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Match Report


Posted Sun 29 Dec 13 at 17:12 PM

The Report: Blackburn Rovers 2 Blues 3

Blues extended their unbeaten run to nine matches following a superb team effort at Ewood Park to claim the final three points of 2013. Blues found themselves 3-0 up at the break but had to fight to the bitter end to claim victory after Blackburn staged a second-half fightback.

The hosts started the match with urgency and were arguably the better side in the opening ten minutes - Ruben Rochina pulling an effort wide after finding space in the box after five minutes. Blues quickly got into the game and after 12 minutes found themselves in front - After good work from Andrew Shinnie to win a corner, Olly Lee's delivery was initially cleared, but with the second attempt he whipped the ball into the Rovers' area and found the head of Dan Burn who flicked onto Kyle Bartley who again found Burn before the ball fell to Lee Novak, who fired in from 12 yards.

Blackburn came at Blues after conceding but not long after found themselves 2-0 down; Novak doubling his tally and Blues lead with a 35 yard piledriver which left Simon Eastwood in the Rovers' goal helpless.

Rovers' again reacted as they had when conceding the opening goal. They came out and dominated possession, but with no real intent or penetration. The host's top-scorer Jordan Rhodes saw his shot canon off the post and out for a Blues goal-kick and Blues 'keeper Darren Randolph had no real saves to make other than tame, long range efforts.

Following a long Darren Randolph punt upfield - confusion and miscommunication caused havoc in the Rovers' defence. Pressure from Novak caused Hanley to play it back to 'keeper Eastwood who cleared straight to Burke on the edge of the Rovers' area who reacted and slid the ball into the corner of the net.

Having changed it around at the break, Blackburn started the second half as they had started the first - dominant in possession and and playing with the  urgency they needed to to get back into the match.

Blues looked to play on the break and absorb the pressure Blackburn threw at them. The tactic almost paid off twice and Blues should have extended their lead further - firstly through Novak, whose cross shot couldn't find Nikola Zigic or the net and secondly through Shinnie who found himself on the end of a superb break from Bartley and Burke only to be thwarted by Eastwood.

On the 66th minute Blackburn's dominance finally broke the Blues defence for the first time in four matches - Jordan Rhodes nodding in a Ben Marshall cross inside the six-yard box. Rhodes goal lifted the whole atmosphere and the crowd woke up and with that the hosts gained momentum and on the 73rd minute Rhodes halved the deficit after getting the wrong side of Bartley and looping the ball over the advancing Randolph.

Rhodes had a chance to level the scores seven minutes from time but was denied by Randolph who was quick off his line to smother the ball at the Scotsman's feet. With Rhodes looking ever threatening it seemed the equaliser was inevitable.  With Blues having playing with backs to the wall for the majority of the match, the players were understandably running on empty - Peter Lovenkrands and Shane Ferguson were introduced to add some fresh legs. 

Into four minutes of injury time, Blues were living dangerously. in the 92nd minute Scott Dann had the opportunity to level against his former club but couldn't sort his feet out in the six-yard box and the chance went begging and with seconds remaining Paul Caddis cleared a header off the line.

Blues showed great character and tenacity to hold on for victory and  extend their unbeaten run going into the new year and recorded their fourth away win in five.

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