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Match Report


Posted Sun 25 Mar 12 at 08:31 AM

Report: Bolton 2 Rovers 1

Rovers suffered an unwanted double as they lost 2-1 to Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.

The same fixture at Ewood before Christmas had seen the same result, but since that loss back in December Rovers had shown a significant improvement in form, but that was sadly absent on a disappointing afternoon.

On an emotional day it was a slow start in which Paul Robinson saved well from Martin Petrov, Rovers should have been awarded a penalty after Junior Hoilett's bursting run was halted by the leg of Gretar Steinsson but referee Andre Marriner was uninterested.

It would prove to be a costly decision as two goals in the space of six minutes put the Trotters in control, David Wheater twice heading home from corner kicks taking advantage of slack marking from the Rovers defence.

Rovers responded early in the second half when Steven Nzonzi reduced arrears when he nodded home a Morten Gamst Pedersen throw, but an off colour Rovers rarely tested Adam Bogdan as the Bolton defence held firm.

5000 Rovers fans urged their team on in the closing stages but despite a last minute corner in which Paul Robinson came up there was to be no late dramatics.

The result sees Bolton join Rovers out of the bottom three, but the battle to avoid relegation continues.

Ahead of kick off both sides warmed up in shirts with 'Muamba 6' on the back in recognition of the Bolton midfielder who thankfully is making a good recovery despite suffering a cardiac arrest at White Hart Lane seven days earlier. Both sets of fans then chanted the 23 year-old's name and placards held up as a minute's applause was observed.

Against such a rousing backdrop it was perhaps unsurprising that there was little in the way of goalmouth action in the first 20 minutes.

Of what attacking play there was on show it came mainly from the home side, winger Martin Petrov having the best of the limited opportunities with a shot from outside the area which Paul Robinson beat away to safety.

For the unchanged Rovers, they really hadn't got going, players on the wrong wavelength as passes were frequently astray.

But on 23 minutes great battling by Jason Lowe saw the defender find Steven Nzonzi, he in turn fed Junior Hoilett who ran at pace into the area before going down sandwiched between Gretar Steinsson and David Wheater. The Canadian appealed for a penalty but Andre Marriner is unmoved. On the replays Steinsson certainly appeared to catch Hoilett's leg, it would be a decision that would prove to be costly for Rovers.

Four minutes later and a great ball from Hoilett set Marcus Olsson charging towards the area from the left, he it towards the back post but Tim Ream was there in the nick of time to prevent the ball reaching Yakubu.

But from one attack Bolton raced upfield with one of their own, Lowe defending well to prevent Petrov from getting his ball into the area at the expense of a corner.

However from the corner it was played back out to Petrov who centred and as the ball flicked off Steven Nzonzi at the near post it fell perfectly for Bolton defender David Wheater who rose to head into the bottom corner of the goal.

Moments later a Sam Ricketts cross found Darren Pratley but the midfielder's header was watched onto the roof of the net.

Suddenly the chances were coming thick and fast Rovers responded and almost equalised but Yakubu put his bullet header the wrong side of the post.

Then the lively Petrov drove across goal, Paul Robinson tipping the ball past the post.

But from the resulting corner Bolton again found the back of the net. Ryo Miyaichi this time crossing from the right and again Wheater shook off the attentions of Scott Dann to head past the helpless Robinson.

Rovers attempted to rally as the half drew to a close, a Pedersen throw saw Adam Bogdan flap whilst Scott Dann could only head into the side netting from a corner kick. Then with the last kick of the half Pedersen floated a free-kick into the area but Dann could only flick the ball past the post.

There was always a fear that the occasion might spur Bolton on, and after a first half in which Rovers really struggled to offer much, it was being realised.

As 5000 Rovers fans willed a second half comeback from their heroes it was the home side who continued to pose the greater threat after the turnaround.

The lively Ryo Miyaichi fired over after a mazy run, then from a Petrov centre David Ngog headed over when well placed.

But on 56 minutes Rovers were suddenly given a lifeline. Morten Gamst Pedersen with a long throw into the area and Steven Nzonzi leapt to nod the ball past Adam Bogdan.

That reduced lead very nearly lasted all of sixty seconds when from another fine ball from Ryo Mark Davies leapt high in the area but he somehow headed wide.

Then Martin Olsson's persistance in the corner almost paid off when he drilled the ball to Hoilett in the area but he let the ball slip under his boot.

David Dunn came on 65, replacing Mauro Formica to try and add more impetus to a lethargic Rovers and from a Pedersen corner Marcus Olsson went close with a half volley that crept just wide.

The last ten minutes saw Rovers huff and puff without ever looking likely to grab an equaliser. Yakubu fired just wide from a Hoilett first time ball before the Canadian saw his shot deflected over the bar.

But when it counted Bolton defended well, Pedersen, dangerous as ever with his delivery into the box, but Rovers couldn't get a break. Yakubu nodded one wide but it was a difficult chance.

The Reebok Stadium has seen its fair share of late drama in games involving Rovers over the years but on this occasion, despite there being a last gasp corner in which Paul Robinson came up, Rovers, as they had done throughout, made little of the opportunity.

It was a day in which Rovers could have done so much to secure their Premier League status, but after this disappointing defeat it still leaves them with work to do.

BOLTON: Bogdan, Steinsson, Petrov, M. Davies, Ricketts, Reo-Coker (c), Pratley, Ngog (sub Klasnic 79 mins), Ryo, Wheater, Ream.

Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Alonso, Eagles, Knight, K. Davies, Sordell.

ROVERS: Robinson (c), Lowe, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson, Formica (sub Dunn 65 mins), Nzonzi, Pedersen, Marcus Olsson, Hoilett, Yakubu.

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Modeste, Petrovic, Orr, Goodwillie, Vukcevic.

Booked: Lowe (Rovers)

Attendance: 26,901

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