Town 3-1 Blackburn Rovers
Tuesday, 3rd Dec 2013 21:54
Luke Hyam, Carlos Edwards and Frank Nouble were on target as Town beat Blackburn Rovers 3-1 at Portman Road. Hyam netted in the fourth minute but Jordan Rhodes equalised on the half hour, however, Edwards scored three minutes after the break and Nouble added the third four minutes from the end.
Town boss Mick McCarthy made four changes to the team which beat Charlton on Saturday. Skipper Edwards came in at right midfield, Hyam into the centre, Stephen Hunt made his full debut on the left and Nouble joined David McGoldrick up front.
Paul Anderson, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Jay Tabb and Daryl Murphy all dropped to the bench, while Paul Taylor again missed out due to his shoulder injury.
Blackburn included ex-Blue Rhodes and former loanee DJ Campbell up front from the start with both players applauded by the home support when their names were announced.
Campbell struck the game’s first shot in the second minute, Blues keeper Dean Gerken saving his sharp strike on the turn and Hyam reacting quickest to stab behind.
But as in the games against Leicester and Charlton, Town would take an early lead, Hyam netting his first goal of the season and only the second of his career in the fourth minute.
Cole Skuse looped into the box from deep and Tommy Spurr under pressure from McGoldrick headed to Hyam on the edge of the area. The ball initially got caught under the midfielder’s feet but having set himself he struck a low shot to Rovers keeper Jake Kean’s right and into the net.
The Blues enjoyed most of the early possession but the visitors might have got back on terms in the 14th minute when Josh King broke away down the Blackburn left. The Norwegian international’s touch let him down and Tommy Smith was able to get across to make a superb saving challenge and Gerken grabbed the loose ball.
At the other end, McGoldrick hit a shot on the turn, which only just flew over Kean’s bar, then a minute later Hunt brought the ball forward on the left before crossing towards Edwards, but the Town captain couldn’t control his header.
After Skuse had failed to find McGoldrick with a 25th minute pass as the Blues broke, Campbell was booked for a foul on his former team-mate Aaron Cresswell. Following the resultant freekick, Smith laid the ball off to Edwards, who fired not far wide from the 18-yard line.
Blackburn levelled on the half hour and inevitably Rhodes was the man on target. Grant Hanley played a long ball down the middle which ought to easily have been defended, but the former Blues striker got to the ball ahead of the Town defence, went past the advancing and stranded Gerken and stroked his 11th goal of the season into the empty net with the Town keeper claiming offside.
The striker’s corner flag punching celebration in front of a Blues section of the Cobbold Stand failed to impress the home support with his subsequent contributions receiving boos.
Nouble sent across a dangerous low ball in the 34th minute but behind McGoldrick and ahead of Hunt. However, the visitors had had looked the more threatening side having equalised with the Blues backline the busier of the two defences.
As the half moved into its final minute Blackburn claimed a penalty when a clearance struck Hunt on the hand, however, referee Fred Graham waved away the protests for what would have been a very harsh spotkick.
Town were the side happiest to hear the half-time whistle, the visitors having been on top since netting their goal. The Blues had again started strongly and might have added to their lead before Sunday league defended led to them conceding what was a very poor goal.
From there, Blackburn were much the better side with Town giving the ball away all too easily and rarely threatening.
Within three minutes of the restart the Blues were back in front. Cresswell played the ball into Hunt’s feet just inside the area, the Irishman cleverly turned before finding his way to goal blocked. The ball was stabbed away but only as far as Edwards, who took a touch before calmly beating Kean from eight yards for his first goal of the season.
Berra picked up a yellow card for a foul on King some while after the incident, the referee having waved play on at the time and Gerken claiming a cross in from the Blackburn left. As the Blues central defender had his name taken Smith complained about what appeared to have been a studs-up challenge from Tom Cairney which went unpunished.
There was a scare for the Blues on 69 when Gerken needlessly cleared against Rhodes from inside his six-yard box but fortunately the ball ricocheted off the Town keeper and wide of goal.
On 72 Spurr crossed from the left to Rhodes but the striker’s stretching effort looped well past the post.
Todd Kane was booked for pulling back McGoldrick down the left two minutes later. Cresswell’s freekick was only cleared as far as Hunt just outside the box but the recent signing’s shot flew well over when he will feel he ought to have done better.
Ex-Blues loan man Campbell, who had made little impact, made way on 76 with on-loan Cardiff man Rudy Gestede taking over for the final 14 minutes with the visitors not looking particularly threatening with most of the game taking place in their half of the field.
Impressive full debutant Hunt was replaced to a rapturous applause in the 81st minute along with McGoldrick, Tyrone Mings and Daryl Murphy taking over. Mings slotted into a back three to the left of Smith and Berra.
Town continued to press Blackburn as the game moved towards its final five minutes with Nouble unlucky to lose his footing when found in the area by Cresswell.
But the lively striker wasn’t to be denied his second goal of the season. Mings played an 86th minute long ball forward, defender Scott Dann left it for keeper Kean who was caught in two minds as Nouble closed him down on the edge of the area. As he hesitated, the Town frontman seized on the ball and took it into the area before tapping into the empty net.
A minor bout of handbags broke out on 88 after Rhodes clattered into Gerken with the keeper having already claimed the ball, Chambers pushing the striker over and triggering a brief free for all which led to Nouble and Marshall being booked.
Rhodes turned a late strike to Gerken when he might have done better prior to the fourth official signalling seven minutes of injury time. But the Blues weren’t to be denied their first home win since the Brighton game in September.
The now familiar Chambers fist pump was followed by Rhodes applauding the home support before making his way off, presumably to apologise for what the Sir Bobby Robson Stand in particular saw as an overzealous celebration.
Having ended the first half in a disappointing manner, Town continued their recent habit of scoring goals early on in halves, Edwards taking his goal with great confidence after good work from the excellent Hunt.
Blackburn never got back on top and Nouble’s goal was the icing the cake, the striker receiving his reward for Shefki Kuqi-esque chasing throughout the game, forcing Dann and Kean into their error.
The victory moves the Blues up to eighth, two points off the play-offs with Huddersfield visiting Portman Road on Saturday.
Town: Gerken, Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards, Hyam, Skuse (Tunnicliffe 90), Hunt (Mings 81), McGoldrick (Murphy 81), Nouble. Subs: Loach, Tabb, Anderson, Graham.
Blackburn: Kean, Kane, Dann, Hanley (Kilgallon 59), Spurr, Cairney, Williamson, Lowe, King (Marshall 66), Campbell (Gestede 77), Rhodes. Subs: Eastwood, Rochina, Judge, Henley. Referee: Fred Graham (Essex). Att: 14,953 (Blackburn: 302).
Photo: Action Images
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