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Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Saturday, 18 October 2008 16:55 UK

Bolton 0-0 Blackburn

By Alistair Magowan

Bolton's Matt Taylor
Taylor (left) was an inspirational force in the Bolton midfield

Bolton failed to turn around a wretched run of form against Blackburn as they drew a blank at the Reebok.

Despite a sterling effort from Matt Taylor, Bolton could not find a way through the resolute Rovers defence.

Blackburn's Carlos Villanueva clipped the bar in the first half before Jason Roberts missed a free header close in.

Bolton's Andy O'Brien also missed a great chance from a corner before Taylor hit the post after the best passing move of the game.

The result means that Bolton have failed to beat Blackburn at home since 2000 but it put a stop to the run of three defeats they have suffered at the hands of their local rivals.

The home side looked most likely to score but Taylor had little around him to match his desire and quality.

Megson was disappointed not to win

Without the injured Roque Santa Cruz, Blackburn boss Paul Ince handed Robbie Fowler his first Premier League start of the season and the former Liverpool striker was keen to get on the ball early on, linking up well with Roberts and Villenueva.

Bolton aimed to get the fans behind their team by cutting ticket prices and offering free beer to fans in a newly constructed Fanzone but there was little to cheer in the first quarter of an hour.

Then twice within as many minutes Taylor came close to opening the scoring.

The left-footed midfielder, who was recalled to the side after his goal against West Ham two weeks ago, hit an inswinging free-kick from the right and Paul Robinson did well to turn it around the post after it had eluded everyone.


A minute later Taylor found himself on the left of the penalty box from a lofted through ball but he mis-hit his attempted volley when well placed.

Taylor was involved again as a move on the edge of the box led to Johan Elmander poking a shot straight at Robinson after 25 minutes.

At the other end Bolton's defence were easily dealing with a succession of set-pieces but when Blackburn finally realised they should hit the ball deeper, Brett Emerton shot high and wide when the ball dropped to him.

The visitors were further buoyed when Villanueva went closest to breaking the deadlock when he collected the ball on the edge of the box and his left-footed shot clipped the bar with Jussi Jaaskelainen well beaten.

Ince happy with 'great' point

Rovers should have gone into half-time 1-0 ahead when somehow Roberts put a free header wide from less than six yards after Emerton sent in a cross from the right.

The former Wigan striker also looked likely to score just after the break when through on goal.

But from a lofted ball his poor touch took him away from the target as Jaaskelainen bore down on him and when Fowler laid the ball off to Villanueva the Chilean slipped at the vital moment.

From a corner shortly afterwards O'Brien had a fantastic opportunity to help take the lead but he completely missed his attempted header from two yards out.

By this stage Bolton were well on top but Blackburn were weathering a storm of set-pieces with Taylor playing an integral part in attempting to turn their efforts into a victory.

Ricardo Gardner came on after 69 minutes and he was immediately involved in a fine passing move which swept across the pitch. When the Jamaican found Taylor he had the crowd on their feet anticipating a goal but his curled shot clipped the far post.

From another corner the former Portsmouth player then blazed a shot over the bar when he mis-controlled a good chance in the penalty box.

Both sides grew more and more desperate to prise an opening, but the local rivals, separated by just 10 miles, were left thwarted as their respective defences held firm.

Bolton manager Gary Megson:
"We have to look at it as two points dropped given the opportunities we created.

"Our failings this season are the same as last year. When we are on top we do not seem able to finish teams off.

"We have not got enough people in the team who are scoring goals. A lot of the time we are dependent on the same faces."

Blackburn boss Paul Ince:
"They are very direct and we stood up to that threat and our two central defenders were world class.

"We should have got three points because Jason Roberts had a golden chance and he knows it.

"We did not get drawn into their way of playing and we tried to get the ball down and play.

"People have said every since I came to the club that we do not have character but we have shown in this game and against Everton a never-say-die spirit and have been very resolute."

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson (Joey O'Brien 77), Andrew O'Brien, Cahill, Samuel, McCann, Davies, Nolan, Muamba (Gardner 69), Taylor (Riga 86), Elmander.
Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Hunt, Smolarek, Shittu.

Booked: Steinsson.

Blackburn: Robinson, Simpson, Nelsen, Samba, Ooijer, Emerton, Villanueva (Derbyshire 62), Kerimoglu, Warnock, Fowler (Andrews 74), Roberts (McCarthy 78).
Subs Not Used: Brown, Grella, Khizanishvili, Treacy.

Booked: Simpson, Villanueva, Kerimoglu.

Att: 24,778

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match:
Bolton's Matt Taylor 7.67 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Premier League as it happened
18 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
18 Oct 08 |  Football
Bolton Player Rater
19 Dec 06 |  Live Text

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