Blackburn Rovers 4-1 Bolton Wanderers

  • August 31, 2013 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/cbd81

Bolton dropped to the bottom of the Championship on Saturday, after an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Wanderers endured a miserable first half in the Lancashire derby and Rovers broke the deadlock with 27 minutes played courtesy of a fine individual goal from David Dunn. With the hosts well on top, they doubled the lead 60 seconds later as Jordan Rhodes pounced on a weak challenge from Zat Knight before firing low into the bottom corner of Adam Bogdan's goal.

Alex Baptiste pulled one back in the final minute of the first half, giving Bolton a lifeline. David Ngog had a shot cleared off the line after the restart, before Rovers restored their two goal lead as a deflected volley from Corry Evans found the top corner of the net. Rhodes added a second in the latter stages to complete the victory, with defeat meaning Wanderers have made their worst start to a season since 1984.

After defeat in the Capital One Cup at Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday night, Trotters boss Dougie Freedman reverted back to a similar side to the one that faced Queens Park Rangers last weekend. The only changes to that side saw Marc Tierney and the injured Tim Ream replaced by Tyrone Mears and Darren Pratley.

The two sides cancelled each other out in the early moments of the game, and it took 10 minutes for the first chance to arrive. It fell the way of the visitors, but David Ngog's 25-yard shot was straight at Jake Kean.

Wanderers were in again two minutes later and should probably have taken the lead. Ngog played a smart through ball to Jermaine Beckford, who was found unmarked on the edge of the Rovers box. The former Leeds United forward took the ball in his stride and tried to place his shot into the bottom corner. His finish was poor, however, with Kean making a relatively simple save down to his left.

Blackburn's first chance arrived at the midway stage of the half, as Joshua King's cross from the left was glanced wide by Rhodes.

Five minutes later, the hosts were ahead. After receiving the ball on the edge of the Bolton box, Dunn sold a dummy to both Baptiste and David Wheater, before doing the same to Knight, leaving all three on the floor, and poking the ball beyond a helpless Bogdan to give Rovers the lead.

Things got better for Gary Bowyer's side, as they doubled their advantage just 60 seconds later. Rhodes emerged with the ball after a 50/50 challenge with Knight and kept his composure to send a delicate crisp shot into the bottom corner, out of the reach of the Bolton goalkeeper.

It could have been game over 10 minutes before the break, but Bogdan spared Wanderers' blushes by tipping a Ben Marshall shot on to the post. Bogdan was on hand again two minutes before the break, this time flying to his right to prevent a thunderbolt from Rhodes heading into the top corner.

That save would prove to be vital, as Bolton pulled one back in the final minute of the half. After Kean failed to hold a shot from Ngog, Wanderers retained possession and Jay Spearing picked out an unmarked Baptiste inside the Rovers box. The former Blackpool defender took one touch, before drilling a stunning strike across goal and into the far corner with his left boot - one that many a striker would have been proud of.

It would be the final act of an otherwise disappointing first half for the visitors, as they went in 2-1 down at the interval.

There were no changes to either side for the start of the second period, as Bolton went in search of an equaliser which looked beyond any sort of reality in the closing stages of the first half.

Five minutes after the restart, a half-chance for Wanderers saw Beckford receive the ball on the edge of the box. He showed good skill to bring the ball under control with his right foot, before opting to shoot early with his left. Unfortunately for him, the finish didn't match the build-up and the ball rolled harmlessly out of play.

Freedman's side were well on top in the early stages of the second half and were unlucky not to pull themselves level just two minutes later. After defending a Blackburn corner, Wanderers raced out on the counter-attack and Beckford released Ngog. From inside his own half, the Frenchman ran 60 yards with the ball, twisted and turned away from two defenders, before seeing his shot cleared off the line with the goalkeeper beaten.

The next ten minutes saw a number of substitutions, with Chris Eagles and Andre Moritz replacing Pratley and Ngog for Bolton, while the Rovers swap saw Evans come on for Dunn.

Still going in search of an equaliser, Bolton came agonisingly close to finding it with 63 minutes played. Lee Chung-Yong did well to work a way into the box from the left flank, before cutting the ball back to Spearing. The one-time Blackburn transfer target struck an effort low towards goal, but a wicked deflection took it inches wide of the post.

Then, with 20 minutes to go, and arguably against the run of play, Blackburn scored a stunning third to kill off Wanderers' hopes and effectively seal the points. After a game of pinball inside the visitors' box, Knight's looping clearance fell into the path of Evans 25 yards from goal. Evans, the younger brother of Manchester United's Jonny, struck a sweet first-time volley, which took a slight flick off the head of Spearing and past the despairing dive of Bogdan.

Craig Davies replaced the poor Medo Kamara for the final 10 minutes, but the change failed to add anything to a deflated Bolton side. Indeed, it was Rovers who continued to enjoy the better of the play and they came close with 10 minutes left as King shot just wide of the target after a quick-throw.

King shot over the top moments later, before Blackburn completed the rout by adding a fourth with seven minutes to play. A poor clearance from Wheater was pounced upon by Todd Kane. The full-back ran unopposed into the Wanderers box and centred for Rhodes to tap past Bogdan from close range to seal a 4-1 victory for Rovers and send Bolton to the bottom of the Championship.

Domestic football takes a two-week break due to the forthcoming international fixtures, so Freedman will be hoping to use the next fortnight to prepare his side for their next game - at home to Leeds United on September 14.

Blackburn Rovers: Kean, Kane, Hanley, Dann, Spurr, King (Morris 84), Lowe, Dunn (Evans 59), Marshall (Taylor 67), Cairney, Rhodes
Subs Not Used: Kilgallon, Best, Eastwood, Judge
Booked: Hanley
Goals: Dunn 27, Rhodes 28,83, Evans 70

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears, Knight, Wheater, Baptiste, Pratley (Eagles 56), Kamara (C Davies 79), Spearing, Chung-Yong, Ngog (Moritz 58), Beckford
Subs Not Used: Mills, Hall, Tierney, Lonergan
Booked: C Davies, Moritz
Goals: Baptiste 45

Referee: Keith Stroud
Attendance: 15,882

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Peterborough United 3 1
21 Bristol Rovers 3 1
22 Southend United 3 0
23 Bolton Wanderers 3 -11
24 Bury 0 -12
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