Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Blackburn 1 Bolton 0

It was the kind of performance that ticked almost every box on Sam Allardyce’s rap sheet but it was only the victory that counted for Blackburn Rovers, who eased their relegation concerns with a first win since January.

It had been claimed that Steve Kean’s promotion meant that Blackburn were to play with a swagger but any pretence of that has disappeared in recent weeks.

Bolton Wanderers captain Kevin Davies, a former Rovers player and ally of Allardyce, Tweeted before the game that he was ‘Looking forward to seeing Blackburn’s attractive football (I have ) been hearing Kean talk about.’

The sarcasm was as obvious as Blackburn’s game-plan, with goalkeeper Paul Robinson wasting no time in launching the ball 70 yards down-field every time it came to him.

But then, relegation battles have never been about aesthetics and, against a much-changed Bolton side, the hosts appeared to have the greater desire and were worth the advantage they gained through Martin Olsson’s fine first-half goal.

Blackburn’s fans applauded when the Bolton supporters sang ‘You should have kept Big Sam’ but at least this win means that Kean is unlikely to have a relegation on his CV.

Free-falling into the final weeks of the campaign, victories are always precious, but it was certainly the case for Blackburn, who travel to West Ham next, then host Manchester United before heading to Wolves on the final day of the season.

Kean’s starting line-up had managed just 15 goals between them this season but at least they were facing a team whose impressive campaign now seems to be winding down following their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Stoke.

Owen Coyle was forced to field centre-half David Wheater at right-back and Martin Olsson caused the former Middlesbrough man problems from the start.

When he went wide, he sent over a cross that was almost turned in by Benjani and he also produced a long-range effort that flew just wide.

Coyle used a make-shift central midfield pairing of Tamir Cohen and Ricardo Gardner but Bolton went close when a Matt Taylor free kick was flicked into trouble by Michel Salgado and Rodrigo prodded a shot against the post.

But Rodrigo undid his fine start when he coughed up possession with a thoughtless pass 40 yards from his own goal and Salgado fed Olsson, who was not closed by Wheater and found the bottom corner from 20 yards.

After that, Bolton failed to trouble a Blackburn side that looked incapable of killing the game, with a Brett Emerton free kick just flying past the top corner after and Benjani comically failing to connect when the ball fell to his feet eight yards out.

Substitute Mame Biram Diouf also failed to even make contact with the ball from close range but Blackburn held on for a crucial win, as Bolton extended their dreadful away form to 10 defeats in 11 games.

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