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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 20 Dec 11 at 22:00 PM

Report: Rovers 1 Bolton Wanderers 2

A spirited second-half fightback wasn't enough to prevent Rovers from slipping to a third straight 2-1 defeat, at home to fellow strugglers Bolton. The visitors led 2-0 at the break thanks to goals from Mark Davies and Nigel Reo-Coker. Rovers mounted a courageous comback, with Yakubu taking his tally to 11 for the season with a fine finish from the lively Junior Hoilett's through ball. Steve Kean's side piled on the pressure late on, as they looked for an equaliser, but the match ended with captain Chris Samba heading agonisingly wide at the death. Before the game, Rovers made two changes to the side that lost 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion at the weekend. Hoilett returned from a two-game absence with a hamstring injury at the expense of Ruben Rochina, while Scott Dann, who was been ruled out for up to six weeks after undergoing surgery on a groin injury picked up on Saturday, was replaced in the starting line-up by Grant Hanley, who was impressive throughout. Rovers couldn't have made a worse start, conceding with less than four minutes of the game gone. David Ngog broke, before feeding Reo-Coker, whose shot from an acute angle wasn't gathered by Paul Robinson. Samba's clearance fell back to Ngog, who pulled the ball back to Davies, who engineered room for a shot, before firing through a crowd of bodies and into the back of the net.   Rovers responded well, with Jason Lowe crossing for Yakubu, who couldn't direct his header on target. The home side then picked up a couple of early cautions, with Mauro Formica and Lowe both going into the referee's book, before Reo-Coker's crisp strike was deflected over the top. It was the former Aston Villa man who then doubled the visitors' lead on the half-hour mark. A quick Bolton break, led by Reo-Coker, resulted in Martin Petrov playing the ball back to the midfielder, who turned and fired the ball into the bottom corner, as Morten Gamst Pedersen came in with a challenge. Again Rovers responded, with Hoilett showing some quick feet before finding Simon Vukcevic in space on the right, but he sliced his shot into the side-net. Hoilett went on a trademark mazy run just before the break, drifting inside from the left flank, but blazed high over the bar. Rovers were out early at the start of the second half - Samba ordering instructions to his team-mates. The pep talk almost paid off, as Rovers came within a whisker of pulling one back just three minutes after the break. Pedersen played the ball to Hoilett, who drove at Gretar Steinsson, before picking out Steven Nzonzi, who fired inches over from inside the area. The home side threatened again on the hour mark, as Hoilett twisted and turned in the box, but Rovers were just unable to scramble the ball home. With a quarter of the game to go, Rovers went for broke, bringing on David Goodwillie and Rochina for Formica and Vukcevic.   The double switch paid immediate dividends, as on 67 minutes, Hoilett played a perfectly-weighted through ball to Yakubu, who lifted it over the onrushing Jussi Jaaskelainen. It was the Nigerian's 10th Premier League goal of the season in just 11 starts. Seconds after the restart, Goodwillie's deflected strike fizzed just past the post. Rovers had appeals for a penalty waved away on 75 minutes. Hoilett fed Lowe out on the right, his cross was laid off by Goodwillie to Rochina, who looked to be felled in the box by Paul Robinson, but nothing was given. Moments later, Yakubu's goal-bound snap-shot was deflected wide. From the resulting corner, Bolton broke quickly, but Tuncay Sanli and Petrov made a mess of a three-on-two. Hoilett had looked back to his best in the second half and another surging run on 84 minutes ended with a ball being fizzed across the face of goal, but no-one was there to put it in.  As the game entered four minutes of added time, Hoilett curled an effort just wide, whilst at the other end, Bolton again failed to make the points safe on the break, with substitute Darren Pratley guilty of wasting a one-on-one. With virtually the final kick of the game, Goodwillie crossed from the right, but Samba's towering downward header went inches wide. It doesn't get any easier for Rovers, who now face back-to-back away games against Liverpool and Manchester United over the Christmas period. ROVERS: Robinson, Lowe, Samba (c), Hanley, Pedersen, Vukcevic (Rochina 65), Nzonzi, Dunn, Formica (Goodwillie 65), Hoilett, Yakubu. Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Henley, Petrovic, Blackman, Roberts. BOLTON: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill (c), Knight, Alonso (Robinson 58), M. Davies, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Klasnic (Pratley 81), Ngog (Sanli 72). Subs not used: Bogdan (GK), Boyata, Eagles, K. Davies. Booked: Formica, Lowe, Dunn (Rovers) Attendance: 25,570

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