Ryan Nelson’s second half goal was not enough for Blackburn as they lost in Birmingham. Two goals either side of the break from Cameron Jerome saw Rovers go five without a win.
Rovers made four changes from Saturday’s draw at Hull, as Big Sam looked to end a run of four games without a goal. Jason Roberts partnered Niko Kalinić upfront as the Croatian made his first league start. Elsewhere there were returns for Morton Gamst Pedersen and El Hadji Diouf. Birmingham were unchanged from their win over West Ham at the weekend, as Alex McLeish looked to keep with a winning side.
It was Kalinić that had the first half chance of the game. Steven N’Zonzi continued his run and nodded the ball down for Kalinić who blasted over on the volley.
But Birmingham began to show why they have been picking up points in recent weeks, with Christian Benítez and Jerome keeping Christopher Samba and Ryan Nelson busy.
And it was Jerome who gave the home side the lead after 12 minutes. Rovers were slow to react to a quick corner, and Sebastian Larson was able to pick a cross out which eventually fell to Jerome who couldn’t miss from a yard out.
To their credit Rovers did respond well, Roberts a snap shout fly harmlessly wide, but again it was only a half chance. But it was still Birmingham that were dominating possession and continued to threaten the Blackburn defence with quick corners.
On 21 minutes Birmingham thought they had doubled their lead. Stephen Carr fired a ball in from the right and Benítez slid in to put the ball past Paul Robinson. Fortunately the assistant referee raised a flag.
There was more bad news for Rovers as Brett Emerton limped off to be replaced by Keith Andrews.
However Blackburn had a good spell just before the break. Kalinić missed his kick when free in the box but they had their best chance to reply after Joe Hart couldn’t claim a ball in to his box. The ball fell for N’Zonzi who saw his shot blocked on the line by Carr, leaving Rovers with no reward for their good spell at half time.
Minutes after the break Blackburn were made to pay for not taking their chances. Good work from Larson released Carr, he crossed for Jerome who’s finish left Robinson with no chance. It was the worst possible start to the second half for Sam Allardyce’s men.
Allardyce reacted quickly to the second goal, replacing Diouf with David Hoilett, but this did little to change the flow of the game, with only an excellent challenge from Pascal Chimbonda stopping James McFadden bursting through.
In truth Birmingham looked more likely to extend their lead, but with twenty minutes left Nelson gave Rovers a lifeline. Joe Hart was only able to get a fingertip to Chimbonda’s shot, and the New Zealand international was on hand to convert the rebound to bring Blackburn back in to the game.
Allardyce again reacted quickly. Roberts was replaced by Benni McCarthy, but with Rovers pressing for an equaliser Birmingham always looked dangerous on the break. After excellent work from Benítez, Robinson denied Jerome a hatrick, only for Benítez to waste the rebound by somehow hit the bar with the goal gaping
Rovers had a series of late corners as they searched for a way back in to the game. Robinson made his way up to help out, but it was Kalinić who came closest to an equaliser, with his front post header blocked on the line by Larson, who didn’t know much about it.
However there was no equaliser for Blackburn who go five without a win, for Birmingham it is now five on the bounce. Rovers will be disappointed with the goals they conceded but the spirit they showed in the second half will at least give Sam Allardyce something to take from the game.
Not a lot he could do with the goals, didn’t do much wrong all night.
A threat going forward, but caught out in defence
Well taken goal but will disappointed with the organisation for Birmingham’s opener
Not at his dominant best
Lasted only 22 minutes due to injury
A decent return to the side, was one of the better performers on a poor night
Was able to cause problems with his height all game, but never really dictated the game
Not at his best, never really got going
Had some half chances but will be disappointed with his first league start.
Never really made an impact on the game
Givet : 6
Fairly solid performance, got caught out for second goal though.
steadied the ship after shaky start
Didn’t make the impact he would have liked, but a solid performance.
No real impact from Benni