Bolton Wanderers clambered out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 3-1 victory at Wigan Athletic on Saturday that ended a damaging run of six straight defeats.
A punishing schedule had seen Owen Coyle’s side beaten by Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea but they stopped the rot with a hard-earned win that lifted them one place above the bottom three.
Wigan, however, slip to second from bottom after registering their fifth consecutive reverse in the league.
The game at the DW Stadium was less than four minutes old when Bolton went ahead, with Nigel Reo-Coker getting ahead of Wigan centre-back Gary Caldwell to turn in Chris Eagles’ right-wing cross at the near post.
Eagles drew a good save from former Bolton keeper Ali Al-Habsi shortly afterwards and the Omani international was called into action in the 22nd minute, after Kevin Davies had deftly chested down a high ball and turned inside his marker.
Wigan equalised five minutes before half-time through a fine effort from Mohamed Diame, the French midfielder picking up the ball 25 yards from goal and curling a sumptuous effort beyond Jussi Jaaskelainen.
The home defence could not hold out until the break, however, as David Ngog restored Bolton’s lead on the verge of half-time after Steve Gohouri meekly conceded possession to Davies on the Wigan left.
Wigan coach Roberto Martinez sent on left-back Maynor Figueroa and striker Hugo Rodallega at half-time and the latter spurned a good opportunity to equalise when he shot straight at Jaaskelainen from Victor Moses’ cutback.
Rodallega’s introduction sparked Wigan into life but Bolton held firm and should have stretched their lead late in the second half when they were awarded a penalty for a push on Dedryck Boyata by Gary Caldwell.
Davies assumed responsibility for the spot-kick, but his weak attempt was comfortably repelled by Al-Habsi.
Fortunately for the Wanderers captain, Wigan’s defence remained in charitable mood and Eagles capped a fine individual performance with his side’s third goal after Antolin Alcaraz gave the ball away.
Watch video highlights below:
Wigan 1-3 Bolton Wanderers (First half highlights)
Wigan 1-3 Bolton Wanderers (Chris Eagles)