Bolton's good work spoiled by Short head

Bolton Wanderers 1 Blackburn Rovers 1

Bolton were ahead in this Lancashire derby for 84 minutes, but no student of form at the Reebok Stadium should have been surprised when Craig Short stooped to head in Dwight Yorke's cross in the fourth minute of added time to deny Bolton the three points that would have lifted them out of the relegation zone.

Bolton have not kept a clean sheet since September, and their previous four home matches all ended one apiece so – despite a catalogue of missed chances which will make Blackburn supporters impatient for the first appearance of Turkish striker Hakan Sukur – Short's late, late equaliser was almost as inevitable as an Australian victory in an Ashes Test.

The veteran defender does not often appear on the scoresheet, but after Yorke hit the crossbar midway through the second half and he and Andy Cole failed to capitalise on a string of chances – including some mishandling by Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen – Blackburn manager Graeme Souness pushed nine men forward in a desperate attempt to rescue the point which, on balance, they deserved. "It was the last throw of the dice but it would have been hard on us if we had lost the game," said Souness.

But if anyone deserved to win praise, it was Bolton's Nigerian defender Jay Jay Okocha, who put them ahead as early as the eighth minute. On a raw afternoon he kept himself warm by covering every blade of grass, demanding the ball from his colleagues and forcing defenders to stop him by foul means as often as fair.

His partnership with Per Frandsen, whose return to the side eased Bolton manager Sam Allardyce's injury problems a little, had Blackburn on the back foot from the start. Paul Warhurst and Youri Djorkaeff both hooked the ball over the bar from his long throws before his efforts were rewarded with a delightful goal. Frandsen chipped the ball into the penalty area from inside the centre circle, it was knocked down by Djorkaeff, and Okocha finished with a crisp, low drive into the far corner of Brad Friedel's net from the 18-yard line.

Blackburn lost David Dunn almost immediately with a hamstring injury, but once Damien Duff began to assert himself down the left the search for an equaliser was on, with Bolton's fragile rearguard offering plenty of encouragement.

They failed to clear Yorke's shot from the edge of the box, and when David Thompson returned the ball low across the face of goal Gudni Bergsson was lucky not to turn it into his own net. And when Thompson set up a similar chance for Cole, the striker allowed the ball to roll harmlessly under his boot when he was well placed on the edge of the area.

Bolton regrouped at the start of the second half and Friedel justified Allardyce's view – detailed in the matchday programme – that he is the best goalkeeper in the Premiership by saving at point-blank range after Henrik Pedersen intercepted an underhit back pass.

It looked as though one goal might be enough for Bolton when Thompson missed from close range after Jaaskelainen halted Cole's goal-bound run with his feet, and Yorke hit the bar. But a last fatal lapse of concentration let in Short and left Allardyce fuming.

"The Premiership will always punish you if you switch off," the manager said. "And we have nobody to blame but ourselves."

Bolton Wanderers 1
Okocha 8

Blackburn Rovers 1
Short 90

Half-time: 1-0 Attendance: 24,556

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable