'Safety's in our hands,' says Kean after overdue victory

Blackburn Rovers 1 Bolton Wanderers 0

Rookie manager Steve Kean will take his Blackburn team to West Ham next week feeling that one of the Premier League's stranger subplots might produce the ending he has been gambling on after all.

A first win in three months means that, even in Kean's conservative estimation, survival in the top flight is now probable rather than possible after Blackburn increased their points tally to 38, three clear of the relegation zone, with three more games to pass the 40-point line which again appears likely to be the safety threshold.

When Blackburn's Indian owners took the controversial decision to promote Kean from his role as first-team coach to succeed Sam Allardyce as manager, the young Scot wanted to reshape Rovers along his own lines, replacing his predecessor's pragmatic approach with football of a more expansive, expressive style.

Such ambitions were always likely to be difficult to pursue and the risk for Kean was that results would go against him and the Venky's group, exercising their influence from thousands of miles away, would run out of patience with him and that he would go the same way as Allardyce.

Without a win since January, he must have feared for his job at times, but the defeat against Manchester City last week, which most neutrals thought was tough on Blackburn, seemed to have a galvanising effect.

They had a scare when Rodrigo Moreno hit the woodwork early on but once ahead through Martin Olsson's goal after 20 minutes, Blackburn always looked relatively secure against a Bolton side who played with the air of a team for whom the home straight has little at stake.

It was only a second goal of the season for Swedish winger Olsson but he was always a threat along the left for Blackburn against a defender in David Wheater who was playing out of position at right-back.

When Michel Salgado picked him out with a diagonal pass, following a mistake by Moreno, he went past Wheater and his left-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area swerved past goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.

The combination almost brought off a repeat, with Wheater again in trouble, but Bogdan, who had been picked for his first Premier League start since September in preference to first-choice Jussi Jaaskelainen, dived to his right to save at the foot of a post.

Bolton, showing four changes from the side beaten by Fulham in another end-of-term performance, did not muster much by way of response until late in the match, when substitutes Martin Petrov and Ivan Klasnic tried gamely to lift a flat display.

Blackburn had several chances to put the result beyond doubt, the best of which fell to substitute Mame Biram Diouf, after Morten Gamst Pedersen's pass was prodded into his path by defender Gary Cahill, and to Steven Nzonzi, who headed over from close range after Olsson's perfect cross.

Kean bemoaned his side's failure to secure the second goal but his defence rarely gave him cause for concern. Chris Samba and Phil Jones coped well with Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander down the middle. The only gloomy note for the home side was a knee injury for Salgado, who was carried off midway through the second half.

Defeat against Bolton spelt the end of Allardyce's reign in December. Kean has avoided that fate but it remains to be seen whether he retains the faith of Blackburn's owners after putting them through the mill.

"I don't know if a win at West Ham will make us safe," Kean said. "It depends how results go next week. But we can look after ourselves by getting our own points. We performed with a lot of spirit, attitude and togetherness, which were probably the words that brought us all together."

Attendance: 28,985

Referee: Mike Dean

Man of the match: Olsson

Match rating: 6/10

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all