Blackburn Rovers 3 (Tanner 47, 77 Rittenberg 55)
Wolves 3 (Keita-pen 3, Tanner-og 8, Bancessi 53)
Wolves twice held a two goal advantage over Blackburn Rovers when the teams met at Leigh Sports Village on Monday evening, but in the end the visitors had to be satisfied with a point as the Lancashire side hit back after making a disastrous start.
With less than three minutes gone Wolves were ahead. Will Beesley handled Jamie O’Hara’s crossfield pass on the far side of the Rovers box and Ibrahim Keita sent keeper David Raya the wrong way from the spot.
On eight minutes Wanderers doubled their advantage as Hyuga Tanner nodded into his own net from Anthony Forde’s corner from the left.
It then took a good save from Raya to deny Forde who had been played in by Eusebio Bancessi – the keeper just getting his fingers to the ball to turn it wide and prevent a third goal within the opening quarter of an hour.
It wasn’t until the 17th minute that Jon Flatt was called into action with a routine save from Devern Green’s low shot.
Rovers weren’t far away from pulling one back following a break from a Forde corner. The ball was played to Jordan Laidler and he couldn’t have been more than a couple of feet wide from the edge of the box. And then Flatt had to be at his best to turn aside a low drive from Green.
At the other end, Raya saved O’Hara’s shot on the turn and then Forde was too high with a 25-yard free-kick after Bancessi had been fouled.
Rovers were looking a lot livelier than at the start and Flatt had to beat away a rising drive from Hugo Fernandez Molina to preserve the two goal advantage.
Half-Time: Rovers 0 Wolves 2
Within two minutes of the restart Rovers had pulled one back. Tanner fired just wide with the first attack of the half but seconds later he was presented with a another opportunity and he made no mistake drilling the ball home from 18-yards.
A fumble by Raya led to Wolves restoring their two goal advantage in the 53rd minute. He let a long range effort from O’Hara slip from his grasp for a corner that was taken by Forde and headed home by Bancessi.
But Rovers hit back almost immediately as Dean Rittenberg cut in from the left and netted with an angled shot that gave Flatt little chance.
Robbie Parry replaced Matt Doherty as the game reached the hour mark.
In the 77th minute Tanner completed a different kind of hat-trick as he powered home a header after Luke Wall had fired in a fine left wing cross.
Rovers stepped up the pressure in the closing minutes and it was all eyes on the referee when home substitute Jordan Preston went down in the box under a challenge from Kourtney Hause, but the official quickly waved away the appeals.
In stoppage time Louis Laing was a whisker away from winning it for Rovers with a header that clipped the top of the bar after Fernandez had pumped a free-kick into the box.
Rovers: Raya, Molina, Beesley (Doyle 90+2), Tanner, Laing, Lenihan (capt), Green, Bauress, Rittenberg (Lavelle 67), Laidler (Preston 67), Wall.
Unused subs: Urwin, Pero.
Wolves: Flatt, Doherty (Parry 60), Kellerman, Kostrna, Tank, Hause, Bancessi, O’Hara, Keita, Whittall (capt), Forde.
Unused subs: Burgoyne, Carter, Erdei, Torras.
Booking: Kellerman (90+1 – unsporting conduct)
Referee: S. Oldham.