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Bolton Wanderers 1 - Blackburn Rovers 2

The Reebok Stadium

4th March 2007. k/o 13:35

Attendance: 21,743

Bolton 1.v.2 Rovers

It was Bolton who paid the penalty this time in a Lancashire derby as the bizarre sequence between Rovers and Bolton continued.

Inevitably Benni McCarthy was restored to the starting line-up along with David Dunn as Mark Hughes made a couple of changes from the team that beat Arsenal in mid-week.

Rovers kicked off in swirling rain and vicious wind. Both sides made a lethargic start, neither finding any rhythm nor mounting an attack worthy of note. The first main opening was created by Matt Derbyshire for David Bentley in the 24th minute. The England contender should have done better. He blazed over the bar from 12 yards with time on his side and just the 'keeper to beat.

At that stage Rovers were looking the more likely side to forge ahead, getting the ball done and passing it around. However, Bolton ended the half in a flourish, forcing Rovers back and onto the back foot.

Kevin Nolan glanced a header wide from the penalty spot and Ivan Campo rasped an expertly controlled volley inches over the bar.

Referee Rob Styles brought an end to a drab first half after only a minute of injury time.

Rovers came out for the second half with a far greater urgency but it was Bolton who carved out an early chance. Good work from Nicolas Anelka allowed the Frenchman to tee up Kevin Nolan but his effort lacked pace and was comfortable for Brad Friedel to save.

Rovers then took the lead in the 58th minute via the penalty spot. David Bentley beat Gary Speed to the ball in the area following decisive link-up play with McCarthy but was tripped by the Welshman as he headed to the by-line.

It was hearts in mouths stuff as McCarthy stood poised to take the kick with visions of what happened at Ewood pouring back. However, the inform striker drilled an unstoppable effort past the despairing dive of Jaaskelainen.

Bolton sprung into life after the goal and almost equalised when Henrik Pedersen lashed a foot through the ball in a screaming effort that beat Friedel but not David Dunn, a sentry on the line. Bolton enjoyed some possession as they searched for a way back into the game but things weren`t quite falling right for them.

Matt Derbyshire almost added a second. Some more creative link-up play from Dunn and Stephen Warnock presented Derbyshire with an effort twenty yards out. His curling snap shot drifted just wide of the post with Jaaskelainen rooted to the spot.

Rovers then doubled their lead after Rob Styles awarded another penalty following another desperate lunge in the area.

It was McCarthy this time that was hauled to the ground. He duly dusted himself off and thumped another effort at goal with venom, and such was the ferocity of the strike that it still ended up going in even though the 'keeper got a solid hand on it.

Rovers were very much in control and could and perhaps should have added a third when Jason Roberts, who had earlier replaced Matt Derbyshire, burst through the Bolton ranks from his own half but fired straight at the 'keeper.

Bolton did manage to claw themselves back into contention when Anelka slotted home a half chance to set up a nervy final few minutes. Bolton did score again but it was correctly ruled out for offside.

Evaluation:

David Dunn is starting to stamp his authority on games. It was another good performance from him. Perhaps lacking that quality with his passing and touch at times but is making his presence known.

God is back and he has a new apprentice who looks solid with every outing, Chris Samba. Warnock is also looking class.

The rest looks like it has benefited Benni, he is playing with real determination again.

Star Player

Ryan Nelsen.

He was colossal at the back. Nothing beat him.

Player Ratings


Friedel 6

Another Brad display from the reliable American.

Emerton 6

Solid again.

Warnock 7

Some timely interceptions. Looks better with every performance.

Nelsen 9

Brilliant.

Samba 7

Starting to forge a solid partnership with Nelsen.

Bentley 6

Drifted in and out of the game and his delivery and passing was uncharacteristically poor.

Gamst 6

Little to no affect on the game.

Dunn 8

Made passes, broke up play and was everywhere. His best performance to date since his return.

Mokoena 7

Solid and sound.

McCarthy 8

Took the penalties with great authority and was a constant menace.

Derbyshire 7

Made a nuisnace of himself and was unlucky with an effort from distance.

Roberts 6

Better!

Gallagher 5

No time to affect the game.




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The Journalist

Writer: Roversman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday March 4 2007

Time: 7:04PM

Your Comments

An excellent away performance from the lads. Lets hope for a similar positive result this time in a week.
roversman
Most players played well today, some very well and some exceptional The Admiral for example, inspirational leader! Top six, maybe even five here we come!
Hughes Da Man
Well done God and co. We are on the rise again. This is always one of the dates on the calender which you dont look forward to. Bolton are normally a home banker against teams outside the top4 but we were deserved winners. Dunny is finally looking the business and Samba is a cult hero. Well done Benni... 12 premier league goals so far. That is 2.5 million well spent. Bellamy who?
MikeyGamst
We certainly are. Dunny is finding his feet again and has learnt how to defend!?!? The Beast is going to be a giant in more ways than one. As for 2.5 million spent on McGoalmachine contender fro buy of the season surely what a steal! Who is this Bellamy you speak off :)
Hughes Da Man
great game and good win a good afternoons tv
ccfcks
Great win, all results have gone our way this week except for tottenham beating West Ham. Only 3 points from 6th now, but what does that matter we are gonna win the FA CUP anyway lol
sasman
Great win, cant wait for the FA cup semi's. i see you rated Emerton as a 6 and gave your description as solid. I personally think the work that Guus Hiddink did with him in the Australian set up for the world cup has turned him into a better defender than he ever was as a winger and i think that the (usually) good displays Bently puts in further emphasises that. What do you think?
AustRover
Emerton might have been solid but I don't see him as a defender. Watching the game I felt a little nervous with him defending. I dont know why though. Great game Rovers
roverselle
Six, maybe even fifth is looking very possible but as sasman says what does this matter if we'll win the FA Cup anyway :) I'm greedy for success though so I want both Cup success and a good League finish!
Hughes Da Man
Emerton is having a very good season, and for me for the first half of it, probably more (at least) he was right in the running for Player of the Season for me. For me it's either Right-Back or out of the team unless he could develop into a central midfielder? The partnership with Bents has been superb, they compliment each other well.
Hughes Da Man
 

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