FULL TIME: Bolton Wanderers 4 Blackburn Rovers 0
WANDERERS registered their biggest win over Blackburn Rovers in 86 years with an enthralling performance at the Reebok.
Goals from Medo, Joe Mason, Jay Spearing and Andre Moritz made it back-to-back wins for Dougie Freedman’s side at home – and represented their most compelling win over their local rivals since 1928 when the legendary David Jack scored four in a 6-0 rout.
The one-sidedness of the scoreline more than reflected the pattern of the game, with Wanderers looking a completely different side to the one that has toiled for so long this season.
So often in the last few months the final whistle has been met with moans and groans – but this time fans stayed behind to cheer every player off the pitch, and will no doubt be enjoying tonight all the more for what they witnessed.
Following on from last week’s encouraging win over Watford, Wanderers again hit their stride early on.
Medo had an early free-kick bounce off the wall, with Jay Spearing’s resultant corner headed just over by Tim Ream.
Paul Robinson then made a scrambling save from another deflected effort, this time by Neil Danns, but had defender Jason Lowe to thank for a sensational clearance a few moments later after Mark Davies had cut in from the left.
It had been all Bolton for the first 15 minutes but the visitors started to get themselves back into the game after a chance dropped for Lee Williamson on the edge of the box and the midfielder’s half volley was pushed away athletically by Adam Bogdan.
The Hungarian then made another important stop after Zat Knight’s poor header had gifted a run on goal to Jordan Rhodes, of all people. Thankfully, Bogdan was quick off the mark and made the block.
But just as it looked as if Wanderers needed to be on their guard, they crafted a superb opening goal on 23 minutes.
Lutkiewicz came deep to receive the ball and played a good pass out to Danns on the left – he cut in and beat Adam Henley before crossing low for Medo to stoop and head home from eight yards out.
It was the Sierra Leone international’s second goal of the season, and just reward for what had been an excellent start to the game for him personally.
Wanderers really hammered home their advantage before the break.
Robinson had to be at his best after Danns wriggled free of two would-be challengers on the edge of the area to smash a left-footed effort at goal.
And the ex-England international did a fine job again just before the break as Spearing threaded a pass through for Mason, who saw his first shot saved and the rebound dribble agonisingly wide of the post.
It looked like the kind of missed opportunity we’d be talking about after the game – but as the board went up for one minute of added time, Danns’ volley was blocked and fell kindly for Mason to scoop past Robinson to give Wanderers a deserved two-goal lead.
Fans hardly had time to get back to their seats by the time Wanderers extended their lead even further.
Blackburn, who had made a double substitution at the break, retreated to the edge of their own box and offered up space for Spearing to smash a shot from 20 yards that bounced off the bar and down beyond the line.
The linesman flagged instantly for the goal but there was still a confusing 20 second-spell as play continued before home supporters could start to cheer again.
Wanderers were in dream land by that point, and were causing Blackburn’s defence problems with every attack.
Knight saw a header drop just wide before Jutkiewicz squeezed another angled shot just off target.
Everything was going in Bolton’s favour, for once. Rhodes went desperately close again with a header from Olsson’s cross – his longest dry spell as a Blackburn player now extending to nine games.
At the other end the chances had started to dry up as Wanderers made sure they saw the game out.
Mason hit the side netting after Jutkiewicz had won his umpteenth header at the far post to keep Ream’s deep cross alive – but the points looked secure with a third of the game still remaining.
But there was still time for a fourth - and with the crowd screaming for more, Andre Moritz stepped off the bench to rifle his sixth goal of the season from long range and set up unparalleled scenes of celebration around the Reebok.