Junior Hoilett proved their was still bite in his Blackburn Rovers career with goals either side of half time enough to seal a vital 2-0 victory for the travelling Rovers supporters, elevating the team 3 points away from the drop zone.
Steve Kean decided to restore Jason Lowe into the line up after his suspension with Bradley Orr making way due to injury. Mauro Formica was preferred to David Dunn as the link man in attack
Lowe, Hanley, Dann, Martin O
Hoilett, Gamst, Marcus O
With both teams battling for survival, it was a tense and nervous opening quarter. Wolves appeared to be the most likely with Matt Jarvis driving his way through midfield, finding himself in dangerous positions down the left flank whilst Zubar did the exact same down the opposite flank. Blackburn managed to stand tall early on, Hanley proving immense in central defence.
Rovers failed to create any clear chances early on but half way throughout the half, started to take the ascendancy. Steve Nzonzi began to boss the midfield whilst Formica ran around like a fox, hunting down every scrap and making a few vital interceptions. In defence Blackburn were rarely troubled whilst the Olsson brothers linked well down the left flank. Yakubu had the best of the chances, Mauro Formica crossing in for the Nigerian, glancing his header inches wide.
Junior Hoilett then decided to click a gear. Finding himself in a more central role at times, Junior tried to link up with Yakubu on several occasions, however both were not on the same play book. The time Junior did indeed find the Yak, the target man sent it sky high from 18 yards.
With minutes to go in the first half, Rovers took the lead. A Morten Gamst Pedersen throw-in was partially cleared, the ball bouncing around in the box. Junior Hoilett struck a delightful half volley through the thick wall of defenders and past the outstretched hands of Wayne Hennessey, 1-0 Rovers.
The goal seemed to have completely deflated Wolves as come the second half, any sense of urgency seemed to disappear. Blackburn moved the ball well in midfield, Gamst, Nzonzi and Formica linking well. Junior Hoilett started to lose the ball whilst Yakubu lacked his killer first touch. As for the defenders, when they were called into action, they were solid.
The only real threat for Wolves came from Matt Jarvis. The talented midfielder targeted Jason Lowe, often leaving him clutching at air. However the end product was not their, either the cross drifting too far or Kevin Doyle found out of position in the box. Zubar found no luck down the right flank, Olsson and Hanley ensuring he would not find a way through.
With 20 minutes to go, Junior Hoilett seemed to end any hopes of a Wolverhampton revival. A sharp counter saw Yakubu carry the ball into the Wolves half, only to be faced with a wall of defenders. After momentarily holding the ball up, he found a surging Hoilett who was intent on breaking the line. After a couple of touches, Junior unexpectedly unleashed from 25 yards, a left footed strike rippling the bottom corner of the net, 2-0 Blackburn.
From here on in it was cruise control. Rovers attempted to slow the play down at every opportunity whilst Wolves were shell shocked. They did managed to muster a great opportunity to pull one back late on, Matt Jarvis yet again in the thick of it, crossing for Milijas who powered his header well over from 8 yards.
So a clean sheet for Rovers and a massive 3 points in a run of 3 ‘winnable’ fixtures.
Paul Robinson 7
Will be extremely glad to collect his first clean sheet bonus of the season. Had little to do, but when called upon he did what was required. 1 real save but also positioned him self well on set pieces
Jason Lowe 6
A decent return to the first team. Found himself under continuous pressure from Jarvis, but ensured Jarvis could not scurry into the box
Grant Hanley 8
Has blossomed since Samba left. Taken total control of the 18 yard box. Reminds me of Nelsen, positions himself well and makes those thundering challenges
Scott Dann 7
Playing as a a second fiddle to Hanley, but did what needs to be done
Martin Olsson 7
Solid shift from Martin. Shut down Zubar whilst linked up well with his brother to allow fast transition between defence and attack
Steve Nzonzi 7
Solid performance from Steve. Controlled the midfield through a range of short and long passing, directed the tempo to suit the stage of the game
Morten Gamst Pedersen 6
Better performance from Morten. Moved the ball well, tracked back in defence. Still one too many sloppy passes from the Norweigan
Marcus Olsson 8
Makes you wonder why we didn’t sign this chap earlier. Very impressive performance down the left flank. Double teamed in defence, surged forward in attack
Junior Hoilett 9
2 chances, 2 goals. And he took them well. Defenders don’t know what he is going to do, he needs to be on song more often as Junior carries the key to us staying up
Mauro Formica 8
A terrier like performance from Mauro. Made as many tackles as our defenders, worked himself into dangerous positions and linked up well with the midfield
Tough night for the Yak, spurned a couple of good chances after a few poor touches. Held the ball up well at times but could of done better
Not much in his stint
Hats off to Kean. Kept Dann and Hanley together despite the return of Givet, whilst made the right substitution, replacing Gamst who was on a yellow and is prone to some poor tackles.