Report: Rovers 1 Wolves 2
Rovers were left to rue refereeing decisions as they went down to Wolves on the opening day of the season.
Dave Edwards' disputed goal on the stroke of half-time proved to be the difference on a day of high drama at Ewood Park.
Rovers were quick out of the traps, Jordan Rhodes' rasping effort slamming against the post inside two minutes, before Ben Marshall, Shane Duffy and Craig Conway all went close.
However despite the bright start it was the visitors who grabbed the opener before the half hour, Benik Afobe sneaking through on goal to finish well.
Rovers hit back and deservedly drew level. Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme palming the ball into the back of his own net after Conway's deflected shot looped high towards goal.
On the stroke of half-time came the first of several talking points, a centre from Nouha Dicko was diverted into the back of the net by the hand of Edwards, but somehow the officials allowed the goal to stand.
In the second half the men in black then compounded Rovers' efforts to get back on level terms when Adam Henley was brought down in the area, inexplicably referee Mark Haywood waved play on.
Unbowed Rovers pressed on, Rhodes saw a shot touched wide, before in added time the lively Fode Koita saw his effort tipped onto the post as Ikeme redeemed himself for his earlier error.
The resulting corner saw Jason Lowe head goalwards, but Corry Evans was unable to divert the ball into the back of the net.
It was an encouraging opening day display from Rovers, but unfortunately they left Ewood without the points to show for it.
With Ewood bathed in sunshine it was the home side on the front foot from the off, and a whisker away from getting in front inside the opening two minutes.
Persistance from Jordan Rhodes saw him nip the ball away from Kortney Hause, Ben Marshall returned it back to the striker who advanced on goal before letting fly, but unfortunately for Rhodes the ball slammed against the foot of the far post.
Maintaining the forward momentum, Marshall was next to try his luck. Following good work by Rhodes and debutant Danny Guthrie, the roaming Marshall shot left-footed, but his effort was a yard wide of target.
It was an exciting opening with both sets of fans making plenty of noise, but the game was very much one-sided in Rovers' favour.
After a Marshall free-kick into the box was cleared, Markus Olsson put it back into the area with venom, Shane Duffy rose to head goalwards but Carl Ikeme tipped over. Had the ball been a yard either side Rovers would have lead.
Craig Conway was the next to strike goalwards after more neat play. Guthrie, Henley and Marshall exchanging passes, but from the edge of the area the Scott dragged his effort wide of the near post.
After offering very little going forward, slowly the visitors started to play their way into the match but it was still very much against the run of play when Wolves grabbed the opening goal of the game on 29 minutes.
As Guthrie attempted to intercept a pass, the ball skimmed off his head to Dave Edwards, the Wolves midfielder fed Benik Afobe and with a deft flick with the outside of his boot he beat David Raya from 12-yards.
The Wolves goal knocked the wind out of Rovers' sails for a few minutes but a change in formation brought about a change of fortune for Rovers with the equalising goal on 39.
As Nathan Delfouneso moved through the middle with Marshall moving wide right, the former Villa man raced into the space afforded to him, but as his run was halted in the area, the ball ran to Conway, he shot first time only to see his effort deflect high off Richard Stearman, the ball looped goalwards and as Ikeme struggled to claim, the keeper could only palm the ball into the back of the net.
But just as it looked like the teams would go in at half-time all square, Wolves regained the lead in hugely controversial circumstances.
Nouha Dicko attacked the left flank and as he centred Edwards stuck out a hand to divert the ball into the back of the net.
Both sets of players stopped, neither side expecting the goal to be given, but inexplicably referee Mark Haywood pointed to the centre circle and allowed the goal to stand.
After an exciting and enterprising first half from Rovers, it would have been harsh on the home side to only go in at the break on level terms, instead they would trail due to a terrible decision from the officials. Home fans and players certainly made their point as the whistle went.
After a quiet opening to the second half, the first talking point was again an officiating decision.
On this occasion it was one that the referee didn't make, defender Hause stretched to intercept a forward pass but as Adam Henley raced to claim the loose ball in the corner of the box he was upended by the Wolves man, but the man in black waved away the home claims.
With 20 minutes to go Rovers were almost back on level terms. Following a flick-on by Delfouneso, Rhodes brushed off his marker to race through but his strike across goal was tipped wide by Ikeme.
In keeping with the poor officiating, the referee awarded a goal kick.
In an attempt to get back into the game Rovers made a double change on 75 minutes. As the debutants Guthrie and Delfouneso were replaced by Corry Evans and Fode Koita.
However it was Wolves who went close to extending their lead. James Henry, skipping past two challenges, hit a dipping strike goalwards but whilst his effort beat Raya, it slammed against the crossbar.
The closing stages saw Rovers press for a deserved equaliser. Marshall saw a free-kick claimed by Ikeme, before Koita let fly from distance, but his shot was easily claimed by the Wolves man.
In added time Rovers went close once more, Frenchman Koita, who impressed in his 15-minute cameo, saw a piledriver tipped onto the foot of the post. From the resulting corner Jason Lowe headed goalwards but Evans couldn't apply the finishing touch.
How Rovers came away from this opener with nothing shows how cruel football can be, but they can take heart from the performance with many more matches to come.
ROVERS: Raya, Henley, Hanley (c), Duffy, Olsson, Conway, Guthrie (sub Evans 75 mins), Lowe, Delfouneso (sub Koita 75 mins), Marshall, Rhodes.
Subs not used: Steele (GK), Spurr, Kilgallon, Brown, Williamson.
Goals: Ikeme (OG) 39 mins.
Booked: Guthrie, Olsson.
WOLVES: Ikeme, Golbourne, Edwards, Stearman (c), Henry (sub Doherty 90 mins), Dicko (sub Ojo 84 mins), Afobe (sub Le Fondre 90+1 mins), McDonald, Coady, Iorfa, Hause.
Subs not used: McCarey (GK), Van La Parra, Price, Ebanks-Landell.
Goals: Afobe 29 mins, Edwards 45 mins.
Booked: Iorfa, Henry, Ojo.
Attendance: 16,159 (including 3596 visiting supporters)