Daniel Sturridge maintained his current hot streak as the Bolton striker sealed a 2-0 win over Everton at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday.
Sturridge has been in superb form since his loan move from Chelsea on transfer deadline day and Everton were unable to stop the youngster, who was forced out of Stamford Bridge by the arrival of Fernando Torres, netting his third goal in three games.
Owen Coyle’s team had taken the lead through Gary Cahill’s first half header and Sturridge delivered the knockout blow with a fine finish as Bolton moved within one point of seventh placed Sunderland.
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.”
Coyle’s side had lost five of their previous seven league matches. Despite that disappointing run, the hosts looked confident enough early on and Gary Cahill was just off-target with a header from Matt Taylor’s corner.
Everton had been warned about Bolton’s ability from set-pieces but they failed to learn the lesson as Coyle’s men took the lead in the 10th minute.
Stuart Holden’s free-kick picked out Gary Cahill and the England defender powered down a header that deflected off Everton defender John Heitinga and past wrong-footed goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Everton should have equalised in the 17th minute when Tim Cahill was left unmarked at the back post, but the Australian miscued his shot woefully wide following a cross from Leighton Baines.
Bolton were forced to make a substitution when defender Zat Knight fell akwardly after tangling with Anichebe and was replaced by David Wheater.
Tim Cahill nearly took advantage of the Bolton reshuffle as he tested goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen from the edge of the area.
Everton threatened at the start of the second half when Marouane Fellaini was set up by Seamus Coleman but the midfielder sent his effort high and wide of the woodwork.
Tim Cahill was next to get into a good position as he volleyed over but Bolton went further ahead in the 67th minute.
South Korean Lee Chung-Yong, on as a substitute, threaded a pass through to Sturridge and he smashed his shot beyond Howard.
It could have been worse for Everton as Holden found the net in the 80th minute after a back heel from Sturridge. However referee Lee Probert ruled out the American’s effort, claiming that Sturridge had run the ball over the by-line.
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