As the saying goes…Feed the Yak and he shall score, and indeed he did as the Rovers target man delivered the goods, inspiring Blackburn to a 4-2 home victory against a spirited Swansea outfit.
In a massive boost for Blackburn, Chris Samba returned to martial the defence, with Jason Lowe and David Dunn returning to the first team.
Lowe, Dann, Samba, Givet
Rochina, Dunn, Gamst, Hoillet
A quiet opening quarter from both teams indicated that the team with the joint worst home form and the team with the worst away record might just be happy to settle for a point apiece. Oh how wrong we were.
The fixture burst into life 20 minutes in. Yakubu managed to hold the ball, allowing Gael Givet to dart through on the overlap. The Frenchman then took it to the by-line dragging two markers towards him. Just as it had looked like he had taken a touch too many, a neatly played pass found the unmarked Yakubu, who side-footed from the 18 yard box into the top far corner of the net….1-0 Blackburn
Motivated by the early goal, Blackburn continued to apply the pressure. Mauro Formica held his position well as the man in the whole, linking up with Yakubu up front whilst also dropping back to become the extra man in midfield. Rochina was finding space down the right flank whilst Junior Hoillet appeared to be a touch off the pace down the left.
It was not all Rovers though as Scott Sinclair and Leroy Lita managed to threaten and create space themselves, using the width of the pitch before using their pace to trouble the Rovers wingers.
Old habits came back to haunt Blackburn, as despite maintaining the majority of the possession, Swansea found the fault in the Rovers defence. Gower was provided too much space down the right flank, a deep cross was pounced upon the unmarked Leroy Lita who had escaped Chris Samba to head into the far post, and the back of the net…1-1
Swansea then took the ascendancy as Scott Sinclair continued to prove to be a thorn in the Rovers defence, his fast footwork and sheer pace turning Givet and Co onto their back foot. However on several occasions, the final ball often went lacking as Swansea looked the stronger leading into the break.
A late corner for Rovers gave the home side something to cheer about. Morten Gamst Pedersen sent in the cross which was cleared into the path of Simon Vukcevic, the Montenegro international a subsitute for Ruben Rochina, who volleyed it goal wards. Yakubu, in the right place at the right time, poked his head out and diverted the ball into the back of the net, giving Blackburn a 2-1 lead into the break.
Blackburn came out for the second half in search for a third goal. Mauro Formica came close, pulling the trigger and striking wide from distance, whilst Yakubu thought he had his hat-trick after calmly slotting hope as Vukevic threaded a through ball, however the assistant referee spoiled the party, correctly ruling Yakubu offside.
Yakubu was not to be denied minutes later as another set piece proved costly for Swansea. Gamst Pedersen sent it in once again, Chris Samba leaped highest, heading back across goal where Yakubu pounced, heading home from 4 yards to earn his hat-trick and give Blackburn a 3-1 lead.
Mauro Formica was up to all his tricks, skinning and spinning past his marker at all times, feeding Junior Hoillet on the hour mark who should of made it 4. However a lack of confidence/motivation appeared to show as Junior decided to cut back in, rather than take the shot on goal and was well shut down by the scrambling Swansea defence.
Thoughts of Norwich and Newcastle started to roll in the Rovers fans minds as Swansea pulled it back to 3-2 with 20 minutes to go. Wayne Routledge’s shot on goal was parried by Paul Robinson, into the path of Luke Moore who slotted home from 6 yards out, his first league goal in 3 years.
Swansea pressured but it was a counter attack from Blackburn which ensured the game would be settled. Hoillet darted away after Rovers cleared a corner, Allen crossed paths with the Rovers winger, bringing him down and earning a second yellow, Swansea reduced to 10 men.
The resulting free-kick saw the match put beyond doubt. Vukevic found some space down the right side of midfield, working his way into the box before being brought down by Neil Taylor. Yakubu stepped up and calmly slotted it into the right corner, 4-2 Blackburn.
Their was still time for Paul Robinson to pull off a save for the camera’s, a Scott Sinclair attempt forced Robinson to pull off a finger tip save. Yakubu made his way off the pitch to a standing ovation as he was replaced by Jason Roberts, Rovers managing to hold out for a much needed 4-2 victory
Paul Robinson 6
Would be dissapointed to ship another 2 goals into the net, but a flurry of saves late in the match ensured Rovers kept the points. Almost got onto the score sheet as well!
Jason Lowe 6
Started off slowly as Sinclair looked to have the better of him. But once he held off Sinclair rather then marking him off his shoulder he managed to nullify the threat
Scott Dann 7
A much more secure performance from Dann. Held his position with the guidance of Samba, and read the game well
Chris Samba 7
One error all game, letting Lita go unmarked. Apart from that, was brilliant and shows his importance on the pitch
Gael Givet 6
Forced back onto the left side of defence, Givet put in a good shift, a brilliant run setting up the first Rovers goal
Frustrating at times, brilliant at other times. Worked his socks off, but would be dissapointed with his distribution
David Dunn 5
Same as Morten. Distribution was poor but made a few very important interventions
Looked a constant threat until his knock…fingers crossed
Junior Hoillet 4
His mind is elsewhere, lets just hope its not a move in January
Mauro Formica 9
Best game in the Rovers Jersey. Moved the ball superbly in attack, tracked back on every occasion to become the extra man in midfield and made some cracking tackles
A rare 10. MOM
Came out in a face mask, and scared his opponents away. 2 assists and a solid shift
Came on to shore things up late on, and did just that, winning some important aerial challenges
Little time to impress