defender David Wheater (third from left) celebrating with his teammates
after scoring the first of his two goals against Blackburn Rovers.
London - Two David Wheater headers ensured
Bolton Wanderers profited from the tidal wave of emotion, generated by
Fabrice Muamba's successful battle for life, against Blackburn Rovers at
the Reebok Stadium yesterday.
It was seven days since Muamba
suffered a cardiac arrest at Tottenham and, while he remains in
intensive care, his startling recovery has created a feel-good factor
over the past few days.
And Bolton seized upon it, with Wheater
nodding home a cross from Martin Petrov in the 28th minute, and a corner
from Ryo Miyaichi seven minutes later to give them a deserved 2-1 win
and a spot above the relegation zone in the Premier League table.
Blackburn pulled a goal back
through Steven Nzonzi in the 56th minute, but they could not force a
draw or a win, and are now just two points ahead of Bolton in 16th
In May, the points could be crucial. But yesterday it was all about Muamba.
Fans held up a mosaic of cards which spelled
out 'Muamba 6' while a video screen showed a compilation of the England
Under-21 international in action.
There was a period of applause before the
kick-off for the player who received life-saving treatment on the pitch
at White Hart Lane last weekend after his heart stopped beating.
Bolton started the brighter of the two sides
as they played at a quick tempo, and Martin Petrov so nearly opened the
scoring after nine minutes, but Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson made a
smart save at his near post.
Blackburn felt they might have had a penalty
after 24 minutes when Gretar Steinsson appeared to foul Junior Hoilett
in the box, but no decision was given.
Bolton broke the deadlock, thanks to some
slack Rovers marking as Petrov's header was flicked on by Nzonzi, and
the unmarked Wheater easily headed home. They then doubled their lead
when Wheater again lost Scott Dann to head home Miyaichi's corner.
N'Zonzi flicked home a Morten Gamst Pedersen
long throw to reduce the margin in the 56th minute, but Bolton held on
to bag three points.