Football: Taylor answers the Bolton prayers

Bolton 2 Holdsworth 20, Taylor 67 Blackburn Rovers 1 Duff 51 Attendance: 25,000
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The Independent Online
WANDERERS supporters - and they have been in the vast majority - who have been calling for Dean Holdsworth's head got the best of both worlds when the club's record signing and his second-half replacement got the goals that kept their Premiership survival hopes flickering.

Although Blackburn, who had their left-back, Jason Wilcox, sent off in the last minute of his return to his home town, dominated for long periods, Holdsworth's headed goal in the first half and a well-taken effort by Bob Taylor after the break were enough to give Bolton a potentially invaluable victory.

The first of those goals, heavily against the run of play, completed a tale of two crossbars. Garry Flitcroft had already hit Bolton's with a header from Chris Sutton's cross before John Sheridan's foray down the left resulted in the ball falling conveniently for Alan Thompson. The midfielder, whose willingness to shoot from distance with his left foot has brought him a productive spell during the second half of the season, hit a typically thunderous attempt against the bar and instead of bouncing to safety came down for Holdsworth to nod past the stranded Alan Fettis. It gave the Bolton fans the opportunity to chant "There's only one Dean Holdsworth" without it seeming to refer to his meagre goal tally.

Bolton had a couple of other escapes soon after that, with Sheridan heading off the line from Colin Hendry and Tim Sherwood putting his header too close to Keith Branagan. Then both sides could have scored before half- time, with Nathan Blake chipping over the bar after being presented with the ball by Stephane Henchoz and Kevin Gallacher missing the target from Sutton's lay-off.

Bolton's precarious lead lasted just five minutes of the second half and the circumstances of the equaliser must have made them think that any overdue good fortune they were enjoying had suddenly evaporated. Flitcroft ran at the defence and Damien Duff manoeuvred on to his left foot for a shot that looked fairly harmless until the ball took a big deflection off Andy Todd to leave Branagan helpless.

Enter Taylor, the lower division journeyman now on his second period on loan from West Brom. Like Holdsworth, he had scored only once before yesterday, so for both to find the net was the equivalent of buying two lottery tickets and both turning out to be winners. His introduction for the injured Holdsworth was an inspired move. He looked a handful from the start and had already twisted and turned to get in a shot that was blocked before his moment of glory in the 67th minute. Thompson picked up the ball in midfield, Per Frandsen took it on and, when the ball skewed off Jeff Kenna's tackle, Taylor was there to tuck it away.

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