Bolton Wanderers returned to action seven days after Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest with a crucial win against fellow strugglers Blackburn Rovers at The Reebok Stadium.
As midfielder Muamba continues his recovery after collapsing during the abandoned FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham, Bolton were back in Premier League business with victory courtesy of defender David Wheater's two first-half headers.
There were emotional scenes before kick-off as both sets of supporters showed their support for Muamba - and once the action started Bolton delivered the result the club craved in their fight to retain Premier League status.
Wheater headed home twice in seven minutes to give Bolton control before the interval, both goals celebrated by the chanting of Muamba's name from the home support.
Steven Nzonzi pulled a goal back for Blackburn early in the second half but, despite some anxious moments, Bolton held on to move out of the bottom three and to within two points of Steve Kean's side.
At the final whistle, Muamba's name rang around The Reebok once more as manager Owen Coyle joined his players in a huddle at the conclusion of a traumatic week for the club.
In the spring sunshine, supporters had begun arriving hours before kick-off to place items at the area of the stadium designated as a monument to the popular Muamba.
Bolton's players emerged for the warm-up in white shirts bearing Muamba's number "6" - while the green bibs worn by the substitutes carried a similar tribute.
DID YOU KNOW?
The win means Bolton have won successive games for the first time since April 2011
The big screens showed a video montage of the good wishes sent to Muamba from around the football world, bringing prolonged applause from both sets of supporters.
And when the teams came out, a giant mosaic was revealed with the slogan "Muamba 6" as cards were held aloft along the entire length of one side of the stadium.
A period of applause was held prior to kick-off, before - perhaps understandably in the circumstances - the match itself got off to a slow start.
The visitors felt, with some justification, that they had claims for a penalty when Junior Hoilett tumbled under the outstretched leg of Gretar Steinsson but referee Andre Marriner was not interested.
Their frustration increased when Bolton took the lead after 28 minutes as Martin Petrov's cross took a touch off a defender and Wheater arrived to head past Paul Robinson.
Yakubu, always a danger in the box, was inches away from equalising with a firm downward header from Marcus Olsson's cross before Wheater bagged an unlikely double to put the Trotters further in front.
Rovers were once again guilty of dreadful marking, Wheater left unattended as he applied another firm header to Ryo Miyaichi's corner.
The hosts were soon on the attack again after the break, David Ngog just off target from Petrov's cross - but Blackburn were back in the game after 56 minutes when Nzonzi was allowed too much time and space to head Morten Gamst Pedersen's long throw past Adam Bogdan.
In what had become a lively affair - and with the visitors now sensing they could get a point - Bolton's Mark Davies should have done much better than head wide after escaping the attentions of the visitors' defence.
Yakubu was then narrowly off target with 10 minutes left as he attempted to flick in Hoilett's cross at the near post, another sign of Blackburn's growing belief.
This was Bolton's day, however, and scenes of relief and celebration - as well as more expressions of support for Muamba - accompanied the final whistle.
- 01 Bogdan
- 02 Steinsson
- 18 Ricketts
- 31 Wheater
- 32 Ream
- 10 Petrov
- 16 M Davies
- 19 Reo-Coker
- 21 Pratley
- 24 Ngog (Klasnic - 78' )
- 30 Miyaichi
- 22 Jaaskelainen
- 03 Alonso
- 12 Knight
- 07 Eagles
- 14 K Davies
- 17 Klasnic
- 29 Sordell
- 01 Robinson
- 03 Mn Olsson
- 16 Dann
- 31 Hanley
- 10 Formica (Dunn - 65' )
- 12 Pedersen
- 15 Nzonzi
- 21 Ms Olsson Booked
- 35 Lowe Booked
- 23 Hoilett
- 24 Yakubu
- 13 Bunn
- 18 Orr
- 08 Dunn
- 14 Petrovic
- 29 Vukcevic
- 09 Modeste
- 25 Goodwillie
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.90:00 +4:01
Free kick taken by Adam Bogdan.90:00 +4:01 Booking
Booking Marcus Olsson goes into the book.90:00 +3:47
The assistant referee flags for offside against David Dunn.90:00 +3:10
Free kick awarded for a foul by Nigel Reo-Coker on Martin Olsson. Free kick crossed left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen.90:00 +0:33
Samuel Ricketts takes the direct free kick.90:00 +0:33 Booking
Booking Jason Lowe receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.90:00 +0:29
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Martin Petrov by Jason Lowe.89:02
Morten Gamst Pedersen produces a cross, Header from deep inside the area by Ayegbeni Yakubu goes over the bar.87:45
Free kick awarded for a foul by David Dunn on Darren Pratley. Free kick taken by Adam Bogdan.84:52
David Hoilett takes a shot. Blocked by Samuel Ricketts. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen, save made by Adam Bogdan.81:38
The offside flag is raised against Ryo Miyaichi. Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.79:45
Ayegbeni Yakubu produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.77:31
Outswinging corner taken by Martin Petrov from the left by-line, Headed effort on goal by Darren Pratley from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.77:31 Substitution
Substitution Ivan Klasnic is brought on as a substitute for David Ngog.71:22
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Martin Petrov, Morten Gamst Pedersen manages to make a clearance.71:07
Gretar Rafn Steinsson takes a shot. Morten Gamst Pedersen gets a block in.69:38
Morten Gamst Pedersen takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Marcus Olsson produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the target.68:48
Martin Petrov takes a shot. Blocked by Jason Lowe.65:59
Effort from the edge of the area by Martin Petrov goes wide of the right-hand post.
Adam Bogdan restarts play with the free kick.63:59 Substitution
Substitution Mauro Formica goes off and David Dunn comes on.63:59
The assistant referee flags for offside against Ayegbeni Yakubu.57:34
Close range header by Mark Davies goes wide of the left-hand post.55:35
Assist by Morten Gamst Pedersen.55:35 Goal scored
Goal! - Steven Nzonzi - Bolton 2 - 1 Blackburn Steven Nzonzi finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the box. Bolton 2-1 Blackburn.54:33
Mauro Formica fouled by David Ngog, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Paul Robinson.52:46
Ryo Miyaichi takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post. Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Ryo Miyaichi.50:28
David Ngog produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.50:12
Morten Gamst Pedersen challenges David Ngog unfairly and gives away a free kick. Nigel Reo-Coker takes the direct free kick.49:42
Steven Nzonzi takes a shot. Adam Bogdan makes a save.48:05
Shot from long range by Ryo Miyaichi goes wide of the left-hand post.45:54
Free kick awarded for a foul by Ryo Miyaichi on Martin Olsson. Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.45:01
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.45:00 +1:27 Half time
Half Time It is the end of the first-half.45:00 +0:54
Headed effort on goal by Grant Hanley from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.45:00 +0:26
Foul by Gretar Rafn Steinsson on Marcus Olsson, free kick awarded. Morten Gamst Pedersen takes the direct free kick.44:33
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Ryo Miyaichi. The ball is delivered by Samuel Ricketts, save by Paul Robinson.42:57
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Morten Gamst Pedersen, Scott Dann has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide of the left-hand upright.41:01
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ayegbeni Yakubu by David Wheater. Direct free kick taken by Ayegbeni Yakubu.39:08
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen, Scott Dann takes a shot. Save made by Adam Bogdan.38:02
Morten Gamst Pedersen fouled by Darren Pratley, the ref awards a free kick. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.37:10
Corner from right by-line taken by Ryo Miyaichi.34:10
Ryo Miyaichi provided the assist for the goal.34:10 Goal scored
Goal! - David Wheater - Bolton 2 - 0 Blackburn David Wheater finds the back of the net with a headed goal from deep inside the penalty area. Bolton 2-0 Blackburn.33:49
Martin Petrov takes a shot. Save by Paul Robinson. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Ryo Miyaichi from the right by-line,32:11
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Martin Petrov, Grant Hanley manages to make a clearance.31:25
Headed effort from inside the area by Ayegbeni Yakubu misses to the left of the goal.30:46
Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Darren Pratley goes harmlessly over the crossbar.28:00
The assist for the goal came from Martin Petrov.28:00 Goal scored
Goal! - David Wheater - Bolton 1 - 0 Blackburn David Wheater finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the area. Bolton 1-0 Blackburn.27:30
Outswinging corner taken by Martin Petrov.27:09
Marcus Olsson delivers the ball.20:56
Morten Gamst Pedersen is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Nigel Reo-Coker.19:02
Corner taken by Ryo Miyaichi.11:06
Mark Davies challenges David Hoilett unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.9:38
Free kick awarded for a foul by Darren Pratley on Steven Nzonzi. Free kick taken by Paul Robinson.8:07
Shot by Martin Petrov. Save made by Paul Robinson.4:28
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Martin Petrov, Morten Gamst Pedersen makes a clearance.0:00
The match gets underway.
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