Blackburn add to Bolton’s misery
Ben Brereton scored his first Blackburn goal as they sauntered to a 2-0 win over relegated Bolton.
The 20-year-old broke the deadlock in a tight first half when a neat move on the half-hour set him clear and he confidently stroked home.
Former Bolton loanee Adam Armstrong settled the game from close range five minutes after the break with his ninth goal of the campaign.
The game felt like a testimonial at times, with Rovers able to hand out home and league debuts, and whilst Callum Connolly had two decent chances for the Trotters, they never looked like scoring on another chastening afternoon.
Rovers still harbour hopes of a top-half finish after stretching their winning sequence to four – the second time this season they have managed it.
Both sides made three changes from their Good Friday fixtures. For Blackburn, Jack Rodwell returned to make his 150th career start, while the Trotters replaced injured duo Gary O’Neil and David Wheater with Craig Noone and Mark Beevers.
It was the visitors who started brightest, with Sammy Ameobi’s shot whistling over the crossbar before the first major chance five minutes in, when Callum Connolly directed a free header over from six yards, after Noone’s inch-perfect cross found him at the far post.
Rovers made the breakthrough in the 30th minute with the half’s only moment of quality, as Bradley Dack slid a perfect ball to Brereton who calmly slotted into the bottom right corner from 12 yards out. It was harsh on the balance of play but indicative of the league’s second leakiest defence.
Luke Murphy came close an equaliser on the stroke of half-time, but his thunderous 25-yard drive was just too high.
After the break, Ameobi’s neat turn and shot forced a low save from Jayson Leutwiler, but Rovers doubled their lead in the 50th minute.
Dack’s low ball found Joe Rothwell, whose point-blank shot was superbly saved by Ben Alnwick, but Armstrong was quickest to react and fired into the roof of the net.
Wanderers almost responded immediately when Ameobi’s superb reverse pass found Connolly six yards out, but Leutwiler stood tall to divert behind.
Brereton should have made it three but somehow lifted his shot over the bar when meeting Rothwell’s perfect cross.
The former Nottingham Forest forward could have had two more before the end, but just failed to connect with Dan Butterworth’s cross-cum-shot and then had an effort saved by Alnwick’s legs.
It did not matter though, as Rovers completed the double over Bolton for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
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