, before the Stoke man almost took revenge with a chip, only to be denied by Jaaskelainen's fingertips.

    The woodwork again denied the Potters when Tuncay hit the post after being played in by Matthew Etherington and the Stoke fans were left stunned when Kitson put the follow-up over the bar from a matter of yards.

    Klasnic again had an excellent chance to punish the hosts, but shot well over Sorensen's bar, before Danny Higginbotham's crisp drive at the other end was well saved by Jaaskelainen.

    But with time running out, Bolton were handed the lifeline their endeavour deserved.

    With five minutes remaining, Whitehead brought down the darting substitute Vladimir Weiss, and Taylor drove the resulting free-kick beneath the leaping wall and beyond the diving Sorensen to draw the Trotters level.

    And the visiting fans were sent into dreamland three minutes later.

    Weiss was again involved as he jinked into the box and Taylor reacted quickest to nip in front of Huth and flick his delivery home.

    Stoke were handed a glorious chance to level two minutes into stoppage time when Huth met a long Delap throw, but the unmarked Abdoulaye Faye incredibly skied his shot over the bar from close range to send the Trotters home with all three points.
    Ian Hare / Eurosport


    Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Abdoulaye Faye, Higginbotham, Collins, Lawrence, Whitehead, Whelan, Delap, Sanli, Kitson. Subs: Begovic, Beattie, Fuller, Pugh, Etherington, Wilkinson, Moult.

    Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Lee, Ricketts, Muamba, Wilshere, Taylor, Kevin Davies. Subs: Al Habsi, Samuel, Elmander, Mark Davies, Klasnic, Cohen, Weiss.


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