After a length break, Blackburn were back in action against a Bolton Wanderers outfit fighting there way out of the relegation zone. In what was always going to be a physical encounter, Sparky chose to bring the suspended players straight back into the line up, with Samba, Dunny and Gamst returning to action.
Rovers got of to a bright start, with Benni Mac striking a sweet half volley, only to be tipped away by the Bolton Custodian. Brad Friedel was called into action soon after, parrying away a 6 yard volley from everybodies favourite player, Mr ElHadji Diouf.
Fortune appeared to favour our Rovers when midway into the first half, David Dunn was brought down in the box. Benni Mac, steppd up, Benni Mac Scored. Santa Cruz had half a chance to double the lead, however his header just before the break scraped wide of the post.
The second half started of in a flurry, with Bolton making a change up front. This paid immediate dividends, Kevin Davies latching on to a loose ball in the box, equalising for Bolton. They continued to maintain the pressure, until, against the run of play, Blackburn countered. Rovers surged up the field, a through ball placed up front, and once again, the Bolton Defender came in with a sloppy tackle, another penalty to Rovers. Benni Mac stepped up again and struck this ball with more conviction, 2-1 Rovers. From here on in, Blackburn took control, Dunny made a blistering run on the left flank, whipping in a cross which Bentley headered in from a tight angle.
The Axe made his way onto the field for Dunny, whilst Robbo was brought on for Benni Mac, who recieved a standing obvation. Robbo made an immediate impact, holding up the ball then sending in a deep cross, which Morten Gamst Pederson blasted into the back of the net.
4-1 it finished to Rovers.
Brad Friedel 8
Solid as always with plenty of vital saves
Stephen Warnock 7
Did well, caught out for the goal, however was kept on his toes all game
Brett Emerton 7
A silent one for Brett, but did what he had to do
Christopher Samba 6.5
Looked slightly off guard in patches, however no real flaws
Reliable in the back, doing a great job
David Bentley 8
Great game by Bents. Was always a threat down the flank.
David Dunn 9
Fantastic, looked hungry, kept his cool, real team leader. A goal would be nice for him
Steven Reid 7
Silent game for Reidy, distrubuted well and did a lot of the cleaning up in the middle
Morten Gamst Pederson 8
Where has this guy been all season. Fantastic, took on the defence, whipped in crosses, and scored a Morten Special
Benni Mac 8.5
Worked extremely hard all game. Dropped back into defence, held the front line, and buried two penalties when the pressure was on
Roque Santa Cruz 6.5
Quiet game for the big guy. Would like to see him getting more of the ball
Did well when he came on. held the ball up and set up Gamst
Great to see Rovers winning by more then one goal. Also impressive to see Benni Mac as well as Gamst on the score sheet. Hopefully these two continue to improve on their game. Really happy with Dunn’s performance today.
Newcastle V Blackburn
Saturday 1st of March