Report: Blackburn 4-1 Bolton
Bolton Wanderers fell to a 4-1 defeat at neighbours Blackburn Rovers in their final game prior to the international break.
A brace from Jordan Rhodes and two superb individual efforts from David Dunn and substitute Corey Evans sealed the points for Gary Bowyer’s men.
Defender Alex Baptiste scored Wanderers’ consolation, his first for the club on the stroke of half time, but it wasn’t enough for Dougie Freedman’s men.
Full back Tyrone Mears was awarded for his impressive performance at Tranmere with a place in Freedman’s starting line-up against neighbours Blackburn Rovers.
Hosts Rovers handed a debut to winger Ben Marshall following his move from Leicester City earlier this week.
As expected, it was a frantic start to proceedings at Ewood Park, with a lively atmosphere created by both supporters inside the stadium.
Nine minutes in and Wanderers, playing in their infra-red away strip for the second consecutive match, created their first opportunity when French striker David Ngog drilled a 20-yard effort goal bound, but it was an easy collection for young goalkeeper Jake Kean.
One minute later, Freedman’s men should have taken the lead at Ewood Park as they went in search of their fifth consecutive win over their North West neighbours.
Crafty play between strike duo Ngog and Beckford saw the latter go clean through on goal, however he couldn’t get any venom on the strike as Kean made his second easy save inside 60 seconds.
A couple of half chances followed for Rovers marksman Rhodes, with possession being given away cheaply by the visitors throughout the opening 25 minutes.
Blackburn’s short spell of pressure paid dividends as a fine piece of individual skill from Rovers veteran Dunn handed the hosts the lead.
Dunn rolled back the years as he skipped away from three Bolton challenges and cleverly finished in front of the Darwen End.
Immediately after Dunn’s opener, Rovers extended their lead at Ewood Park as it was third time lucky in front of goal for former Huddersfield striker Rhodes.
The Scotland international came out on the right end of a tangle with Zat Knight for possession on the edge of the Bolton penalty area.
Squirming away from Wanderers’ skipper, Rhodes went clean through on goal and calmly finished past Adam Bogdan.
After a positive start for the visitors, Wanderers were struggling to recover from Rovers’ two quick fire goals and debutant Marshall nearly made it three just after the half hour mark.
A sweeping move on the right resulted in Marshall on the edge of the ‘D’ curling a right footed effort away from Bogdan, crashing the right hand post.
Rhodes, in search of his fourth of the season was further denied by a fantastic save from Bogdan just before the half time whistle as he looked to punish Bolton further.
However, the game was blown wide open as Baptiste pulled a goal back for Wanderers on the stroke of half time with an excellent strike, his first for the club.
The full back, found in an advanced position in the Blackburn Rovers penalty area, was cleverly picked out by Jay Spearing. Turning well, the former Blackpool man drilled the ball into the roof of the net leaving Kean with no chance.
Wanderers were in high spirits heading into the second half, and were inches away from an equaliser in the 50th minute when Ngog tried to arc the ball into the far corner, but Todd Kane, on loan from Europa League holders Chelsea, was perfectly situated on the line to clear.
Bolton’s promising start to the second half continued, and in the 54th minute Freedman made his first change, with Eagles coming on for Pratley. Wanderers’ second change quickly followed, with Brazilian Andre Moritz on for Ngog.
However, despite their second half efforts, Rovers regained their two goal advantage in the 69th minute through another superb individual goal.
Unable to clear Blackburn’s initial attack, substitute Evans hit a thunderous volley from the edge of the penalty box leaving Bogdan helpless in the Bolton goal.
Three became four for Blackburn 12 minutes later as Rhodes grabbed his second of the afternoon with an easy finish from three yards out.
The Ipswich Town youth team graduate has Kane to thank after tireless work from the England youth international, who nicked in front of Wheater to deliver the cross for Rhodes.
After a frustrating afternoon for Bolton, the full time whistle went with the Whites now having a two week international break before their next game, with Leeds United next on the agenda at the Reebok Stadium