Bolton Wanderers return to action with win

Last updated 07:58 25/03/2012

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Bolton Wanderers have made an emotional return to action with a 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League on, a week after midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup tie.

After postponing their midweek league fixture against Aston Villa out of respect for the England under-21 international, who remains in intensive care in hospital, Bolton secured three points to climb out of the relegation zone.

Fans held up a mosaic of cards which spelled out ''Muamba 6'' before kickoff, referring to his shirt number, and both sets of players warmed up in jerseys sporting the midfielder's name.

A video screen showed a compilation of Muamba in action while there was also a period of applause for the player who received life-saving treatment on the pitch at Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday after his heart stopped beating.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle, who has been a regular visitor to the London Chest Hospital this week, said the win would give Muamba a lift as he continued his recovery.

''The perfect ending will be when Fabrice walks out of hospital and back to his best with that great huge smile on his face and God willing that will happen,'' said Coyle who added that Muamba sent a message of good luck to the team.

''Fabrice is continuing to get better which is great. He's still in intensive care but day by day he is getting stronger,'' he told Sky Sports.

''If I take myself back a week he has come a long way already. Today his team mates and friends represented him in a manner befitting Fabrice.


''Football is very emotional and passionate but when something like that happens to someone you hold dear then it pales into insignificance,'' said Coyle.

''The players are out on their feet physically and mentally,'' he added after Bolton moved up to fourth from bottom.

According to club doctor Jonathan Tobin, Muamba was ''in effect dead'' for 78 minutes following his collapse at Tottenham.

His condition is improving but a statement from his father Marcel and fiancee Shauna Magunda on Saturday said he still had a long way to go.

''The support we have had from the fans, not just from Bolton but football supporters around the world, has given us so much strength,'' the statement read.

''We have been particularly touched by the support from the football community globally.

''Even though Fabrice has made great progress over the last couple of days, he still has a long period of recovery ahead. He has asked that you please keep him in your prayers.'

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- Reuters

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