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SPORTS
21 Dec 2011
BLACKBURN 1 - 2 BOLTON

Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean felt the full fury of Ewood Park again as Bolton Wanderers came out on top in the battle of the Premier League strugglers.

Bolton moved off the bottom and left Blackburn propping up the table with only their fourth win of the season on a night of naked hostility and passion.

Mark Davies and Nigel Reo-Coker gave Bolton a two-goal lead at the interval and, despite Yakubu throwing Blackburn and Kean a lifeline after the break, the hosts slumped to a third successive defeat to prompt more protests and calls for his dismissal from the Rovers fans.

Kean stood alone in his technical area amid periods of sustained abuse and such was the level of personal animosity aimed at the Scot it is hard to see how he can turn the supporters around and survive after 12 torrid months in charge.

He insists he continues to have the support of Blackburn's Indian owners Venky's, but they were not spared as Blackburn fans also demanded they relinquish control of the club, with banners unfurled in the Ronnie Clayton End.

Noisy protests continued outside Ewood Park after the game as Rovers' position becomes even more perilous.

After the narrow defeat at Sunderland, Kean set his sights on victory in home games against West Bromwich Albion and Bolton - but both have ended in defeat.

Bolton's victory relieves some of the pressure building on boss Owen Coyle and he was all smiles as he celebrated with the visiting supporters after securing a vital three points.

Kean needed Blackburn to make a good start to halt the groundswell of discontent that has built towards him - but Wanderers ensured the fragile truce inside Ewood Park towards the manager was soon broken.

Chris Samba failed to make a clearance, leaving David Ngog to pick out Davies for a composed finish that gave home goalkeeper Paul Robinson no chance.

The goal was immediately greeted with chants sweeping around the stadium demanding Kean's removal and matters were made even worse for the besieged Scot as the visitors doubled their lead on the half-hour.

Martin Petrov found space on the left flank and, when Morten Gamst Pedersen was unable to deal with his cross, Reo-Coker forced a somewhat fortuitous shot past Robinson.

Inevitably given the current climate around Blackburn, a storm of abuse was directed towards the technical area where Kean stood and one fan was even allowed to advance towards the dug-out while the manager watched.

In an atmosphere increasingly laced with poison, Ngog saw a shot blocked and the half-time whistle was the signal for another outbreak of deafening jeering.

Blackburn almost managed to offer Kean and their supporters some cheer in the opening moments of the second half when Junior Hoilett set up Steven N'Zonzi, who went for placement as opposed to power and was just off target.

The inventive Hoilett was the creator again as Rovers gave themselves hope with 23 minutes left. He slipped a perfect through ball into Yakubu, who escaped from Gary Cahill to score with ease.

Yakubu had another shot deflected just wide as Blackburn risked all in search of an equaliser - but their attacking approach left them vulnerable to a Bolton counter-punch and they almost suffered after 75 minutes.

Petrov's pace took him clear of the home defence but his cross agonisingly avoided stretching substitute Tuncay, on for the injured Ngog.

Blackburn's second-half performance had been in complete contrast to their dreadful first-half showing, and in a frantic conclusion both sides could have scored.

Darren Pratley ran free in the area but curled a finish wide and then Samba, thrown forward as an extra attacker, headed inches wide with Blackburn's last chance.

When the final whistle sounded, Ewood Park was a picture of contrasts. The Bolton fans sang in elation and support of boss Coyle while Blackburn's supporters again turned their fire on Kean as a scarf was thrown in the direction of the manager.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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