A confident performance saw Wanderers take all three points from their Lancashire derby clash against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, extending their unbeaten run under Dougie Freedman to six games.
Bolton made six changes to the side that snatched a point away at Brighton on Saturday, with Matt Mills, Tim Ream, Mark Davies, Darren Pratley, David Ngog and Benik Afobe making way. Sam Ricketts, Jay Spearing, Keith Andrews, Jacob Butterfield, Chung-Yong Lee and captain Kevin Davies all returned to the starting XI.
And it was Kevin Davies who got Bolton off to a dream start after just two minutes. Chris Eagles picked the ball up on the right-hand side and slid a pass through to the skipper, who lashed his shot past Paul Robinson and into the roof of the Rovers net.
The visitors then began to settle, with some neat passing in the middle of the pitch between Spearing, Andrews and Butterfield. Eagles was lively in a roaming midfield role and when occupying the left flank was supported well by Stephen Warnock pushing forward from full-back.
Blackburn’s first real chance of note came after 22 minutes. Josh King put in an inviting cross for Mauro Formica and the forward met it with his head, but Adam Bogdan was equal to it.
Eagles then twice went close, powering a drive towards goal which Robinson could only parry and moments later he had another crack on target, Andrews finding him with a delightful lofted pass, only for the winger to see his first-time effort again palmed away.
Wanderers carried on pushing forward and continued to find joy down the left, as Warnock delivered a low cross along the six yard line but neither Davies nor Andrews could make anything of the chance.
In the 43rd minute Rovers skipper Danny Murphy could have drawn the hosts level. Martin Olsson’s cross was missed by all the intended targets in the middle of Bolton’s penalty area, but Murphy, arriving at the far post, smashed his volley high over the bar.
After the restart there were few clear-cut chances for either side until the 57th minute, when Butterfield went close to increasing Bolton’s advantage. The midfielder received the ball about 25-yards from goal and, seeing Robinson slightly off his line, tried an audacious chip but the ‘keeper was able to back-pedal and claw the ball away from the top corner.
Although it didn’t take long for Wanderers to double their lead. Eagles was fouled midway inside the Blackburn half but picked himself up to fire a wicked, dipping free-kick towards goal. Robinson did well to get a glove to the ball but only succeeded in touching it onto the post. It rebounded into the six-yard box with Chung-Yong reacting quickest, tapping in the rebound.
Blackburn could have pulled a goal back two minutes later when Formica, unmarked at the far post, took the ball down cleverly and unleashed a thunderous drive that was heroically blocked by Warnock.
With nine minutes left to play the hosts did have a goal to celebrate. A tempting diagonal cross from the left channel was met by the head of Jordan Rhodes, with Bogdan unable to deny the Scot his tenth goal in Blackburn colours.
Blackburn threw everybody forward, including goalkeeper Robinson, in the dying seconds but Wanderers stood firm and held on to the points in a game the team fully deserved to win.
Blackburn: Robinson, Henley, Dann, Hanley, Mn Olsson, Rochina (Pedersen 69), Murphy, Etuhu (Lowe 62), King (Kazim-Richards 71), Formica, Rhodes (Unused subs: Kean, Givet, Ms Olsson, Vukcevic)
Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears, Knight, Ricketts, Warnock, Spearing, Andrews, Butterfield (Petrov 73), Eagles (Pratley 81), Chung-Yong (Mills 89), K Davies (Unused subs: Lonergan, Ream, Afobe, Ngog)