Sun 22 Nov 09
at 16:06 PM
Report: Bolton 0 Blackburn 2
A curling effort from David Dunn and a Sam Ricketts own goal gave Blackburn the three points in Sunday's Lancashire derby.
The midfielder finished off a counter attack from the visitors in the first-half after Matt Taylor had struck Paul Robinson's crossbar with a deflected free-kick only seconds earlier.
And then with 18 minutes remaining, Ricketts inadvertently nodded into his own net following a misunderstanding with his goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Following the defeat at Aston Villa a fortnight ago, boss Gary Megson made no less than four changes to his starting line-up. There was also an alteration in formation as Johan Elmander was partnered alongside captain Kevin Davies in an attack-minded 4-4-2 formation.
Blackburn tried to test Jussi Jaaskelainen with a couple of long distance drives in the opening exchanges of the contest. Both attempts from Dunn and Di Santo were off-target in what was generally an even start. Matt Taylor was Wanderers' main threat and on two occasions, Blackburn's defence had to be alert to dangerous inswinging free-kicks.
But after a fairly lively start, the pace of the game became very relaxed and chances were at a premium.
After 22 minutes Gary Cahill was forced to make a vital clearance from underneath his own crossbar. David Dunn had managed to get his head on a bouncing ball inside the penalty area but the athletic central defender used all ofhis defensive attributes to firstly anticipate the danger before stretching to kick the ball away to safety.
Ricardo Gardner had been Wanderers main source of ingenuity in the first half and twice he came close to giving his team the advantage either side of the half hour mark. Firstly the Jamaican was inches away from nodding in Taylor's cross before he embarked on a mazy run through the middle of the park and shot fractionally wide with his weaker right foot.
But after Bolton's bright five-minute spell, which also witnessed Taylor strike the crossbar with a deflected free-kick, they found themselves a goal behind.
A swift counter-attack resulted in Di Santo drifting in from the left touchline and playing in Roberts, who used his strength to lay the ball off Dunn. From an acute angle, the Rovers midfielder bent an effort into the top corner of the goal which found the net despite brushing the finger tips of Jaaskelainen.
Bolton's response was encouraging as they went in search of an equaliser, and just on the stroke of half-time Taylor went close with a free header from just five yards out.
Three minutes after the restart and Bolton were grateful to Gavin McCann as the recalled central midfielder headed the ball away from his own goal-line to prevent El Hadji Diouf from scoring on his return to the Reebok. The Senegalese forward hit a crisp volley that beat Jaaskelainen, but McCann had retreated back and nodded over for a corner.
As with the first-half, Gardner was managing to find an inch or two's worth of space and twice he was off-target with Bolton's best chances in the opening exchanges of the second half. Taylor too shot wide with a 30-yard daisy cutter that zipped off the wet Reebok turf.
Jaaskelainen produced the save of the game on 64 minutes, preventing Rovers from doubling their lead with a point-blank stop from Di Santo. In the same period of pressure, McCann once again proved to be in the right place at the right time by producing another headed clearance from Roberts' effort.
A change was deemed necessary by Gary Megson and the man to make way was Elmander for Ivan Klasnic. Chung-Yong Lee and Mark Davies were also introduced from the bench in place of Gardner and McCann on 68 minutes.
The treble substitution had an immediate effect as Taylor brought Paul Robinson into action with a stinging right-foot attempt that the England keeper could only palm away.
But Wanderers attempts to find the equalising goal were dealt a blow when a Sam Ricketts own goal gave Blackburn a 2-0 lead on 73 minutes.
Jaaskelainen came racing from his line to clear Emerton's searching pass from the halfway line, but there was a communication breakdown in defence, and Ricketts nodded the ball into the unguarded net that Jaaskelainen had vacated.
It was a goal totally out of the blue and a moment that rather typified Wanderers' day. They had found their opponents extremely resilient in defence and despite pressing in the final stages, Paul Robinson and Blackburn's defence proved to be unbreakable.
The closest that the Trotters did come was when Klasnic saw a bit of individual brilliance thwarted, as after collecting the ball and rounding Robinson, substitute Jacobsen produced a last-ditch sliding tackle to preserve the visitors' clean sheet.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, O'Brien, Cahill, Samuel, McCann (Mark Davies 70), Muamba, Gardner (Chung-Yong 70), Taylor, Elmander (Klasnic 68), Kevin Davies (Subs not used: Al-Habsi, Basham, Knight, Steinsson)
Blackburn: Robinson, Samba, Givet (Jacobsen 36), Nelsen, Emerton, Dunn (Grella 85), Roberts, Nzonzi, Diouf, Di Santo (McCarthy 72), Chimbonda (Subs not used: Andrews, Kalinic, Salgado, Brown, McCarthy)