Middlesbrough 4 Bolton Wanderers 3

Last updated : 26 March 2006 By Footymad Previewer
No-one could grumble over the entertainment at the Riverside Stadium.

Seven goals, with two penalties, a two-goal fightback by Bolton, and a dramatic injury-time winning goal by Middlesbrough.

Not surprisingly, the Boro fans were in jubilant mood after the final whistle.

Defeat was a blow to Bolton's European hopes, but for Middlesbrough it dispelled any lingering doubts that they could be sucked into the relegation zone.

The win was a tremendous boost for Middlesbrough before their UEFA Cup tie in Basle on Thursday night.

Bolton, however, would be bitterly disappointed over their failure to climb into sixth spot in the Premier League table.

Anyone who thought it would be a dour battle soon changed their minds as Bolton snatched an early lead and Middlesbrough equalised, within the opening eight minutes.

Stelios Giannakopoulos shot Bolton into the lead after three minutes from close range after he won a challenge against Franck Queudrue and Andrew Davies.

Boro manager Steve McClaren, watching from the main stand, must have been unhappy over the goal.

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce would have been equally frustrated when Middlesbrough levelled the scores through a Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink penalty five minutes later.

Joey O'Brien, for some unknown reason, handled the ball inside the box.

Bolton protested but referee Howard Webb had no hesitation over a blatant offence. Hasselbaink scored with a shot that went under the body of Jussi Jaaskelainen.

At the other end, Mark Schwarzer made a brilliant save from veteran Gary Speed. Following a short free-kick by Jay-Jay Okocha, Speed looked a certain scorer before Schwarzer just got to the ball inside the post with a full-length save.

Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka, with his close control, were a threat to Bolton and they combined to put Middlesbrough ahead after 30 minutes.

Fabio Rochemback lifted the ball into the penalty area where Hasselbaink chested it down for Viduka to score from close range.

It was just reward for Middlesbrough's improving approach work.

A fierce Okocha shot was headed over his own bar by Ugo Ehiogu to deny Bolton an equaliser.

Middlesbrough deserved their interval lead after an action-packed first half and it looked as though it would be plain sailing for the home side when Hasselbaink flicked the ball over Jaaskelainen for a third goal two minutes after the break.

Bolton sent on substitute Jared Borgetti and the Mexican striker was involved in a penalty for Bolton within four minutes of his introduction.

Middlesbrough could have no complaints when Ehiogu brought down Borgetti.

Schwarzer saved the first attempt of Okocha, but the Nigerian followed up to score with the goalkeeper on the deck.

The goal boosted Bolton's confidence and they stepped up the tempo in a determined bid to pull the game round.

Radhi Jaidi levelled the scores with a header from a crowded goalmouth after a cross by Ricardo Gardner with ten minutes to go.

At this stage Bolton looked the more likely winners with their improved attacking play.

Boro, however, grabbed the three points in a thrilling finale. Substitute Yakubu provided a left-wing cross and full-back Stuart Parnaby finished at the far post.