BOLTON, United Kingdom, April 9, 2011 (AFP) - Bolton striker Daniel Sturridge scored twice to inspire a 3-0 win over West Ham on Saturday that left Avram Grant's side deep in relegation trouble.
Sturridge, on loan from Chelsea, put Owen Coyle's team ahead in the early stages at the Reebok Stadium and then netted again in the second half after South Korean midfielder Lee Chung-Yong had bagged Bolton's second goal.
The Hammers remain third bottom of the table and one point from safety. That gap could grow to four points if Blackpool beat Arsenal on Sunday.
The only bad news for Bolton is the knowledge that Sturridge, who now has six goals in eight games for Wanderers, will be absent when they face Stoke in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley next weekend as he played for Chelsea earlier in the competition.
Bolton almost got off to a perfect start after Kevin Davies picked out Sturridge in the penalty area in the third minute.
He fired in a shot that took a deflection off West Ham defender Manuel da Costa. Gary Cahill then got on the end of Martin Petrov's corner but saw his header go wide of the post.
Bolton took the lead in the 14th minute with a superb curling strike by Sturridge after he was played in by Johan Elmander.
Davies should have added a second in the 18th minute but dragged his effort wide but a minute later Bolton got the second goal.
West Ham failed to close down Martin Petrov and he swung in a cross that was headed firmly home by Lee.
Grant's struggling team had blown a two-goal lead against Manchester United last weekend and that defeat seemed to have taken its toll.
They finally threatened when Thomas Hitzlsperger tested Jussi Jaaskelainen with a shot from the edge of the box.
But Bolton responded and went further ahead in the 51st minute with Sturridge's second goal of the game.
He drifted in from the left and got the better of Scott Parker on the edge of the area before steering a shot beyond Robert Green.
A minute later West Ham almost pulled a goal back but Jaaskelainen reacted magnificently to somehow claw away a header from Demba Ba.
Bolton continued to look dangerous every time they broke forward and Sturridge was again left frustrated in the 68th minute when his shot grazed a post.
The crowd were willing Sturridge to get his hat-trick but the young striker squandered a glorious chance from close range in stoppage time.