Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Blackburn Rovers

  • December 28, 2015 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL:

Bolton brought an end to a dismal 2015 by putting smiles back on supporters' faces, with Gary Madine on the scoresheet in a 1-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers.

Going into the game boasting a record of just one win in 29 games, with players unpaid since October and under a transfer embargo from the Football League, Wanderers bounced back from a 4-0 humiliation at Rotherham United on Boxing Day with a committed performance and a deserved win over their Lancashire neighbours.

The deciding moment of the game arrived with 13 minutes to play at Macron Stadium, as a long-throw from Dean Moxey was aimed at Madine. The former Sheffield Wednesday forward brought the ball down expertly on his chest, before volleying beyond Jason Steele in the Rovers goal on the half turn.

Blackburn pushed forward in desperate search of an equaliser and came agonisingly close in stoppage time, with Tom Lawrence seeing a deflected shot come back off the post, but it was to be Wanderers' afternoon as they celebrated a first win in 18 games.

Neil Lennon made four changes to the Bolton side that started at the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Boxing Day, with Prince-Desir Gouano, Josh Vela, Mark Davies and Madine taking the places of Dorian Dervite, Jay Spearing, Neil Danns and the injured Emile Heskey.

The first chance of the afternoon fell the way of the visitors, but Ben Marshall dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box as Rovers looked to gain an early advantage.

Bolton's first shooting opportunity arrived with eight minutes on the clock, with a wicked cross from Dean Moxey being turned on to the post by a sliding Zach Clough. The rebound fell kindly for Madine, whose rebound was cleared off the line by Marcus Olsson.

Danny Guthrie, who had a loan spell with the Trotters in the 2007/08 campaign, fancied his chances of netting against his former club midway through the half, but failed to keep his shot down after Bolton struggled to clear a corner.

Liam Feeney was causing problems down the Wanderers right as the half drew to a close and was left frustrated by a lack of attacking options when drilling a cross into the box, moments before Jordan Rhodes was denied by a combination of Darren Pratley and Gouano at the other end as the sides went in goalless at the break.

There were no changes to either side as the players emerged for the start of the second period, although Blackburn had been forced into a substitution in the closing stages of the opening 45 minutes, with Nathan Delfouneso replacing the injured Fode Koita.

With play resumed, it was Bolton who had the first attempt on goal, with Feeney firing over the top from the edge of the box, moments before Davies became the first player to enter the referee's book for an apparent dive.

Hope Akpan soon followed Davies into the book for a challenge on Vela, before Moxey joined the pair of them for a lunge on Craig Conway as he escaped away from the Wanderers full-back inside the final third.

From the resulting free-kick conceded by Moxey, Conway's free-kick was glanced towards goal by Shane Duffy. The Rovers fans behind the goal were on their feet anticipating the net bulging, but were left disappointed as his header flashed inches wide of Ben Amos' far post.

Blackburn then saw appeals for a penalty turned down by referee Jonathan Moss, after Adam Henley's cross appeared to strike the arm of Pratley, before a break from Wanderers resulted in Clough firing wide after being muscled off the ball by Grant Hanley.

Madine headed over the bar as the clocked ticked past the hour, before Blackburn twice came close to breaking the deadlock. First, a half-volley from Olsson was well held by Amos, before Rhodes saw a shot deflect wide from the next attack.

Neat play involving Clough and Davies ended with the ball falling at the feet of Madine on 73 minutes, but his tame strike was easily gathered by Steele, but the Bolton forward was more successful with his next attempt as the home side finally got the better of the visiting defence.

A long throw-in from Moxey was aimed at the chest of Madine, who brought the ball down expertly before turning and volleying past Steele from close range to give Lennon's side a 1-0 lead.

Vela looked certain to double that advantage with five minutes left to play, only to see his shot deflect behind off a hand, with referee Moss ignoring appeals for a penalty.

After failing to seriously test Amos throughout, Blackburn were inches away from taking a point inside five added minutes for stoppages, with a deflected shot from Lawrence coming back off the post and into the waiting arms of the Bolton goalkeeper.

With 'The Great Escape' echoing around Macron Stadium as the referee brought an end to events on the field, Bolton supporters erupted in cheer as they celebrated a first win since September and one that ensures they end perhaps the most miserable year in their history with something to smile about.

Wanderers will remain at the bottom of the Championship heading into the New Year, but can move up the ladder when they return to action on Saturday - Huddersfield Town the visitors.

Bolton Wanderers: Amos, Holding, Gouano, Wheater, Moxey, Vela, Pratley, Feeney, Clough, Davies, Madine
Subs Not Used: Rachubka, Spearing, Danns, Casado, Silva, Dobbie, Wilson
Booked: Davies, Moxey, Vela, Pratley
Goals: Madine 77

Blackburn Rovers: Steele, Henley (Taylor 88), Duffy, Hanley, Olsson, Conway, Akpan, Guthrie, Marshall, Koita (Delfouneso 45), Rhodes (Lawrence 77)
Subs Not Used: Spurr, Kilgallon, Eastwood, Williamson
Booked: Akpan, Duffy, Olsson

Referee: Jonathan Moss
Attendance: 18,048

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 >>


Who is Bolton's 2020/21 Player of the Year?
56.86% Ricardo Santos
17.79% Matt Gilks
10.64% Alex Baptiste
9.94% Eoin Doyle
2.52% Antoni Sarcevic
1.54% Gethin Jones
0.42% Nathan Delfouneso
0.28% Ryan Delaney