Premier League - Bolton brush aside poor Everton
Bolton beat Everton 2-0 at the Reebok to leave the Toffees perilously above the Premier League drop zone.
Goals from Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge - his third in three matches for the Trotters - condemned Everton to their eighth league defeat of the season.
Bolton stay eighth, closing the gap on Sunderland to one point while taking their own haul to a fairly safe 36, while Everton remain 13th, only three points off the relegation places.
Owen Coyle’s side deserved the win as they were by far more adventurous while, save for a few short spells of positive play, Everton were ordinary and of an attacking threat.
Bolton took a deserved if lucky lead when Gary Cahill flicked Stuart Holden’s superb left-wing free-kick past Tim Howard, helped on its way by a deflection off John Heitinga.
Everton responded with a chance for their own Cahill, but Australia midfielder Tim looked a touch ring-rusty after his break at the Asian Cup as he put wide from close range following an excellent Leighton Baines cross.
Zat Knight literally gave his body to the cause when he slid in to deny Victor Anichebe, put through by Mikel Arteta’s slide-rule pass: the intervention saw the former Aston Villa defender over-extend his knee and he was carried off on a stretcher.
Bolton still were dominating possession though and, while their first-half lead was just about deserved, they had to withstand an early second-half barrage from Everton: they passed that test, restricting them to long-shots and crosses that were largely met by home defenders.
Once they proved they could contain the Toffees, they extended their lead and in some style: a loose clearance from Sylvain Distin was nodded on by substitute Chung-Yong Lee and Sturridge smacked home an unstoppable, instinctive volley that flew past Howard into the bottom left.
They had a third disallowed soon afterwards, Holden meeting Sturridge’s clever backheel with a rasping finish into the roof of the net but the on-loan Chelsea striker adjudged to have knocked the ball fractionally out of play beforehand.
Everton’s striking problems were highlighted further when youngster Jose Baxter was brought on as - while he forced one good stop from Jussi Jaaskelainen - the 19-year-old prospect is not suitable cover for the mediocre Anichebe and the injury-prone Louis Saha, who was absent again after his four-goal haul against Blackpool.
Bolton went close to a third when first Johan Elmander and then Sturridge curled superb efforts wide and, by the whistle, Everton were well beaten with their next match, at home to Chelsea, crucial with the teams in 17th to 19th all one win short of them.