Report: Blues 1-2 Blackburn Rovers
Blues ended their 2021/22 Sky Bet Championship campaign with a defeat against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday lunchtime.
Two wonder strikes from John Buckley and Ben Brereton Diaz put Rovers two-up at the break.
A fairly quiet second-half had threatened a Blues comeback late on when Kristian Pedersen played a neat one-two with Jordan James and fired low into the bottom corner, but the visitors left B9 with all three points.
Lee Bowyer made three changes to the side that faced Cardiff City last weekend. Kristian Pedersen returned in place of George Friend and Jordan James came in for Gary Gardner. Tahith Chong made his return from injury to replace Jeremie Bela.
Despite Blues seeing more of the ball in the opening exchanges, it was Rovers who had the first chance. Harry Pickering clipped in a cross to former Blue Sam Gallagher, but his volley was comfortably saved by Neil Etheridge.
The visitors then took the lead in style with their next opportunity. John Buckley picked up the ball inside his own half and sprayed a ball out to Ben Brereton Diaz. The Chilean shifted the ball inside to Ryan Hedges, who returned the ball back to Buckley. The midfielder unleashed a rocket from 25-yards out into the top corner.
On the stroke of half-time, Brereton Diaz received the ball from Pickering, cut inside onto his right foot and sent a dipping effort into the top right corner to double the visitors' lead.
HALF-TIME: Blues 0-2 Blackburn Rovers
Blues started the second period on the front foot and almost pulled a goal back through Lyle Taylor. Tahith Chong's deep corner found the striker's head, but Thomas Kaminski got across to palm it onto the post.
Brereton Diaz was again afforded too much space on the edge of the area, but this time his low effort was parried out by Etheridge.
After substitute George Hall was fouled on the edge of the area, Taylor stepped up to take the free-kick, but his strike went over the bar.
Blues did manage to pull one back as the game approached the final 10 minutes. Kristian Pedersen drove forward, played a neat one-two with Jordan James before sliding an effort in off the far post.
It was two wonder strikes that settled this affair, with limited chances for both sides.
Blues finish the season with 47 points from their 46 league games.
Blues (4-3-3): Neil Etheridge, Maxime Colin, Marc Roberts (captain), Nico Gordon, Kristian Pedersen, Juninho Bacuna (George Hall 59), Ivan Sunjic, Jordan James, Onel Hernandez, Lyle Taylor (Scott Hogan 90), Tahith Chong (Jobe Bellingham 59).
Substitutes not used: Connal Trueman, George Friend, Ryan Woods, Jordan Graham.
Blackburn Rovers (4-2-3-1): Thomas Kaminski, James Brown, Daniel Ayala, Scott Wharton, Harry Pickering, Lewis Travis (captain), Tayo Edun (Bradley Dack 46), John Buckley, Ryan Hedges, Ben Brereton Diaz (Dilan Markanday 66), Sam Gallagher (Jack Vale 77).
Substitutes not used: Jordan Eastham, Darragh Lenihan, Joe Rankin-Costello, Tyrhys Dolan.
Bookings: Edun 41.