Belfast Telegraph

Wheater brace boosts Bolton

Bolton paid tribute to Fabrice Muamba in the best way possible by claiming a 2-1 victory over Blackburn that lifted them out of the Barclays Premier League's bottom three.

Two first-half headers from centre-half David Wheater, the first double of his career, were enough to repel Blackburn's rally after Steven Nzonzi had pulled one back after half-time.

Securing back-to-back wins for the first time this season was a fitting conclusion to an emotional week at the Reebok Stadium, following the cardiac arrest suffered by Muamba in an FA Cup tie at Tottenham seven days ago.

Bolton fed off the home crowd's enthusiasm, with Martin Petrov a particular threat down the left. The Bulgarian hit a blistering 25-yard drive that was beaten away by Paul Robinson in the opening stages, while Trotters striker David Ngog was also causing a nuisance.

But it was just as Bolton paused for breath after the early frenzy that they enjoyed a sizeable piece of luck.

Television replays showed defender Gretar Steinsson had ended Junior Hoilett's charge into the box illegally, but referee Andre Marriner did not have the same view and waved play on.

Bolton found their stride again. Petrov's cross provided the chance, his delivery inadvertently flicked on by Nzonzi for Wheater to head in at the far post for his first Premier League goal since August 2008.

Seven minutes later the towering centre-back was celebrating another. This time the delivery came from Ryo Miyaichi's superb corner, which flew perfectly on to the head of the Bolton man who made no mistake with a thumping finish.

Blackburn pulled one back when Nzonzi found the net rather too easily after Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan failed to impose himself on a packed penalty area.

Bolton survived a late onslaught, however, to claim a poignant win and three crucial points.

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