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Match Report


Posted Sat 30 Apr 11 at 21:30 PM

Report: Blackburn 1 Wanderers 0

An early goal from Martin Olsson decided the Lancashire derby between Blackburn and Bolton at Ewood Park.

In a match devoid of many clear cut opportunities, the Sweden international hit the all-important goal after 20 minutes to give his side the win that boosted their Premier League survival bid.

Blustery conditions, along with Blackburn's resilience after taking the lead, hampered the game as a spectacle in what was, in the main, a rather scrappy affair.

The outcome could have been different had Wanderers managed to convert one of their early chances, particularly when Rodrigo struck the woodwork inside the opening quarter of an hour.

Ewood Park

With the trip to Ewood Park being Wanderers third fixture within the space of seven days, Manager Owen Coyle opted to freshen up his starting line-up.

There were no less than four changes from the defeat at Fulham as Adam Bogdan, Ricardo Gardner, Rodrigo and David Wheater all came into the team at the expense of Jussi Jaaskelainen, Gretar Steinsson, Chung-Yong Lee and Fabrice Muamba.

In a complete contrast to last season's meeting - when snow, hail and rain poured from the skies - bright sunny conditions heralded this Lancashire derby.

Rodrigo, who was making his league first start in three months, seemed to be relishing his opportunity on the right-side of midfield and he was a constant threat to the Blackburn defence in the early exchanges.

Inside the first 15 minutes the Brazilian-born youngster saw a close-range effort deflected round the post and a ferocious 30-yard half-volley miss the target by a matter of inches, whilst he also struck the woodwork having capitalised on some hesitant defending by Blackburn.

But, in unfortunate circumstances, it was a misplaced pass from the on-loan Benfica attacker which led to the opening goal for Blackburn on 20 minutes.

Having cut inside, the winger looked to thread a neat through ball to Matt Taylor, but Michel Salgado read the danger and made the interception. Martin Olsson was released by the former Real Madrid man and having carried the ball a short distance, his left-footed effort from the edge of the box evaded Bogdan and found the back of the net.

In all fairness, whilst it could be argued that Rovers didn't deserve to be the team to get the early lead, Olsson had certainly been the home side's main source of creativity.

Prior to getting himself on the scoresheet, the Swedish midfielder had seen a shot headed off the goal-line by Paul Robinson, and in Blackburn's next attack after breaking the deadlock, Bogdan this time thwarted Olsson by making a fine low save down to his right.

Generally, the pace of the game relented after the opening goal but Wanderers continued to press and probe during the remainder of the first half forcing corners at regular intervals, however Blackburn's defence looked more solid and organised as the half progressed.

The first 20 minutes of the second period ticked by at a sedate pace with no chances to note, and that sparked three quick-fire substitutions by Coyle just after the hour mark. Rodrigo, Matt Taylor and Johan Elmander were all withdrawn and replaced by Chung-Yong Lee, Ivan Klasnic and Martin Petrov.

Play was scrappy and fragmented, and an injury to Salgado didn't help the flow of the game. Indeed, the action was stopped for a prolonged period when the full-back landed awkwardly and needed medical attention before eventually being stretchered from the field.

His replacement, Mame Diouf, wasted a gilt-edged opportunity to make the game more or less safe for Blackburn just minutes after his introduction as, eventually, the second half came to life late on.

The on-loan Manchester United man seized on a half-clearance by Gary Cahill but could only contrive to skew his finish over the crossbar from 12 yards out.

In a much more open last ten minutes, Steven Nzonzi headed narrowly wide with Bogdan out of position, before doing something similar in stoppage time, much to the frustration of the home supporters.

With the score at 1-0 there were plenty of nerves around Ewood Park, and Bolton launched plenty of long balls into the Blackburn area in search for the half-chance that could possibly earn a point. But it was a similar tale to that of the game at Craven Cottage three days earlier, with the ball just not dropping for a Wanderers player in the final third.

The closest Bolton came to nicking an equalising goal was when Ivan Klasnic capitalised on a flicked header from Kevin Davies, but the Croatian's attempt lacked direction and his left-foot shot powered past the far post.

Blackburn: Robinson, Jermaine Jones, Olsson, Samba, Givet, Emerton, Nzonzi, Benjani (Kalinic 64), Salgado (Diouf 76), Phil Jones, Roberts (Pedersen 78) (Subs not used: Bunn, Santa Cruz, Rochina, Hanley)

Wanderers: Bogdan, Robinson, Cahill, Knight, Wheater, Rodrigo (Chung-Yong 60), Gardner, Cohen, Taylor (Klasnic 66), Kevin Davies, Elmander (Petrov 66) (Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Muamba, Blake, Alonso)

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