Report: Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Bolton
Wanderers and Blackburn played out a feisty 0-0 draw under the floodlights at Ewood Park on Friday evening.
Following a goalless first period of few clear cut chances, the second half sprung into life late on in the clash as Fode Koita saw an effort ruled out for offside, while Emile Heskey’s shot was cleared off the line with three minutes remaining.
There was still time for late drama as Dorian Dervite saw red for a second bookable offence late on, but the game ended all square.
There was just the one change for Wanderers, with Liam Feeney taking the place of Tom Walker in the starting XI, while Mark Davies once again donned the armband in the absence of Darren Pratley.
On the opposition bench meanwhile, there was a place for former Bolton loanee Danny Guthrie following his recent move to the club.
The game started in a pacey fashion, with both teams showing their intent from the word go.
The hosts were to enjoy the first real opportunity of the game however just two minutes in, with Grant Hanley’s header from a Tommy Spurr free-kick into a crowded box narrowly clearing the crossbar.
The fierce derby factor of the game took only seven minutes to grab hold of the clash, with Dean Moxey brandished the first yellow card of the match for a challenge on Jordan Rhodes.
As time passed however, Wanderers appeared to be growing into the game a little more although Rovers were enjoying the more notable chances in front of goal with Ben Marshall seeing a shot from close range blocked by Prince.
Wanderers then had two penalty calls squandered in quick succession, firstly Zach Clough and then Davies being upended in the area, only for the referee to remain unmoved despite the cries of protestation from the Bolton players and fans.
The game was certainly opening up, with the Whites finding themselves further and further up the field, while a last ditch challenge from Dorian Dervite prevented Rhodes from collecting a downfield punt in the box.
It was certainly anybody’s game as the clock reached the half hour mark, with both goalkeepers having to be on their toes as Craig Conway’s ball across goal somehow eluded three Blackburn bodies in the 31st minute.
Just moments later, Rhodes saw his header from six yards narrowly clear the crossbar, while Wellington Silva’s free-kick into the area was cleared away at the death with a number of Bolton player lurking ready to pounce.
As the clock ran down to half time, it was Blackburn who were showing more intent with Danns forced to mop up on the edge of the box following a loss of possession deep into Bolton territory.
With just two minutes to go until the break, Wanderers countered with Danns finding himself in acres of space, but the midfielder’s strike drifted wide of the mark with David Raya untroubled.
As three minutes of added time were indicated, the visitors pressed with Feeney providing a ball into the box for Madine, but the striker’s header was off target as the half ended goalless.
Wanderers started with gusto, with Clough getting himself into a good position just outside the area before being dispossessed just as he was able to play the ball into the mix.
Blackburn were soon back on the counter though, with Conway seeing his shot deflected over the crossbar and a header fly narrowly over in quick succession.
Having withstood some pressure from the hosts, Bolton proceeded to inch their way upfield with Wellington seeing a shot from just outside the box clear Raya’s goalmouth by a matter of inches.
The hosts were visibly shaken as Wanderers enjoyed a spell of possession and attacks, with Feeney and Clough making inroads as they attempted to breach the Blackburn defence.
Tempers were flaring as the game progressed, with Davies being the latest name in the referee’s notebook for a last ditch challenge on substitute Fode Koita just after the hour mark.
The match continued in a similar vein, with a dangerous free-kick from the side of the penalty area being tipped over by Amos, with the resulting corner kick seeing Davies clear Spurr’s header off the line.
As the clash entered its last 20 minutes, Blackburn found their groove again with a succession of corners ensuring that Wanderers were on their guard.
The introduction of Emile Heskey with 13 minutes to go in place of Wellington stated the Whites’ intent inside the closing stages with an all-out attacking stance.
Time was running out for a winning goal, with both sides visibly not settling for a solitary point in the derby clash as it fell into an end-to-end encounter.
As the game entered its final minutes, Blackburn did put the ball in the back of the net through Koita only to see the flag deny them, while Wanderers had an effort cleared off the line by Heskey with a goal seemingly imminent.
With five minutes of added time indicated, both teams went all out for victory while Dervite saw red for a second bookable offence, but the game ended all square at the final whistle.