In front of a vocal and rocking crowd, Blackburn managed to claim all 3 points in the Lancashire Derby, defeating fierce rivals, Bolton Wanderers, 1-0 thanks to a well struck effort from rising star Martin Olsson.
The pressure was on Blackburn, attempting to notch there first win since January, and steer the club away from the drop zone. David Dunn was forced to watch from the stands, whilst Steve Nzonzi returned after serving his 3 match suspension
Both teams applied pressure early on, with Bolton not about to bow down and provide their local neighbours any favours. Rodrigo went close early on, after picking up the scraps from Kevin Davies, however his powerful volley drifted inches wide of the post. Blackburn were on the attack as well, Martin Olsson proving to be an early thorn, dazzling pace and trickery on the left flank, forcing his way past his man and into the box twice. However the final effort was lacking, as stand in keeper Bogdan was forced into a fine save, whilst Bolton defender Paul Robinson followed up with a header off the line to prevent the young Swede.
Rodrigo continued to press for Bolton, and should of put the visitors up after 15 minutes. A misplaced header by Gael Givet fell straight into Rodrigo’s path, however his volley from 6 yards struck the woodwork, Paul Robinson and Co breathing a sigh of relief. Blackburn did manage to take the lead, and it was through the pace and skill of Martin Olsson. The Swede picked the ball up down the left flank, ducked intowards the 18 yard box, before striking with the outside of the foot, and into the bottom corner of the net, giving Rovers a vital 1-0 lead after 25 minutes.
Rovers continued to press, with Salgado and Emerton holding their width on the right, and providing decent delivery into the box, though Benjani and Roberts just couldnt get onto the delivery. Rovers held the lead, 1-0 into the break
Blackburn needed a second, and Benjani was gifted an early chance, as Emerton found him from the deep, though the big target man just couldnt find his feet, Bogdan racing out to pick the ball from his toes. He soon made way, as Kalinic came onto the pitch.
Jermaine Jones and Steve Nzonzi bossed the midfield for Blackburn, the pair not giving Bolton any space, and shifted the ball wide as early as possible, giving Brett Emerton and Martin Olsson plenty of space and freedom
Rovers pushed further up the pitch, whilst Bolton started to attack, in vain as Blackburn became more dangerous on the counter, as Bolton left gaps. However Rovers could not capatalise, with substitute MB Diouf wasting the clearest of chances, blasting over from 8 feet, an opportunity which could of closed off the game.
Diouf was not the only player guilty of spraying a chance, Nzonzi headed wide whislt unmarked, Emerton’s free kick dropped just over the crossbar, and Olsson struck another one, into the side netting.
But one goal was enough, as Blackburn held onto their 1-0 lead, and claimed a massive 3 points to put them 3 points outside the drop zone, and a superior goal difference.
Paul Robinson 7
Did what he had to do. In tough conditions, sent a few free kicks a tad too far, but was safe in goals
Michel Salgado 8
Delightful performance from the veteran. A cool head meant the right wing was well shut down, and linked really well with Emerton
Chris Samba 8
A captains knock. Fired the boys up at every opportunity, and minimised any effect Bolton had on the counter
Phil Jones 7
Defended really well, moved the ball quickly, guilty of losing the ball a couple of times
Gael Givet 8
Got his head screwed back on, and reminded us all of what he is capable of. He knew that when he got the ball, Olsson needed it ASAP, and he delivered
Jermaine Jones 8
Superb performance. Tracked hard, shifted well, shut down the midfield superbly.
Steve Nzonzi 8
We look a much safer, solid team when the Zonz is in our midfield. Composed and hungry, maybe it was a fall out with Allardyce, rather then a general attitude problem. More off and we will be safe
Martin Olsson 9
Man of the match performance. Extremely dangerous, great goal
Brett Emerton 7
The wise heads on the right side of the Rovers formation delivered, with Emerton and Salgado working well to shut down the flank, and hit on the counter.
Jason Roberts 6
Quiet game from Roberts
Has been given his shot, time to go back to the bench. The worrying thing is, Kalinic has not looked any good when he has come on….
A lack of confidence is really affecting his performance…Showed some good positioning, but who knows whats going on in the young mans mind
Back to Manchester please. After a delightful start, I think our rotation policy has harmed Diouf, a poor performance