Classy Anelka rubs salt in wounds as Bolton stun United


Last updated at 21:22 24 November 2007

Nicolas Anelka showed

touch of class as Bolton pulled off

the shock result of the season, but

furious Sir Alex Ferguson clearly felt

Manchester United's neighbours

had used underhand tactics to

achieve their glory.

As new Bolton boss Gary Megson

celebrated his first Premier League

victory by warmly congratulating

his heroes, a furious Ferguson was

left high in the main stand, where

he had been ordered to sit following

a half-time row with referee Mark


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There was no denying Anelka's

brilliance to turn and score his

eighth goal of the season after 11

minutes, but Ferguson was more

concerned with Bolton's general

demeanour, which could be

described as "putting it up 'em".

Not surprisingly, their battering

ram, Kevin Davies,was at the centre

of the action. His two-footed

tackle on Patrice Evra was nasty

and The Reebok Stadium breathed

a sigh of relief when he was shown

only a yellow card.

A few minutes later, Davies went for a header and cracked the back

of Evra's skull with his own forehead.

Clattenburg gave Davies a

final warning, but no more, leaving

Ferguson incandescent with rage.

The finger-wagging United boss

waited for Clattenburg at the end

of the first half, expressed his views

clearly to the official in the tunnel as

they walked towards the dressing

rooms and was promptly sent off.

Ferguson sat with the club's legal

expert Maurice Watkins in the second

half, although he appeared to

communicate with his coach Mike

Phelan via mobile phone as United

battered the Bolton goal, albeit

without reward, in the second half.

The victory, Bolton's first over

United at home for 29 years, took

them out of the bottom three and meant United missed out on the

chance to stay level on points with

Arsenal after an incredible run of

nine victories in 10 games.

Bolton received their first boost

before kick-off, with Wayne Rooney

— who had scored five goals

against them in two games last season

— ruled out with injury,Bolton

learned that Cristiano Ronaldo was

not in United's 16.

That left Carlos Tevez as the only

one of United's famed triumvirate

on show — and he had flown

halfway across the world after playing

for Argentina.

United were also without centre

half Nemanja Vidic and their worst

fears were realised when his

replacement, Gerard Pique, was at

fault for what turned out to be the

decisive goal.

Ivan Campo's chipped free-kick

should have been easy to clear, but

Pique missed his header and

Anelka — no doubt bolstered by

Ferguson's admission of his desire

to sign him — spun round before

shooting past Edwin van der Sar.

Bolton defended their lead in a way that took fans back to the days

of Sam Allardyce. It was no place

for the faint-hearted and at times

the home side sailed close to the


Davies, deployed wide on the

right, launched into a terrible lunge

on Evra that could have really hurt

the Frenchman. He then caught

Evra in a clash of heads, although

the Bolton man would claim he was

going for the ball.

It took United until the final

20 minutes to seriously threaten an


Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen

tipped over a free-kick from Owen

Hargreaves, although the fact that a

holding midfielder was taking the

set-pieces illustrated how depleted

the United team was.

The best chance of all fell to Tevez.

Evra's cross from the left was a perfect

invitation for the striker to net

from six yards, but the Argentine

sliced his finish horribly and the ball

skidded inches past the post.

The final few moments were pure

Keystone Kops.Van der Sar,a spectator

for much of the first 85 min-utes split his time between going up

for corners and racing back whenever

Bolton broke on the counterattack.

Davies left to a standing ovation,

to be replaced by Gary Speed, and

the atmosphere in the Reebok

resembled a lower league ground at

an FA Cup giant-killing.

At the final whistle, Megson —

normally very excitable — tried to

exude calm as best he could,

though he must have been jumping

for joy inside.

He calmly shook the hands of his

players and the United coaching

staff while Davies and the players

indulged in jubilant bear hugs.

Up in the stand, a 65-year-old

Scottish gentleman carried on

chewing, his scowl growing more

ferocious by the second.

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