Former England striker Emile Heskey scored his first goal in England for 40 months as Bolton came from behind to steal this Skybet Championship derby.
Heskey, who recently had an unsuccessful trial at Ewood Park, netted just 14 minutes into his Wanderers debut before Darren Pratley’s second goal in a week extended Wanderers’ unbeaten run to eight games.
Super sub Heskey, 37 next month and back in the UK after a two-year stint with Australian side, Newcastle Jets, has now scored 11 times in 31 starts against Rovers. His previous goal in the Northern Hemisphere came in a 3-1 win for Aston Villa over Blackburn in August 2011.
However, Gary Bowyer’s side will wonder how they left the Macron Stadium empty handed. They dominated the first half but only had Josh King’s 41st minute goal to show for their effort.
The turning point came at half-time with Heskey’s arrival for Rob Hall to partner Eidur Gudjohnsen, also 36 and the two combined just before the hour to draw Wanderers level.
Three minutes later Bolton-in front of a season’s best crowd of 23,203- took the lead to complete a remarkable turnaround. Feeney’s corner was knocked back into the six yards box by Dorian Dervite and Pratley swept home the winner
Even then Rovers should have scored again. Jordan Rhodes had a goal disallowed for a foul, Marcus Olsson forced Andy Lonergan into the last of a long line of saves while Wanderers somehow survived a frenetic goalmouth melee to stay in front.
Blackburn might have been in front after less than a minute with Rhodes-a one-time Lennon target when in charge of Celtic- heading against a post with Lonergan beaten.
The visitors, with top scorer Rudy Gestede surprisingly only named on the bench, had lost on their last four visits to the Macron Stadium, including last March’s 4-0 reverse.
But they were the livelier side early on as Wanderers battled to protect their impressive defensive record. Lonergan was at full stretch to palm away Tom Cairney’s shot from 18 yards
And he doubled his magnificent stops as Ben Marshall broke clear from halfway only to see his final effort pushed aside for a Rovers corner.
Eventually Wanderers lifted the siege through Liam Feeney’s rapid break down the Blackburn left. His cross picked out Gudjohnsen steaming into the six yard box but the Icelander steered his shot just wide.
The better chances though continued to fall Rovers’ way and Rhodes squandered a one-on-one against Lonergan after being put through by Marshall’s perfect pass.
So, it was no surprise when King crowned Rovers’ superb first half display with a deserved goal. Despite appeals for offside King raced 40 yards, cutting in front the right wing, rounding Lonergan with ease before rolling the ball into an unguarded net.
Bolton’s instant reply saw Paul Robinson beat away Chung-yong Lee’s shot before Feeney, a former Rovers’ loanee, grazed the crossbar with a cross-cum-shot. The second half was much more even but Heskey inspired Bolton made their rivals pay for their profligacy in front of goal.