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Match Report


Posted Sat 24 Mar 12 at 18:10 PM

Report: Wanderers 2 Blackburn 1

David Wheater's unlikely brace ensured Wanderers hauled themselves out of the relegation zone on what was an emotional afternoon at the Reebok Stadium, in the first game since Fabrice Muamba's collapse seven days earlier.

Inside the space of six first half minutes, the Redcar-born defender twice found the net with his head from respective crosses from the impressive Martin Petrov and Ryo Miyaichi.

Steven Nzonzi reduced arrears after the interval following a long throw in.

Though Owen Coyle's charges held on for three crucial points to secure back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time this season in front of a capacity stadium.

In the 15 or so minutes in the run-up to kick-off, a capacity stadium united to show its support for Fabrice Muamba.

A touching compilation video was shown on the stadium's big screen, before during an impeccably observed period of applause just over 5,000 fans in the lower tier of the East Stand each raised a individual cards to create a spectacular 'MUAMBA 6' mosaic.

There was an electric atmosphere inside the stadium as referee Andre Marriner got the game underway.

That positivity was reflected in Wanderers' early play. Skipper Nigel Reo-Coker and Darren Pratley wasted no time in snapping into early tackles in the midfield areas.

That didn't allow Blackburn to settle and in truth they never really looked comfortable for the duration of the opening 45.

Petrov stung Paul Robinson's hands from distance in the game's first attempt on goal of note.

There was a nervy moment for Wanderers on 24 minutes, when Junior Hoillet tumbled over Gretar Steinsson's stray leg in the Bolton penalty area. The Canadian was adamant Marriner should point to the spot but the man in the middle didn't agree.

Instead Blackburn's worries came in the other penalty area, as Wanderers took the lead.

Wheater did well to react inside the penalty area and head home Petrov's left wing cross that had taken a slight nick off Nzonzi.

Fabrice Muamba's name echoed around the Reebok Stadium.

Steve Kean's men main threat came from twin Olsson brothers Martin and Marcus down the left flank. The Swedish pair readily fed the supply lines for lone striker Yakubu who came close to restoring parity.

The stocky Nigerian striker couldn't quite turn in Martin Olsson's curling cross.

As Blackburn went in search of an equaliser, Bolton were able to capitalise. Wheater doubled his and Bolton's tally with another well placed header from Ryo Miyaichi's swirling corner kick.

After half time Petrov, whose presence on the left side on an attacking Bolton front three caused endless problems for the visitors, delivered another superb ball from wide. The Bulgarian picked out David Ngog who couldn't quite direct his header on target.

It seemed Bolton were in control, though Blackburn reduced the deficit from a routine long throw.

Morten Gamst Pedersen hurled the ball to the near post where Nzonzi glanced beyond Bogdan in a flash.

Mark Davies should have restored Wanderers' two goal lead but headed Ryo's right wing cross narrowly wide on the hour mark.

As time ticked away Rovers resulted to the long ball, bombarding the Wanderers rearguard. Though Tim Ream and Wheater responded well, dominating in the air.

Yakubu had a late sniff of a chance from Hoillet's near post cross, but ultimately Bolton held on for three points.

Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Wheater, Ream, Ricketts, Reo-Coker, Pratley, M Davies, Petrov, Ryo, Ngog (Klasnic 78) (Unused substitutes: Jaaskelainen, Alonso, Eagles, Knight, K Davies, Sordell)

Blackburn: Robinson, Martin Olsson, Formica (Dunn 68), Pedersen, Nzonzi, Dann, Marcus Olsson, Hoillet, Yakubu, Hanley, Lowe (Unused substitutes: Bunn, Orr, Vukcevic, Petrovic, Modeste, Goodwillie)

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