Coyle discovers his touch at right time

Bolton find their passing game when it matters and the manager can see a route out of bottom three

Owen Coyle rediscovered his touch last night, or so it seemed as his team played brisk, precise football again and he celebrated in front of his fans at the end. The secret, though, was not what he meant to the Bolton fans, but to those of Blackburn.

There was always a plausible mitigation for Bolton's 2011 collapse. Owen Coyle's side, while built on steam, at least had a set of passable footballers to rely on. Stuart Holden, Lee Chung-Yong and Daniel Sturridge can each trap a football, allowing Coyle to create a team briefly celebrated as Gary Megson's opposite. With Sturridge back at Chelsea, and Lee and Holden injured, Coyle has had the wheels of his 2010 bandwagon removed. Without them, he has been unable to find any other source of direction or purpose, losing 20 from 25 league games.

Last night, though, Coyle finally found the missing ingredient, the necessary condition, the right stage, for a return to some better football: it was the most welcoming environment in top flight football memory.

Bolton, as John McCain might have predicted, were welcomed as liberators at Ewood Park last night. The Blackburn team spent the first half static, flaccid and clumsy. Mark Davies' goal came when Paul Robinson was prevented from claiming the ball by impeding defenders, as a throng of nine Rovers in the penalty area somehow allowed Bolton to find a route through them and into the net. The second goal was not much better, as Blackburn's right flank again generously stepped aside to allow Martin Petrov through them, as he crossed to Nigel Reo-Coker who scored.

Yakubu and Junior Hoillet showed enterprise in the second half, and at least seemed like footballers who had given consideration to the whereabouts of the opposition goal, but with nine behind them playing in a trance it was not enough. Blackburn, for the most part, played with the embarrassed passivity of an army hoping to hasten their general's surrender. But they looked like the fiercest Steve Kean die-hards compared the Blackburn fans. The banners, the rage, the chanting, the fly-pasts are all common, and have been all season, but this was something new: a derby game, in which the home fans' hatred was entirely directed upstairs.

Bolton might have been the opposition but they were not the enemy. Owen Coyle found himself welcomed at Ewood, and made himself comfortable.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test