It was an emotional night that featured video tributes and applause at Ewood Park in the first game since the 15th anniversary of the former Rovers owner’s death.
The early signs did not bode well for the hosts on the pitch, though, and goalkeeper David Raya’s poor clearance was ultimately punished by Joe Mason’s calm finish in the fifth minute.
But Blackburn rallied in a second half that saw Nathan Delfouneso rattle the crossbar and Hanley miss from point-blank range. The deserved equaliser came two minutes from time when the captain calmly slotted home a superb Craig Conway cross.
And despite still searching for a first win this season, Bowyer felt the comeback and a goal from the academy graduate in particular, was fitting for the club’s greatest fan.
He said: “I think it’s a great tribute. I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet him but the legacy that he’s left at the club; I think we had four players starting tonight from the academy.
“That legacy is going to live on forever and we’re very fortunate he had the vision to do that and I thought it was a fitting tribute to him.
“The captain was magnificent tonight. He could have had a hat-trick. He led by example. We forget that he’s only 23 and is captaining the team.
“I think the response – we peppered their goal just before half-time, and even when we’ve scored, (David) Marshall’s made a save and we’ve had one cleared off the line. So the lads just kept going and had a great spirit and belief about them, which for a team put together in the last week is not bad at all.”
After two league games in which Cardiff have scored late to salvage a point, the shoe was on the other foot in this game but Russell Slade was philosophical about the setback and gave credit to Blackburn for their second-half efforts.
He said: “I think you’ve got to give Blackburn some credit for that. They came at us in that 20 minutes of the second half.
“I just thought we’d seen that period off as well and maybe we might go on and nick one on the counter attack. The one where Mason’s through is arguably onside and if that counts we might well have put the game to bad.
“But fair play to Blackburn; from corners – and that’s the longest throw I’ve seen – it caused us problems from time to time. You can see they work a lot on their set plays and they scored from a second phase and eventually they’ve undone us. It’s just disappointing when it comes at such a late stage.”