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14 Jan 2008 11:35
Jason Roberts’s last-minute winner secured a 2-1 win for Blackburn Rovers away to local rivals Bolton Wanderers as they battled back from going a goal down in dramatic fashion on Sunday.
The Lancashire derby appeared destined for a draw when the striker, a second-half substitute for South Africa international Benni McCarthy, burst clear from the halfway line and left several defenders behind him at the Reebok Stadium.
His powerful run took him into the box before his deflected shot beat Jussi Jaaskelainen as he scored his first goal of the season.
It was the fifth time this term that Rovers had come from behind to win a Premier League match.
Victory saw them move into eighth place on the table and left Bolton as one of four relegation-threatened clubs on 20 points.
Afterwards Roberts, with the transfer window still open, made it clear how keen he was for first-team football after what was only his 14th Rovers appearance of the season.
“It’s been disappointing, I haven’t played as many games as I would like. But I think today [Sunday] I showed a little of what I can do,” said Roberts.
“It’s been frustrating with injuries since I’ve come to this club,” the 29-year-old Roberts, signed from Wigan before the start of last season, added.
“I’ve not really played enough games but I think I am ready to play now and I’ve been ready for a while now.”
Asked if he wanted to stay with Blackburn or move elsewhere, Roberts replied: “It’s not really in my hands at the moment.
I just want to play.”
Kevin Nolan’s spectacular volley gave Bolton, who were playing their first match since striker Nicolas Anelka’s transfer to Chelsea, the lead just before the break.
Rovers though were level when central defender Christopher Samba headed in from a corner in the 53rd minute.
Nolan’s wonder-goal was the highlight of an otherwise easily forgettable first-half.
The Wanderers captain struck two minutes before half-time when he volleyed home a crossfield ball from Joey O’Brien when out wide on the left of the penalty area.
But at the other end Jaaskelaine’s error helped Rovers equalise.
The Finland keeper missed a David Bentley corner before French-born Congo international Samba’s mistimed header bounced down into the turf and over the head of Danny Guthrie, guarding the far post.
A well-worked move with 20 minutes left saw Rovers almost take the lead. McCarthy dragged several defenders towards him before he rolled the ball left to Morten Gamst Pedersen.
However, the Norwegian’s shot across the face of goal sped past the post.
In another match played on Sunday, relegation-threatened Sunderland enjoyed a morale-boosting 2-0 Premier League win at home to Portsmouth—Sapa-AFP
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