Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Sunderland 2 Bolton 2

Kevin Davies can feel the hand of father time grabbing at his shoulder, but he continues to shrug it off to the relief of Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle.

At 35, Davies is maybe not the player he once was. He struggles to start two games in a week. The limbs ache, the muscles are sore, but he never relied on pace, even in his prime.

He remains vitally important to Bolton, scoring twice to secure another point in their battle against relegation on Wearside, while leading the line with a potent blend of power and finesse.

Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill offered Wanderers £250,000 for their captain in January, a derisory sum on the evidence of this performance against his side, although his interest in Davies remains.

Davies is out of contract at the end of the season and it is unclear whether he intends to extend his eight-year stay.

Sunderland will probably attempt to lure him away as they look for someone to groom their £8 million teenager Connor Wickham, but Coyle will fight to keep his veteran frontman, regardless of which division Bolton are in next season.

“He was superb,” said the Bolton manager. “He is a wonderful player and a terrific leader. He was playing with knocks earlier in the season and I told him to get himself fresh because we would need him at this stage.

“He has come roaring back and he is showing the sort of form that got him into the England squad last season. He’s not happy, though, because he gave away the free-kick for their second goal. That’s the sort of character he is.”

Davies opened the scoring, nodding the ball down to Martin Petrov before somehow managing to move into the area unmarked to volley the Bulgarian’s cross past Craig Gordon.

It was Gordon’s first appearance of the season after almost 18 months of injury problems, but he could do little to prevent Davies’s shot finding the back of the net after Matthew Kilgallon had failed to carry out the simple task of tracking the striker’s run.

The visitors, who were sent a good luck message via Twitter from Fabrice Muamba, had a couple of decent half chances before Davies pounced.

David Ngog had a shot blocked by Kilgallon before an even better intervention from Michael Turner denied Petrov. Gordon also touched a shot from Ngog onto the crossbar.

But the home side roused from their slumber before half-time and equalised through Nicklas Bendtner, who finished well after Jack Colback had delivered a through ball to him in the area.

That was Sunderland’s first goal in more than seven hours of football and they scored a second 10 minutes into the second-half when James McClean’s free-kick beat Adam Bogdan.

Bolton looked deflated, but Davies did not, lifting spirits when he outmuscled Kilgallon to head in an excellent cross from Sam Ricketts with 20 minutes remaining.

“He’s a fine player” said O’Neill. “He’s been a really good player for a considerable amount of time and he has shown how important he is to Bolton in their quest to stay in the league.

“If we’d have won today we could have gone up to eighth in the table, but I don’t think we are a top-eight team. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Bolton, who remain in the bottom three despite the draw, could have gone on to win it, but Ivan Klasnic curled a shot wide after good hold up play from Davies and was also denied by the feet of Gordon.

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