Dominant Rovers see off Royals
Rovers blitzed Reading 4-2 with goals from Roque Santa Cruz, a Tugay wonder goal and Benni McCarthy bagged a brace.
By Hayley Paterson
Last Updated: 20/10/07 8:06pm
Blackburn Rovers came out of the blocks blazing with Roque Santa Cruz, Tugay with a wonder goal and Benni McCarthy adding a brace to beat Reading 4-2.
McCarthy started the goal-fest after good work from Brett Emerton when his deep cross found Santa Cruz at the back post who headed back across goal for the South African to simply volley home.
The Rovers midfield were dominant and Reading failed to cut out David Dunn's inch perfect through ball for Santa Cruz to run onto and fire home past Marcus Hahnemann for 2-0.
Tugay then produced an unstoppable effort which dipped over the Reading keeper on the half volley (32).
Kevin Doyle claimed a consolation goal on the 80th minute when he lost his marker to head home at the nearpost. However straight from the whistle substitute Matt Derbyshire won his side a penalty and McCarthy dispatched his second.
Doyle added another in injury time with a fearsome effort but it was too little too late as Reading have now conceded 11 goals in two away games.
It took the home side 10 minutes to force Hahnemann into action, and the American goalkeeper had to be at his best to push away Christopher Samba's low goalbound effort after good work around the box from McCarthy.
The Blackburn attack began to penetrate a Reading defence which has conceded an average of three goals on their league travels this season - and after 17 minutes they made the breakthrough.
Emerton whipped an inviting cross to the back post which Santa Cruz headed back across the goal - and with Hahnemann stranded, McCarthy showed considerable poise to guide the ball home for his third league goal of the season.
Five minutes later, it was 2-0. The otherwise quiet Dunn slid in Santa Cruz - and Rovers' leading scorer made no mistake, firing low into the left corner for his sixth goal in all competitions.
By now there was only one team in this game and with the home crowd in vociferous mood, it was no surprise when they added a third in the 31st minute.
Nicky Shorey's clearing header had plenty of distance but unfortunately for him - and the Royals - the ball bounced kindly in front of Tugay, who unleashed an unstoppable drive into the top-right corner.
Andre Bikey had a great chance to pull one back for the visitors with a free header from 10 yards but his effort was straight at the otherwise untroubled Brad Friedel, and Samba showed similar profligacy with a back post header at the other end shortly before the whistle.
Steve Coppell made a double switch in a bid to revive his side's fortunes, with Brynjar Gunnarsson and Leroy Lita replacing Liam Rosenior and Bikey, but the changes had little impact.
McCarthy's crisp drive moments after the break indicated Hahnemann would again be the busier of the American goalkeepers, although Rovers were dealt a blow when Stephen Warnock hobbled off with a knock to be replaced by Zurab Khizanishvili.
Only Friedel's fingertips prevented Lita from a 50th career goal after his shot on the swivel appeared destined for the bottom-left corner.
The England Under 21 player was soon joined on the field by Doyle but opportunities were scarce with Rovers happy to hold on to the ball and frustrate their opponents.
For all their fresh firepower it was a defender, Michael Duberry, who came closest to pulling one back for the visitors, who have recorded just one point on their travels this season, when his back post header cannoned off the crossbar from Shorey's cross.
Coppell's side could again count themselves unfortunate moments later when Hunt's effort a yard from goal somehow stayed out after a scramble inside the box.
The home side eventually paid the price for inviting pressure, however, when Doyle stole in ahead of his marker to head home Shorey's 80th-minute inswinging corner at the near post.
But two minutes later Rovers had been awarded a penalty after substitute Derbyshire - on for Santa Cruz - was clumsily clipped by Ibrahima Sonko and McCarthy drilled the resulting penalty low into the left corner.
Doyle added his second injury-time, again a near post header from a Shorey cross.
But it was to prove a mere consolation as Rovers claimed their first victory at home over the Royals for 27 years and Reading were left to ponder a potential relegation battle.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Statistics||Reading|
|3||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||4|
|5||Shots off Target||7|