United Stunned by Bolton

  • 27 November 2007

Gary Megson claimed his first win in charge of Bolton with the unlikely scalp of Manchester United, thanks to Nicolas Anelka's early strike.

United experienced their only previous league defeat this season back in August - against Manchester City - whereas that same month marked Bolton's only win in the Premier League - 3-0 against Reading.

Megson reaped the rewards of Anelka's return from a recent hamstring injury when the Frenchman took advantage of United defender Gerard Pique's mistake to slot home. Campo's chipped free-kick set up the goal with Pique mis-timing his leap leaving Anelka unmarked with the ball in front of goal.

While Bolton looked lively and dangerous on the break, the visitors made a lacklustre start - perhaps missing the touch of winger Cristiano Ronaldo, who was rested after playing in two Euro 2008 qualifiers over the past week.

United's chances at the other end were few in the first half with Hargreaves screwing a 20-yard effort wide, and Tevez just failing to get on the end of Rio Ferdinand's long ball.

Their frustrations were deepened by an ongoing battle between Bolton striker Kevin Davies and United defender Patrice Evra - which resulted in an angry Ferguson being sent to the stands after the break.

Davies was lucky to get away with just one booking after two heavy-handed late challenges and a nasty clash of heads with the Frenchman. But the referee's decision brought Ferguson to the touchline to express his disgust.

However the tactical substitution of Pique for Anderson just before the half hour mark seemed to reinvigorate Ferguson's side and moments later, keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen did well to keep out Owen Hargreaves' dipping free-kick with a flying save.

United kept turning the screw and Carlos Tevez should have done better when he sliced Evra's cross wide from just a yard out 70 minutes in. Although the visitors continued to pile forward, United could find no equaliser.

And when Hargreaves clipped the roof of the net with an injury-time free-kick, Ferguson had to settle for the sight of his side losing at Bolton for the first time since December 1978.

Man Utd: Van der Sar, Brown (O'Shea 88), Pique (Anderson 59), Ferdinand, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Hargreaves, Giggs, Saha, Tevez.