Bolton old boys seal Rovers' victory

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The Independent Online

Ultimately, the scoreline reflected the superiority of a Blackburn side brimming with confidence, having now achieved what many thought impossible, by becoming contenders, if not for automatic promotion then certainly for a play-off spot.

Ultimately, the scoreline reflected the superiority of a Blackburn side brimming with confidence, having now achieved what many thought impossible, by becoming contenders, if not for automatic promotion then certainly for a play-off spot.

Nathan Blake's clever attempted lob against his previous club was comfortably tipped over by Jussi Jaaskelainen after five minutes, but marked a period of early pressure from the home side. Per Frandsen, another former Wanderer, whose sale prompted the departure of Colin Todd as manager, Ashley Ward and Blake again had their chances while Bolton struggled to match the rhythm and pace of Tony Parkes' men, only Michael Johansen's skewed strike providing respite.

The best move for Blackburn involved a nifty interchange between Ward, Blake and Jason Wilcox, recalled for the injured Damien Duff, but the final ball was scuffed away by Jaaskelainen. Bolton's problems, though, were largely of their own making, giving the home side's flankers, Wilcox and McAteer, a third ex-Boltonian, ample room to exploit the balls provided by the impressive Frandsen.

Had Ward and, in particular, Blake who missed a simple chance from two yards, been more attuned to each other's runs then the domination garnered by their midfield's free-flowing approach would have earned an earlier reward.

An early offensive after the break from Sam Allardyce's Bolton, still stinging after a weekend defeat by ten-man Tranmere, might have been expected, but Blackburn's intentions remained more persuasive with headers from Ward and McAteer coming close to breaking the deadlock.

McAteer's bravely won a loose ball and fed Blake, who flicked the ball neatly forward for Ward to chip over the advancing Jaaskelainen. A minute later, following a fine Eidur Gudjohnsen effort, Claus Jensen whipped in a corner which Robbie Elliott headed home at the far post. As the supporters vied for vocal dominance, Ward delivered a pass to Wilcox, whose low cross was converted by McAteer.

Having weathered the brief storm and sailed through lustily, Blackburn continued to make the running. Frandsen fired just over from 30 yards, Blake's narrow-angled effort fizzed just wide and Bolton's increasingly fragmented midfield and defence finally allowed Blake to add a third with a clinically-placed 15-yard curler.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Kelly; Grayson, Peacock, Dailly, Harkness; McAteer, Frandsen, Carsley, Wilcox; Blake, Ward.

Substitutes not used. Kenna, Ostenstad, Dunn, Taylor, Filan (gk).

Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Phillips, Fish, Strong, Elliott (Holden, 79); Johansen (Hansen, 72), Jensen, Farrelly, Gardner; Taylor (Passi, 87), Gudjohnsen. Substitutes not used: Aljofree, Banks (gk).

Referee: D Pugh (Bebington).

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