Dwight Yorke grabbed a point for Blackburn deep into stoppage time with a headed goal that came shortly after Steven Reid's debut for Rovers had been ended early by a red card. Graeme Souness paid tribute to Yorke's efforts in difficult circumstances: "Dwight has been doing well this season and he has repaid us with this performance. His sister died last week, so he deserves a special mention, and all credit to him"
Bolton must have thought victory was theirs; after all, they had been in front since the third minute. Youri Djorkaeff had been recalled to the Bolton starting line-up after suffering a hairline fracture of the cheekbone and, sans protective mask, imposed himself after a mere 60 seconds with a lob over Brad Friedel that floated just above the crossbar, to the relief of the Blackburn keeper.
Then after three minutes, he made the breakthrough. The referee, Andy D'Urso, awarded a penalty after Lucas Neill had tugged Jay-Jay Okocha as he tried to break clear, and Djorkaeff confidently stroked the penalty beyond Friedel. This was just the start Bolton wanted after they had failed to beat Blackburn in their previous eight meetings. Souness, however, was unhappy with the decision: "We didn't think it was a penalty at the time, and especially after seeing it at an angle on TV."
There was another scare for Blackburn after 24 minutes when Yorke was upended by Kevin Nolan and lay on the floor. He soon recovered, despite looking winded.
Bolton then added a second goal in the 25th minute, with Kevin Davies finding the target against his former club. It was clinical finish by Davies, a player hopelessly out of form for much of last season with Southampton and Millwall. He latched on to a crossfield pass from the ever- productive Djorkaeff on the edge of the area.
Souness's side just could not get hold of the ball in midfield in the first half and, with Djorkaeff's and Okocha's influence becoming increasingly irritating, Brett Emerton's frustration spilled over in the 42nd minute, when he was booked for tripping Djorkaeff.
Bolton started the second period brightly, but Blackburn retaliated when Matt Jansen struck on 50 minutes with a fine finish after a low cross from David Thompson.
When Reid was sent off in the 88th minute after bringing down Stelios Giannakopoulos, it looked as if Bolton had broken this particular streak, but Yorke grabbed a point deep into stoppage time.
Despite the fightback, Souness criticised the sending-off: "I thought it was a great challenge. It wasn't a nasty challenge - he wasn't high. We will be appealing."
Unsurprisingly, Sam Allar-dyce was also furious with his team's defending: "It makes you wonder where we are going to go this year, because we can't defend," he said. "We need to make this ground a fortress again."
Bolton Wanderers 2
Djorkaeff pen 3, Davies 25
Blackburn Rovers 2
Jansen 50, Yorke 90
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