Sam Allerdyce devised the strategy from his sick-bed that brought Blackbrun Rovers an elusive first away win of the season and left his old club firmly mired in the bottom three.
The former Bolton Wanderers manager was denied a second return to the Reebok by his impending heart operation, but picked the team – a more adventurous one than usual on Blackburn's travels – from home. He and they got their reward to edge them further away from the relegation zone and no doubt lift Big Sam's spirits as he faces up to an operation this Friday and at least a couple of weeks out of the game.
"For the manager not to be there was strange, but we all knew our jobs," said his No 2 and another ex-Bolton man, Neil McDonald. "Hopefully, it will have put a smile on his face."
Blackburn were the more enterprising, although they had an important piece of good fortune in the pivotal minute of the match just after the half-hour. They were desperately close to conceding a goal when Matthew Taylor's free kick spun off Ryan Nelsen and hit the bar. Seconds later Rovers were in the lead; Franco Di Santo carried the ball down the left, Jason Roberts played it out of the middle and David Dunn (right) applied a cool finish. "David was fantastic," said McDonald of the man of the match.
Gary Megson, understandably, failed to share the enthusiasm: "For them to go from one end of the field to the other without us getting a touch was poor in the extreme."
Taylor missed a golden chance to equalise just before half-time, but it was Rovers who carried the greater threat in the second half, with Gavin McCann heading clear from under his own cross bar from both El Hadji Diouf and Roberts. Rovers needed help from their hosts to seal their victory, however.
Brett Emerton attempted to float a cross-field pass over the defence when Jussi Jaaskelainen charged out and was beaten by Sam Ricketts' gentle header for a bizarre own goal.
Allardyce was always popular at Bolton: as for Megson, when the Blackburn supporters started to sing "You're getting sacked in the morning," a proportion of Wanderers' fans joined in. On this showing, they are the ones entitled to have an ominous feeling about the rest of the season.
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Ricketts, Cahill, O'Brien, Samuel; Taylor, McCann (Davies 68), Muamba, Gardner (Lee 68); Davies, Elmander (Klasnic 65). Substitutes not used: Al Habsi, Knight,Steinsson, Basham.
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Robinson; Chimbonda, Samba, Nelsen, Givet (Jacobsen 35); Emerton, Dunn (Grella 82), Nzonzi, Diouf; Di Santo (McCarthy 70), Roberts. Substitutes not used: Brown, Salgado,Andrews, Kalinic.
Referee: M Dean
Booked: Bolton Muamba. Blackburn Dunn.
Man of the match: Dunn.
Attendance: 21,777.Reuse content