Paying the penalty

Wanderers worthy but it could've been different, says Thommo

Last Updated: 25/03/12 9:22am

Thompson: Pleased for Bolton but sympathises with Rovers

Bolton sent stricken midfielder Fabrice Muamba another 'get well' message as two David Wheater headers bagged them a nervy 2-1 win over relegation rivals Blackburn at an emotional Reebok Stadium.

"It wasn't a classic in football terms but you could feel how tense it was - anxiety from both sides. Blackburn won't be happy with it but it was fitting that Bolton won the game."

Phil Thompson

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The towering defender rose to nod in a deflected Martin Petrov cross on the half-hour and was in the right place at the right time again seven minutes later to send Ryo Miyaichi's corner hurtling into the net.

Rovers, who were unfortunate not to have earned a penalty early on when Junior Hoilett was felled by Gretar Steinsson, eventually made a game of it with a goal of their own - Steven Nzonzi flicking yet another header home from a Morten Gamst Pedersen throw-in.

But ultimately Wanderers held on for three points that sees them climb out of the relegation zone.

Phil Thompson, reporting on the game for Soccer Saturday, said afterwards: "Bolton were desperate to win. You had David Ngog diving into tackles, running around chasing and harrying.

"Both teams knew exactly what was at stake - probably Bolton a bit more because of Fabrice Muamba. It wasn't a classic in football terms but you could feel how tense it was - anxiety from both sides. Blackburn won't be happy with it but it was fitting that Bolton won the game."

Clinical

Thommo - a former goalscoring defender himself - was impressed with the manner in which Wheater converted his chances.

He said: "They were good goals as well. The first one came from the left-hand side. Martin Petrov played a great ball in and it's taken a deflection but Wheater's headed it down. Three and a half years he's waited for a goal.

"Then, just as buses do, another one comes along seven minutes later. A Ryo Miyaichi corner - with lots of pace on - and Wheater's unmarked to send a bullet header into the back of the net.

"The two teams had chances in the air. There wasn't many balls slid through on the deck, it was crosses coming in and both teams made openings that way."

Luck

Thompson highlighted the penalty that never was in the first half - Hoilett tumbling under a clumsy lunge from Steinsson but referee Andre Marriner turning down the heated appeals.

Thompson told Soccer Saturday: "I'm quite sure Steve Kean will look back before the two goals for Bolton, there was an incident with Junior Hoilett, who went into the box and Gretar Steinsson penalty goes across him. It was a nailed-on penalty kick - you've got to give it and Mr Marriner didn't. It could've changed the course of the game.

"Yakubu had two headers in the game. The first one was a bullet - he generated great power on the ball and it just flashed past the post. Besides that, there were no real chances for the guy.

"Eventually, Rovers did score from a long throw by Pedersen. Steven Nzonzi was getting pushed around by Mark Davies, who must be 18 inches smaller than him and he glanced the ball home.

"Bolton were the better team and although Blackburn got balls in the box, not many of them troubled Alex Bogdan."