Megson fights his corner but the Bolton fans let rip


Last updated at 07:39 26 October 2007

Gary Megson met

his critics head-on at

the Reebok Stadium

last night then saw

the home crowd turn

their anger towards chairman

Phil Gartside.

The new Bolton manager was

surrounded the minute he arrived

at the ground by a group of supporters

who made their feelings

known that he was not a unanimous

choice to replace Sammy Lee.

Megson at Bolton

Yet, far from dodging the issue,

Megson stood and talked through

the appointment with the dozen or

so fans in front of the main

entrance as the former Leicester

boss pleaded for the chance to

turn around the club's fortunes.

However, inside the stadium

there was a distinct lack of goodwill

for Gartside who was subjected

to all manner of chants from

a disgruntled section of the crowd.

Cries of 'Sack the board' and 'You

don't know what you are doing'

were two of the more printable.

Bolton shied away from making a

public fanfare of Megson's appointment,

perhaps sensing it could

turn into a huge public relations

own goal.

Gartside had outlined his thinking

behind the appointment when

he said: "I've paid particular attention

to his career and he has

demonstrated to me he is

prepared to roll up his

sleeves. He has the right

temperament for a battle,

which this season is

undoubtedly going to be."


Megson, who has signed

a two-and-a-half year deal,

shunned the traditional seat in the

directors' box and sat in the dugout

behind caretaker Archie Knox

as Bolton tried desperately to raise

their supporters' spirits.

It was clear that the Portuguese,

who had never beaten English

opposition, would be a far more

testing proposition than Macedonians

Rabotnicki who Bolton beat

to reach the group stages.

Left back Peixoto forced Jussi

Jaaskelainen to tip over an early

free-kick, but after Kevin Davies

nodded over Nicolas Anelka's cross

in the 20th minute, the Frenchman

was gifted an opportunity to lift

the gloom.

Braga centre half Rodriguez

slipped as he collected the ball on

the edge of the centre circle, allowing

Anelka to race clear.

But the

forward chose to try to lob keeper

Paulo Santos and his execution

was found wanting as the keeper

comfortably caught the ball.

The home players departed for

the half-time break with frustrated

jeers ringing in their ears, and in

the second half it seemed that

even Knox was a legitimate target.

When the board was held up on the

hour to announce the much-needed

arrival of El Hadji Diouf, the crowd

again booed as young midfielder

Danny Guthrie was hauled off.

Jaaskelainen did well to block an

effort from Roland Linz and the

value of the save was seen in the

66th minute when Bolton scored.

Anelka found Davies on the right

and his cross to the far post was

nodded in by Diouf.

But Braga

equalised on 87 minutes when Jailson

headed in Joao Pereira's cross.

BOLTON (4-3-3): Jaaskelainen; Hunt,

A O'Brien, Meite, Cid; McCann, Guthrie (Diouf

60min), Speed; Gardner (Andranik 82),

Anelka, Davies.

BRAGA: (4-3-3) Paolo Santos; Pereira, Jorge,

Rodriguez, Peixoto; Vandinho, Andres

Madrid (Jailson 77), Castanheira (Stelvio 65);

Jorginho, Linz, Wender (Manuel 65).

Man of the match: Kevin Davies.

Referee: Darko Ceferin (Slovenia).

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