Report: Bolton Wanderers vs. Blackburn Rovers

In the first game with fans in 518 days at the University of Bolton Stadium, honours were shared as Wanderers were held to a 2-2 draw by Blackburn Rovers in this pre-season friendly.

First Half

Wanderers enjoyed a lot of possession in the early stages of this Lancashire derby. Lloyd Isgrove nearly found the head of skipper Antoni Sarcevic with a right-sided cross, only for the ball to be diverted into the hands of goalkeeper Kaminski.

Rovers responded with a chance of their own, as Lewis Travis fired towards goal, only for George Johnston to make a timely block.

Winger Dapo Afolayan tried to get in on the act on the 20-minute mark, with a long-range effort that was deflected away from the Rovers’ goal.

The former West Ham man continued to trouble the away side, as he cut in from the right and beat his marker, before producing an effort on goal that forced Kaminsky into a low, diving save.

Back up the other end moments after, as Joel Dixon made a great save with his legs to keep out Tyrhys Dolan’s attempt.

Mere minutes before the half-hour mark, Wanderers took the lead. A Josh Sheehan corner found defender George Johnston who netted his second goal of pre-season.

The visitors did try to get back into it late in the half, as a dangerous cross into the Wanderers’ penalty area was headed away by Declan John.

Half Time

Second Half

Ian Evatt’s men started the brighter of the teams, with an early chance falling to Afolayan on the wing, but the eventual cross was smothered by Kaminski.

Five minutes after the interval, Wanderers doubled their lead. Afolayan sent a curled cross into the danger zone, which was turned into the net by a Rovers’ defender.

The home side was in full flow now, as Isgove floated a dangerous ball into the box that found Sheehan, but his headed effort finished wide of the target.

However, shortly after the hour mark, Rovers pulled one back through Chilean international Ben Brereton-Diaz.

The visiting side stepped up their efforts to find a way back into this clash, as substitutes Joe Rothwell and Sam Gallagher came close with their respective shots.

The efforts of Tony Mowbray’s team paid off as they found their equaliser. Brereton-Diaz doubled his tally for the day, as his low strike made its way past Joel Dixon.

John Buckley had a chance to take the lead for Blackburn with two minutes to go, but his effort blazed over the bar.

Second-half replacement Ali Crawford nearly found the back of the net to seal the victory for Bolton, as he saw Kaminski off his line, but the Rovers' shot-stopper scrambled back to keep the ball in play. This was the final bit of action as the referee called time on an entertaining pre-season fixture.

Full Time

Wanderers XI: Dixon, Jones, John (Gordon 81), Williams (Crawford 86), Johnston (Brockbank 61), Sheehan (Tutte 86), Sarcevic (C) (Thomason 77), Bakayoko (Politic 86), Afolayan (Darcy 81), Isgrove (Doyle 67), Baptiste (Senior 90).

Unused Sub: Hutchinson.


Bolton: Johnston (29), Own goal (50).

Blackburn: Brereton-Diaz (66, 73).

Attendance: 6,907 (1,268 away).

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