The former Nottingham Forest midfielder Lars Bohinen returned to Rovers' midfield, Chris Sutton dropping to substitute, and his imagination was central to Rovers' win. First, the Norwegian international combined with David Batty to give their captain Tim Sherwood the chance for a 22-yard shot. His aim was true.
Dmitri Kharin kept Chelsea in touch when he saved smartly from Alan Shearer and Stuart Ripley but four minutes into the second half Sherwood's pass set up Shearer's 15th goal of the season. Eight minutes later Bohinen crossed, Shearer headed down and Mike Newell made it 3-0.
How Chelsea must have wished for a performance like that of their former striker Neil Shipperley, whose two goals helped Southampton win at Wimbledon.
The Saints had not won in six Premiership matches but Shipperley, who scored the winner in their midweek Coca-Cola Cup success, gave them a ninth-minute lead. Gordon Watson squared the ball to leave him with a simple finish.
The Dons are hamstrung with injuries at present and went into yesterday's game with a run of five consecutive defeats, their worst-ever sequence in the League. They forced nine first-half corners and finally had some reward when Jason Euell, an 18-year-old striker making his League debut, brought the scores level on 63 minutes. But Shipperley's second settled matters 11 minutes later.
Gary McAllister played a true captain's role when he scored a hat-trick for Leeds at Elland Road after Coventry City had taken the lead through their captain, Dion Dublin, who was making his first start for five weeks.
Dublin scored after 12 minutes but then McAllister took command, scoring twice in four minutes to give Leeds a half-time lead. His first came from a shot deflected past the goalkeeper John Filan off the defender Dave Busst but his second, a superb curling free-kick, needed no assistance. His third was a last-minute penalty.
Conceding a late equaliser to Blackburn last weekend and going out of the Coca-Cola Cup at Southampton on Wednesday has not dented the confidence of West Ham. They beat Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough by a single goal which came five minutes before the break. Mark Pembridge's poor control allowed Robbie Slater to rob him. Slater's cross picked out Iain Dowie who scored from 12 yards.
In Scotland, Rangers had their lead cut to four points when they could only draw 2-2 at Raith Rovers and second-placed Celtic beat Aberdeen 2- 0 in Glasgow.
There are new leaders in the Endsleigh First Division. Millwall, for it is they, beat third-placed West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at the New Den while former leaders Leicester City lost 3-2 at home to Crystal Palace. Bruce Dyer scored twice for Palace as they built up a 3-0 lead but an fierce attack of the jitters allowed Mark Robins and Scott Taylor to give Leicester faint hope.
The Lions, meanwhile, ended a controversial week - a "fan" allegedly issued a death threat on the pitch to Sheffield Wednesday's goalkeeper Kevin Pressman during the Londoners' Coca-Cola Cup defeat - with a table- topping win thanks to goals by Chris Malkin and Uwe Fuchs.Reuse content