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Bolton 1 West Ham Utd 0

Filed: Saturday, 12th April 2008
By: Staff Writer

A second half header by Kevin Davies was enough to send the Hammes spiralling to defeat - again.

Alan Curbishley's side made it three defeats in a row after yet another uninspired performance against a side fighting for their Premiership lives.

As with the defeat at Sunderland the Hammers were simply outplayed by the opposition in a game not dissimilar to the one five years ago here that all but consigned United to relegation.

The Irons mustered just two meaningful efforts on goal all afternoon in a season where they have managed to score just 35 goals from 34 games - a record bettered by all but the three teams in the relegation zone plus Sunderland, Wigan and Middlesbrough.

Alan Curbishley decided to revert to his favoured 4-5-1 formation with Dean Ashton providing the target up front.

But Bolton's long-ball tactics often rendered United's five man midfield irrelevant and goalscorer Davies proved to be a handful all afternoon for a United defence further weakened by Anton Ferdinand's first minute injury - yet another hamstring tear which could rule him out for the rest of the season.

Having been battered in the opening 45 minutes - and lucky not to concede after two goal line clearances and a Davies (who else?) header being ruled offside - Curbishley's half-time brief must have mentioned something about keeping it tight for the first ten minutes of the second half.

If so, that was forgotten after just 90 seconds when Davies nodded home from a corner to notch the only goal of the game - right after his header, straight from the kick-off, had been tipped over by Rob Green.

Rather than wake the Hammers from their slumber it only served to inspire the opposition who were obviously smelling blood. Yet again the Hammers were grateful for the referee's intervention when Nolan's effort was disallowed for offside (after a John Paintsil error allowed the Bolton midfielder in).

A wonderfully inventive overhead kick from Dean Ashton - well saved by the keeper - proved to be a mere reprieve from Bolton's domination which continued until the dying moments when a case of nerves from a team without a win in their last 11 outings allowed Scott Parker and Carlton Cole to register efforts on goal.

The win gave Gary Megson his sixth win from 24 games in charge of the Trotters - and his team a vital three points in their battle to avoid relegation.

Meanwhile with a mere four points from the last eight games, Alan Curbishley is once again a manager under pressure.

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