The last time the mighty Whites beat Blackburn? 2006. El Hadji Diouf and Big Sam were still on our sidelines.
Good news though as Stuart Holden made his return after two weeks out with a thigh problem. It’s incredible how the 25 year old American has become our quietly brilliant midfield general in such a short amount of time and, in turn, how lost the midfield was without him.
Owen Coyle dropped Fabrice Muamba from the starting lineup in exchange for Mark Davies while Martin Petrov retained his place over Matty Taylor. The only change that Big Sam would make to a side that beat Wolves 3-0 would be Martin Olsson in for David Dunn at LB.
The first half: uneventful. Half chances here and there but Bolton seemed content just playing the ball into Blackburn’s box and letting it roll right to the keeper. The only real chance went to the Rovers as Morten Gamst Pederson fired in a free kick from 20 yards out after a necessary Zat Knight foul. Pederson sent the ball into the gap in the wall and forced Jaaskelainen to get low and wide to make a quick save. Jussi pushed the ball back into the path of Gael Givet but the defender did about as poorly as humanly possible. 0-0 at the half with Bolton leading the possession slightly. Both sides with two shots on goal.
Bolton’s first chance of the second half came in the 52nd minute as Stuart Holden sent in a curling free kick to the far post. Blackburn’s Paul Robinson got across well and made the necessary stop. Just 4 minutes later, Mark Davies went up for a ball with a dangerous elbow extended. He was handed his second yellow card and Bolton were down to 10.
65th minute. The substitute, Fabrice Muamba gets a ball just outside the 6 yard box on the right side. The midfielder faked the shot, took a little pretty cut back inside, and fired near post. Not even a reaction from the Blackburn keeper as the ball hit the back of the net. The goal was also Muamba’s first of the season. The breakthrough.
87th minute. Another substitute, Mame Biram Diouf received a brilliant ball from Roberts and slotted it into the back of the net. The ball went off of Gary Cahill’s leg and left no chance for a save. 1-1.
Just a minute later, as Blackburn were still celebrating, the mighty Whites go ahead 2-1. A long ball played from the black is flicked on brilliantly to Stuart Holden. A beautiful piece of control from Stu to play the ball off his chest and onto his left foot to put it near post and in. The late winner in the 88th minute.
Pure elation and joy for ten-man Wanderers. Bolton supporters are on Cloud 8 thanks to the young Yank. 5th or 6th place at the end of the weekend depending on the Spurs result.
Highlights can be seen over at our good friend, The Original Winger