Nightmare return for Coyle as Bolton bow out

Nightmare return for Coyle as Bolton bow out

Burnley 1 Bolton 0

Owen Coyle endured a miserable return to Burnley as Wade Elliott’s first-half goal sent his Bolton charges crashing out of the Carling Cup.

On his first appearance back at Turf Moor since making the controversial switch across Lancashire in January, Coyle was demonised from first minute to last.

More importantly, his team lost as well, courtesy of the man whose goal at Wembley took Burnley – and Coyle – into the Premier League 17 short months ago.

The latest crucial Elliott strike was an acrobatic volley a minute before the break after the Bolton defence had got itself into a mess trying to snuff out the danger from a cross by man-of-the-match Chris Eagles that both Jack Cork and Chris Iwelumo tried to convert.

It left Coyle to take a long, lonely walk back to the visitors’ dressing rooms, the boos ringing in his ears, just as they had done a couple of hours earlier when he had emerged.

Coyle handled the build-up in a dignified manner, refusing to get involved in a slanging match with his old club even though he must have known what was waiting for him as he emerged from the tunnel in the David Fishwick Stand.

Flanked by eight yellow-coated stewards, the Scot walked across the field to the visitors’ dug-out, the noise getting louder as he reached his destination.

To be depicted as a Judas – as he was verbally and on the cards dotted around the stadium he used to call home – must have been galling considering what the Scot achieved for the Lancashire outfit.

But passions run deep in these parts. Recent history may suggest otherwise but Burnley fans do not view their club inferior to Bolton, especially as when Coyle left in January, the Clarets were actually higher than Bolton in the Premier League table.

The pair passed soon afterwards, as Burnley tumbled straight out of the top flight.

Clearly though, in the stands at least, this was a chance to settle a score or two.

Burnley nearly got off to a flying start.

Chris Eagles brought an excellent save out of Adam Bogdan and then blasted an angled drive against the post in the opening couple of minutes.

Jay Rodriguez suffered similar misfortune from the other side of the area later in the opening period, although by that time Bolton had got themselves a toehold in the game, with Rodrigo Moreno looking particularly threatening.

You had to acknowledge Coyle’s guts. When it would have been easier to just slink away at the break, he darted out to the centre-circle to question the legality of Burnley’s opener with referee Mark Clattenburg.

The official indeed had been waving play on after Bogdan had pushed Elliott’s volley out. But an eagle-eyed assistant had spotted the ball was over the line and after due consultation, Burnley went into the interval ahead.

It took Bolton longer than expected to get going and longer than anticipated for Coyle to start introducing some experience off the bench.

The best move of the night should have received an appropriate reward when Moreno and Ivan Klasnic combined superbly to release Tamir Cohen.

With enough time to check inside and steady himself, it seemed certain Cohen would equalise.

Instead he drilled a poor effort into the side-netting.

Coyle finally introduced Johan Elmander to try and save the day, although he was soon embroiled in an argument with the fourth official over some of Clattenburg’s decisions which, admittedly, seemed to defy logic.

Rodriguez wasted a superb chance to wrap up the win when Eagles released him with an inspired pass, only for the midfielder to drag his shot wide of the far post.

Elmander had one opportunity to rescue the Trotters but failed to find the target to leave the Burnley fans in raptures and Coyle to face more taunts from so many who used to adore him.

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