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Match Report: Bolton Wanderers 4 Blackburn Rovers 0

After a relieving home win against Watford last time out, Bolton ‘welcomed’ neighbours Blackburn Rovers to the Reebok Stadium hoping to avenge their humiliating 4-1 away defeat to their local rivals earlier in the season.

Best Day Yet Under Freedmam
Best Day Yet Under Freedmam
Charlie Crowhurst

Manager Dougie Freedman stumbled across a winning formula last week, and that team was unchanged except for the forced re-introduction of Zat Knight with Matt Mills unavailable. Wanderers fans were anxious that this would be detrimental to their chances of derby day victory as David Wheater and Knight struggled in the fixture at Ewood park earlier in the season.

Bolton began the game strongly and created chances freely, fuelled by the high tempo play of Neil Danns & Mark Davies. It was the latter who created the first clear chance of the game. Davies found space inside the box and fired past Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson only to see his effort cleared off the line by defender Matt Kilgallon.

Lukas Jutkiewicz and Joe Mason picked up where they left off against Watford FC as both thrived off each others play. Mason in particular looks a different player as he continues to attack from deep as opposition defences struggle to pick his late runs up. The on-loan striker saw an early effort saved by Robinson as Bolton continued to pressure their opponents.

Whilst under pressure, Blackburn were not toothless and after a long hopeful ball 'Goal Machine' Jordan Rhodes latched on to the free ball but was greeted by the on-rushing Adam Bogdan and the Hungarian stopper denied the striker. Bogdan has excelled since being brought back into the starting XI and was great again when called upon against Rovers.

Soon Bolton Wanderers would be rewarded with the goal they deserved as more great work out wide by the outstanding Neil Danns allowed the midfielder to pick out Medo Kamara with ease and Kamara nodded the ball home from 15 yards to the delight of the Reebok Stadium.

Bolton showed no signs of holding up and continued to test the Blackburn defense. Soon Wanderers had a golden chance to double their lead as the much improved Jay Spearing threaded a pass to Joe Mason, who put the on-loan forward in a one-on-one opportunity. Alas, he was denied by Robinson.

Mason was finding himself amongst the chances and was soon given the opportunity to make amends as a powerful run from full back Alex Baptiste saw the ball eventually bounce free for Mason to finish on the spin and give Bolton a 2 goal advantage on the stroke of half time.

The second goal before half time was crucial and Blackburn had to respond. Manager Gary Bowyer introduced Luke Varney and Corey Evans in an attempt to swing things their way. Within moments though the game was effectively over as Spearing's fierce right-footed drive from 25 yards struck the underside of the crossbar and was eventually (and correctly) judged to have crossed the line. The goal sparked large celebration from fans and players alike as the tensions of a disappointing campaign were, for an afternoon at least, put aside.

The Trotters continued to excel as the interchangeable midfield was proving as difficult for Blackburn Rovers to deal with as it had done for Watford. Jutkiewicz was a constant threat and after missing just to the left on a quick counter attack led by Danns, the big forward also saw a good effort blocked.

The game began to trundle along as Blackburn lacked the bite or even the urgency to trouble the Bolton defence. Rhodes was becoming visibly frustrated as he was completely isolated and being made look ordinary against a centre back pairing he had destroyed at Ewood Park earlier in the season.

With the game coming to a close and the atmosphere in The Reebok as joyous as it has been for months, Blackburn's capitulation was complete when a wayward pass fell at the feet of influential forward Andre Moritz and the Brazilian simply composed himself and fired home to make it a real afternoon to remember for Bolton and round off their biggest win against their local rivals in over 80 years.

The result sees Bolton put some real daylight between themselves and the relegation zone and perhaps able to salvage some positivism during a largely disappointing season