Friday 23 March 2018

Coyle hails spirit after late Holden winner

Bolton 2
Blackburn 1

Jamie Holland

Bolton boss Owen Coyle hailed his side's fighting spirit after they shrugged off the sending-off of Mark Davies to snatch a dramatic late winner through Stuart Holden at the Reebok Stadium.

Mame Biram Diouf's 87th-minute equaliser appeared to have ended the Trotters' hopes of victory before Holden volleyed a stunning winner moments later to earn all three points for Bolton.

"What I loved was that having lost an equaliser so late in the game and being down to 10 men, it would be easy to feel sorry for yourself," said Coyle.

"But with this group, their first instinct was to go forward and to try to win it, even with 10 men.

"What it showed me was that we have a tremendous spirit and desire to go and work for each other and to stand up and be counted. I think that was so evident for everyone to see."

Coyle reserved particular praise for Fabrice Muamba, who responded to being dropped for the first time in the league this season by netting the opener just five minutes after coming on as a substitute.

"Fabrice scored a great goal," said Coyle. "It was a big decision to leave him out because Fabrice has started every game for me."

Disappointed Rovers boss Sam Allardyce blasted his side for defending "like a bunch of old women", and added: "We have thrown away the chance of more points."

But Allardyce pinpointed a particular moment in the match when he claimed Zat Knight was guilty of handball in the box moments before Bolton broke down the other end and opened the scoring.

"The real turning point was a blatant hand-ball by Zat Knight. They got a free-kick off the goal-kick and put the ball in the box and Muamba scored," said Allardyce.

"So in the space of one minute and 30 seconds the game has turned on its head from us gaining an advantage and maybe going 1-0 up, to us defending like a bunch of old women."

But Allardyce admitted his disappointment over some of the decisions of referee Mark Clattenburg could not hide the fact that his team had thrown away a point.

Irish Independent

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