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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 January 2008, 17:57 GMT
Bolton 1-2 Blackburn
By Julian Shea

Blackburn's Jason Roberts
Roberts missed a great chance shortly before hitting the winner
Jason Roberts' last-minute solo effort snatched a deserved victory for Blackburn in the Lancashire derby.

Kevin Nolan's awesome volley from Joey O'Brien's cross-field ball, the only highlight of a dismal first half, put Bolton in front just before the break.

Christopher Samba headed Rovers level and Morten Gamst Pedersen's shot across the box should have made it 2-1.

But at the death substitute Roberts charged through and his deflected shot flew into the bottom corner of the net.

A largely forgettable first 45 minutes was trudging towards a seemingly inevitable goalless conclusion when Nolan opened the scoring in remarkable fashion.

Brad Friedel's punched clearance of Danny Guthrie's left-wing free-kick only went as far as Joey O'Brien on the right.


Instinctively he fired the ball back in to the unmarked Nolan on the opposite side of the field, and with his back to goal, Nolan turned and looped a stunning volley into the top left-hand corner of Friedel's net.

Tamir Cohen had a chance to double that lead from close range early in the second half when Nolan's cross fell to his feet, but he seemed to be taken off-guard and only produced a weak shot straight at the keeper.

Samba wasted a good chance to equalise with an optimistic long-range shot which dribbled wide, but he soon made amends when he headed Blackburn level.

Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen charged off his line but got nowhere near David Bentley's corner, and Samba slipped his marker Lubomir Michalak to produce a downward header, which bounced up into the roof of the net.

This second goal seemed to rouse the Premier League's lowest crowd of the weekend - 18,315 - to life, and in turn the increased volume seemed to lift the players.

Blackburn began to dominate, and with 20 minutes to go Bolton had a double let-off when they were very lucky to avoid going behind.

First Benni McCarthy trod on the ball as he tried to control it, and in the aftermath Pedersen's shot from a tight angle went inches wide of the far post.

The arrival of Roberts added muscle to Rovers' attack as they went in search of a winner, and it proved an inspired substitution.

With a minute left he picked up the ball in the centre circle, bore down on goal and brushed off several challenges to produce a shot which took a deflection off Andy O'Brien's boot and into the bottom corner.

  • Bolton manager Gary Megson:

  • "It was cruel the fact it happened as late as it did, but we'd ridden our luck. They were on top most of the second half.

    "We struggled to contain Jason Roberts, our organisation was poor, it was a bad goal to give away but the first one was even worse.

    "I'd imagine that over the last 10 games, in the form guide of everyone at the bottom, we'd be top - today was a bad day but we've got to make sure it was a one-off."

  • Blackburn manager Mark Hughes on Jason Roberts:

  • "Jason's been really frustrated with a lack of opportunities but you've got to bide your time.

    "At times you have to get your head down and work in training, get fit and then ask questions of the manager - he's certainly given me food for thought.

    "He's frustrated but he knows there's a part to play here, he knows we're not trying to force him out, we want him to stay and we've said that in no uncertain terms."

    Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Joey O'Brien, Andrew O'Brien, Michalik, Gardner, Guthrie, Nolan, Campo (McCann 57), Cohen (Wilhelmsson 63), Giannakopoulos, Davies. Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Fojut.

    Booked: Campo, Cohen.

    Goals: Nolan 43.

    Blackburn: Friedel, Ooijer (Khizanishvili 73), Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Bentley, Dunn, Reid, Pedersen, McCarthy (Roberts 77), Santa Cruz (Derbyshire 90). Subs Not Used: Brown, Berner.

    Booked: Samba.

    Goals: Samba 53, Roberts 90.

    Att: 18,315

    Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

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