Yorke heads home to deny Jones sickbed tonic

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Blackburn Rovers 2
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The Independent Football

The heroic efforts of Wolverhampton Wanderers to provide their sick manager, Dave Jones, with the tonic of three points were thwarted last night by a striker Jones had wanted to sign on loan.

Jones, confined to bed with a chest infection as his bottom-of-the-table side continued their desperate quest for points, had asked Blackburn about Dwight Yorke this week as he continues to search for the players who might save his side from relegation but he decided not to pursue his interest.

He was made to regret it when Yorke came off the bench to head Blackburn's equaliser after Wolves had battled back from an early setback to lead at Molineux.

The Blackburn manager, Graeme Souness, confirmed that he is happy for Yorke, who has been unhappy at being left out of Blackburn's starting line-up, to remain at Ewood Park. "I'll be happy if he plays the way I know he can play," Souness said. "He is a great talent and he showed here that he wants a starting place."

Yorke's former Old Trafford team-mate Andy Cole had given Blackburn a 15th-minute lead with his 250th goal in club football - and his first since September - after Souness had demanded they bounce back from their 4-0 FA Cup humiliation at Birmingham.

Wolves, with the former Southampton manager Stuart Gray in charge on the touchline only three days after joining the club's coaching staff, were eager to avenge the 5-1 defeat at Ewood Park that provided them with a traumatic welcome to the Premiership on the opening day of the season.

However, with the captain, Paul Ince, also absent with the same bug that laid his manager low, they made a nervous start that was abruptly punctuated when Blackburn went ahead.

After Martin Taylor had denied the home side with a courageous block on Alex Rae, Brett Emerton raced away on the run that would end with a cut-back to Cole and a clean strike into the roof of the net.

Wolves revealed considerable spirit given that several other players - including the goalscorer Paul Butler - under the weather. Rae and Colin Cameron were outstanding in midfield, snuffing out Tugay and Garry Flitcroft, and the pace of Henri Camara was continually troublesome.

They drew level when Rae pumped a left-sided free-kick deep into the penalty area to be met by the centre-back Butler, whose header gave the Rovers goalkeeper, Brad Friedel, no chance. Then Rae capped the most telling performance of the evening by putting Wolves in front.

The former Sunderland midfielder, for whom no cause was ever lost, chased into the Blackburn penalty area to get on to Nathan Blake's clever lay-off, threading a curling right-foot shot into the far corner through a crowded penalty area, out of Friedel's reach.

But now Blackburn came up with the right response after winning a free-kick on the right. Emerton swung the ball across and Yorke, who had replaced Paul Gallagher and already drawn one good save from Michael Oakes, headed home.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Oakes 5; Irwin 4, Craddock 5, Butler 4, Naylor 5; Newton 5 (Gudjonsson, 82), Rae 7, Cameron 6, Kennedy 4; Camara 6, Iversen 4 (Blake 6, 32). Substitutes not used: Ikeme (gk), Miller, Clyde.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Friedel 6; Babbel 6, Short 6 (Johansson 6, 43), Taylor 7, Neill 5; Emerton 7, Tugay 5, Flitcroft 6, Gresko 5 (Baggio 4, 75); Gallagher 5 (Yorke 7, 61), Cole 6. Substitutes not used: Yeldell (gk), Jansen.

Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe) 4.

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