Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • December 20, 2011 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton moved off the bottom of the Premier League after sealing a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, a result which means Rovers will be bottom at Christmas.

An early strike from Mark Davies calmed any nerves in the Wanderers camp, before Nigel Reo-Coker doubled the advantage on the half hour after exchanging passes with Martin Petrov.

Yakubu reduced the deficit midway through the second half and Rovers came close to equalising with the last attack of the game, only for Christopher Samba to somehow head wide of Jussi Jaaskelainen's post.

There was a tense atmosphere in the stadium prior to kick-off, with Rovers manager Steve Kean the subject of abuse from the home supporters.

If things weren't bad enough for the under-fire Blackburn boss, things became a lot worse with just five minutes on the clock as his side fell behind.

Samba failed to clear the ball from danger and after David Ngog had laid the ball back to Davies, the midfielder cut inside and fired low past Paul Robinson from just inside the box.

Blackburn were now on the back foot and saw two players enter the referee's notebook within a matter of minutes, with Mauro Formica and Jason Lowe being shown the yellow card by Martin Atkinson.

Midway through the half, Martin Petrov saw a shot deflected wide, before Gary Cahill struck into the stands moments later when he should really have hit the target.

Rovers were offering precious little in terms of attack and it came as no surprise when Bolton deservedly doubled their lead on the half hour.

After laying the ball off to Petrov, Reo-Coker received the return ball showed superb composure and skill to turn towards goal and slot into Robinson's bottom corner.

That prompted the home fans to signal their disgust towards their manager, with the Bolton fans happy to join in the taunting of the Blackburn boss.

On the pitch, the Blackburn players hit back and Simon Vukcevic hit the side netting on 34 minutes with the best opportunity they had created until that moment.

At the other end, Ngog saw a shot blocked by Grant Hanley, before Vukcevic saw a goalbound strike deflected away by Gary Cahill as the first half drew to a close.

Blackburn were out early for the start of the second period and the tactic almost worked as they came close to pulling a goal back within three minutes of the restart.

Junior Hoilett pulled the ball back to Steven Nzonzi and the Rovers midfielder sent the ball goalwards. Jaaskelainen appeared to be a beaten man and will have been relieved to see the ball fly over his crossbar.

Whatever Kean had said to his team at the break had obviously worked and Blackburn were looking the more likely goalscorers as Bolton began to struggle with the constant pressure from their opponents.

Wanderers were forced into a defensive change on the hour, with Paul Robinson coming on for the injured Marcos Alonso, who had produced a good performance after Saturday's disappointing show at Fulham.

Ivan Klasnic was denied a strike on goal just after the hour and they should have added a third moments later, only for Rovers to deny Ngog from close range.

Then, on 67 minutes, the hosts were back in the game. Beating the Bolton offside trap, Yakubu turned away from Cahill and latched on to Hoilett's through ball before dinking over the oncoming Jaaskelainen.

Inside the final 20 minutes, Rovers were denied a penalty when Rochina went down under a challenge from Robinson, before Yakubu hit the side netting with a fierce strike.

Bolton hit Blackburn on the counter attack with 12 minutes remaining and Tuncay, on as a substitute for Ngog, was inches away from connecting with a Petrov cross which would surely have sealed the victory.

Wanderers were inches away from adding a third in stoppage time, as Darren Pratley raced on to Petrov's pass before curling the ball agonisingly wide of Robinson's far post.

The visitors were almost punished for that miss in the final minute as Samba, acting as an emergency striker, rose highest to meet David Goodwillie's cross, only to see his header drop wide of the goal, with Jaaskelainen routed to the spot.

Referee Atkinson called time on events from the resulting goal kick, with Wanderers recording victory over their near neighbours, who replace Owen Coyle's side at the foot of the Premier League table.

Bolton return to action on Boxing Day when they welcome Newcastle United to the Reebok Stadium.

Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Lowe, Samba, Hanley, Pedersen, Hoilett, Dunn, Nzonzi, Vukcevic (Rochina 65), Formica (Goodwillie 65), Yakubu
Subs Not Used: Bunn, Petrovic, Blackman, Roberts, Henley
Booked: Formica, Lowe, Dunn
Goals: Yakubu 67

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Alonso (Robinson 57), M Davies, Reo-Coker, Muamba, Petrov, Klasnic (Pratley 81), Ngog (Tuncay 72)
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Eagles, K Davies, Boyata
Goals: M Davies 5, Reo-Coker 30

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Attendance: 25,570

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
15 Shrewsbury Town 26 30
16 Cambridge United 25 30
17 Bolton Wanderers 25 29
18 Lincoln City 25 28
19 Fleetwood Town 25 28
View Full Standings >>


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