Sturridge seals win over Everton
Daniel Sturridge could turn out to be one of the signings of the January transfer window after his third goal in three games sealed a 2-0 victory for Bolton Wanderers over Everton.
On loan from Chelsea, the England U-21 striker put the match out of Everton's reach, extending Bolton's lead after England defender Gary Cahill opened the scoring with his first goal of the season. It was just the result the club were looking for after losing five out of their previous seven league games.
Coyle played down talk of signing Sturridge permanently, telling Sky Sports: "That's a discussion for May. Chelsea certainly have some of the world's finest strikers and Daniel, I believe, can really push himself into that category if he continues to develop."
Sturridge added: "I'm just delighted to be playing regular football. The manager's instilled a lot of confidence in me, he's told me to go out and play my normal game and just show everybody what I'm about."
While Wanderers are on the up, Everton continue to struggle and David Moyes' team remain only three points above the relegation zone. Moyes conceded his side face a battle to beat the drop. "I have felt that since the third week of the season," he said. "It's probably the poorest performance I can remember for a long time.
"We conceded two bad goals but overall we were really poor anyway and we never really got started. I am angry but I think the players know themselves that was way below the levels we have set in the last few years."
Bolton got the game off to a perfect start with Cahill opening the scoring in the tenth minute following Stuart Holden's free-kick on the left flank. He peeled away from his marker and saw his header come off Everton defender John Heitinga and wrong-foot Tim Howard.
Everton responded and should have equalised in 17th minute when Tim Cahill was left unmarked at the back post but fired wide following a cross from Leighton Baines. Bolton were forced to make a switch in the 27th minute with defender Zat Knight unable to continue. He fell awkwardly after tangling with Victor Anichebe and was replaced by David Wheater.
The home side kept up the pressure and won a free-kick 20 yards out after Heitinga was adjudged to have tripped Sturridge as he tried to race forward. Matt Taylor stepped up but only succeeded in drilling his effort into the arms of Howard. Everton again found themselves on the back foot in the 39th minute when Holden delivered a free kick to the back post. Howard, however, punched clear with Wheater waiting for any slip-ups.
Play switched down the other end and Cahill tested Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen from the edge of the area. The home side were looking the brighter of the two teams at this stage and Taylor attempted to pick out Sturridge in the area a minute before half-time. However, Phil Neville was perfectly positioned and made the interception at the post to concede a corner, much to Everton's relief.
Sturridge scores third in three games
Bolton started the second half on the front foot and won a free-kick in the 51st minute after Sturridge was tripped by Marouane Fellaini. Taylor stepped up 20 yards out but his effort failed to breach the defensive wall. Everton suddenly turned up the pace and Anichebe got into a good position in the area in the 56th minute only for Cahill to make a crucial block for Bolton.
Then Fellaini was set up by Seamus Coleman but he sent his effort high and wide of the woodwork. Bolton manager Owen Coyle decided to freshen things up in the 59th minute by bringing on Lee Chung-Yong for Taylor. This was a good spell by Everton with Cahill beginning to find more room in and around the area. He then sent a snap shot over the bar five minutes later.
However Bolton went 2-0 ahead in the 67th minute with Sturridge's third goal in three matches since arriving on loan from Chelsea. The striker smashed the ball into the corner from an acute angle following a flick-on from Lee. Holden found the net for Bolton in the 80th minute after a backheel from Sturridge. However, referee Lee Probert ruled out the American's effort, ruling that Sturridge had run the ball over the by-line.
Everton responded and substitute Jose Baxter rattled in a shot three minutes later that was parried by Jaaskelainen. Johan Elmander almost added a third for Bolton two minutes after Kevin Davies' knock-on, only to see his effort go marginally wide of the target. While Bolton were celebrating, these remain worrying times for Everton after only two wins in the league on the road.