On a personal note, the afternoon began in a frustrating manor, the sole ticket printing machine at Ewood Park's away fans ticket office faltered in the minutes proceeding the kick off of this derby. Many Wanderers' fans, myself included, could only get into the game after kick-off. It was a very poorly organised situation and at £25 a ticket, simply not good enough from a club of their supposed stature, there was not a contingency plan in sight.
Back to the football. The game started in a frenetic manor, with both sides jostling to get on top and take the game to the other side. Long-serving Blackburn midfielder, David Dunn, was certainly looking lively as was Bolton's David Ngog, playing deeper to supply front man Jermaine Beckford.
It was Beckford who was presented with the first real chance of the game after being played in by returning midfielder Darren Pratley, Beckford took the ball in his stride well then struck the ball with no real conviction and was an easy gather for on-rushing Rovers goalkeeper, Jake Kean.
This was a real chance for the struggling Wanderers, donning their opinion-splitting, florescent orange away kit. Around the 20 minute-mark and Rovers themselves were gathering pace and much-maligned Bolton Wanderers centre-back pairing of David Wheater and Zat Knight was coming under increasing pressure as Jordan Rhodes was beginning to become involved. Shortly after a tame shot straight at Adam Bogdan, Rhodes was gifted with a golden chance to put Rovers ahead after a David Wheater missed header. Rhodes, somewhat surprised the chance fell his way, saw his header go harmlessly wide.
It did not prove costly for Blackburn, however, as moments later, they were ahead. after an impressive run from the quick, former Manchester United prospect, Josh King, played the ball to David Dunn and after skipping past a four very soft challenges, slotted the ball coolly past Adam Bogdan.
Bolton's troubles were compounded shortly after a mix-up at the back saw David Dunn able to thread in Jordan Rhodes and the ‘goal machine' made no mistake, picking his spot in Bogdan's right-bottom corner with a well-taken finish. The goal was a trigger for a chorus of boo's from a very large part of the Wanderers fans directed at faltering captain Zat Knight which of course as fans they are perfectly within their right to do. The boos rang out from the stands with every single touch that the captain took. On a personal note, I was a disappointed to hear it.
Bolton's problems appeared very clear to the naked eye. Firstly, our centre back partnership is inescapably poor and to compound that, they are playing very low on confidence. This was not helped by Baptiste, who spent the whole game taking up a 'flying winger' position when Bolton were in possession, limiting the passing options Bolton had at the back. Medo Kamara's passing was also dreadful, gifting possession away numerous time as Bolton tried to work their way back into the game.
The Trotters were handed a lifeline on the stroke of half-time as their first period of any sustained pressure was rewarded with a goal. Jay Spearing playing in the typically advanced Baptiste, who finished powerfully with his left foot from inside the area at the stroke of halftime. The lead was cut: 2-1 to the home side at half time.
The first 15 minutes of the second half were much better from Bolton as they tried to get themselves back in the game, moving the ball around much quicker and genuinely putting Blackburn under pressure. A fantastic run by the impressive Ngog was coupled with a shot that was cleared off the line by Blackburn defender, Tom Cairney. The former-Liverpool striker did have options available but chose to go it alone. Bolton also created another good chance with the trickery of winger Chung-Yong Lee creating space for Jay Spearing, whose deflected effort was just wide of Jake Kean's right-hand post.
Indeed Bolton were on top and looking likely to equalise. So, of course, it was Rovers who put the ball in the net and ended the game as a contest. Substitute Corey Evans deflected hammer-strike on the full volley hit the back of Adam Bogdan's goal to the clear delight of the Rovers bench. Game Over.
Whilst the match may have been over as a contest but the metaphorical knife was to be twisted once more. Quite fitting for the day, it was a mistake from a Wanderers centre-back, in this instance David Wheater, which gifted Blackburn a fourth and ensure that it was a day to remember for Blackburn Rovers' fans. Taylor capitalising on Wheater's mistake to supply Jordan Rhodes with a chance he sure would not miss. A very disappointing day for the Wanderers' and I will leave you all with a questions, Matt Mills cannot be that bad, can he?