Bolton Wanderers 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
Pedersen 63
Hasselbaink 90
Jaaskelainen, Barness, Charlton, Campo, Warhurst, Nolan, Frandsen, Okocha, Gardner, Djorkaeff, Pedersen
Cudicini, Melchiot, Desailly, Gallas, Babayaro, Gronkjaer, Lampard, Petit, Le Saux, Gudjohnsen, Zola
Holdsworth, Tofting (Frandsen HT), Ricketts (Nolan 79), Southall Poole
Hasselbaink (Gronkjaer HT), Morris (Le Saux 71), Stanic, Terry, De Goey
Yellow : Barness 53, Tofting 57
Yellow : Melchiot 43, Gallas 60, Hasslebaink 78, Desailly 84
Red : Babayaro 76
Henrick Pedersen's Goal

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Two weeks ago I'd have been perfectly happy with a 1-1 draw at home with Chelsea. I suppose I still am. But it's a measure of the rapid progress that Bolton have made in the last month that at the time it was ver disappointing to leave the Reebok without all three points being in the bag...

Regardless of the result, this was a much better performance (and therefore a better game) than we had witnessed against Sunderland and West Brom. While in those games the football had been poor and Bolton chasing a game without much style or invention, the emergence of the pairing between Djorklaeff and Okocha and the blossoming of Pedersen as a genuine centre forward meant that Bolton ore than competed with the visitors, despite Chelsea starting the game in third place.

The first half was characterised by good football from each side. Bolton's patched up defense was clearly warey of Gudjohnsen and Zola, which allowed Gronkjaer space down the wings. That set up chances for Gallas and Gudjohsen which Jaaskelainen dealt with calmly. Equally at the other end, Cudicini - recently called into the Italian squad - had to save from a surprise effort from Frandsen and a good volley from Djorkaeff. Overall the first half was both very even and excellent entertainment.

At half time a couple of changes we re made at half time, and both cnaged the game somewhat. The loss of Frandsen to injury brought on Tofting, but he had less offensive threat than his countryman. For the blues, Hasselbaink came on for Gronkjaer - given the space the Dane had been getting, I'm not sure why that was done. However the dutchman was almosty in straight away before being well tackled by Barness, who gave a very capable display in the back three in contrast to Campo who is still mixing moments of brilliance with moments of utter lunacy. With three forward on the pitch though Chelsea were very commited forward and created chances, Charlton having to clear off the line in one scramble in the box. At the other end Bolton were creating as many chances themselves. Okocha's good work got the ball to Warhurst on the endge of the box and his dipping shot was well tipped over by Cudicini. From the resulting corner, Pedersen - who had been giving Marcel Desailly rather a torrid afternoon - slipped between Desailly and Gallas to place a neat header wide of Cudicini. Bolton then took the upper hand for a period, cumulating with Pedersen being put through but shooting wide asfter being pushed to a tight angle by Cudicini coming out. It was a spellbinding game - both teams were playing good football and no-one knew who was more likely to score next. The game was marred though with Babayaro was dimissed for using an elbow in a clash with Djorkaeff. Chelsea have appealed the decision, but I don't think Youri is the sort of player to fake something like that to get a player sent off.

Of course, given the score, it was Chelsea. It actually started with Bolton's best chance to claim the game - Okocha played through in masses of space only to shoot wide when he had time to spare to draw the keeper and score. From the goal kick Zola ran at the Bolton area with the defense backing off. His looping cross was brushed by Hasselbaink (if he touched it at all, which I personally doubt) past Jaaskelainen into the net. That was in the last minute, and injury time was played out with little incident.

So honours even in the end and I suppose that was a fair result. At least Bolton are now showing enough skill, guile and style to run a side as illustrious as Chelsea's is very close indeed. In fact with a full strength defense, who knows they might have won. The fact that there is now the prospect of victory, rather than the fear of defeat, both apparently among the players and fans, is surely a sign that things are improving in large steps.