Rovers hold off QPR
Second-half show from QPR not enough to overturn dismal first
By Jamie Casey. Last Updated: 11/02/12 7:00pm
Yakubu: Kicked off the scoring with a well taken opener
Blackburn survived a second-half onslaught from Queens Park Rangers to emerge with three precious Premier League points following a 3-2 win at Ewood Park.
Goal of the match: Yakubu took the opener well, but N'Zonzi's desire to right a wrong in the build-up to the second culminated in a delightfully controlled finish.
Save of the match: But for Paul Robinson's well-anticipated save from Nedum Onuoha, Rovers may have been under even more pressure in the closing stages.
Incident of the match: Referee Mike Dean allowed the game to flow and the quality of the viewing benefited, but Joey Barton's ugly challenge on Yakubu went overlooked.
Talking points: Has Mark Hughes unexpectedly walked into a relegation scrap at QPR? Can Yakubu be the difference between survival and relegation for Blackburn?
The hosts found themselves three goals up at the break through Yakubu and Steven N'Zonzi, plus a Nedum Onuoha own goal as Rangers were punished for a lacklustre opening half.
Mark Hughes surely had strong words to say at half-time, as the visitors began the second period in rampant fashion, but it took the introduction of Jamie Mackie to see Paul Robinson beaten in Blackburn's goal.
The striker needed just five minutes to make his mark from the bench on 71 minutes, and caused problems for Rovers thereafter, eventually grabbing his second in stoppage-time.
It was too little too late for the Rs, though, who have won just one of their last 13 Premier League matches.
Top scorer Yakubu returned to Blackburn's starting line-up after serving a three-match ban, but defender Gael Givet began a suspension, allowing Grant Hanley to also come into the team.
Bradley Orr, who was making his first start since joining from the Rs on transfer deadline day, and Mauro Formica also came into the side.
QPR's former Rovers boss Mark Hughes - without suspended frontman Djibril Cisse - made three changes following the 2-1 defeat by Wolves, bringing Fitz Hall, Armand Traore and Akos Buzsaky into the side.
Rovers settled down in the early stages, with Hoilett firing an effort against Anton Ferdinand, and on the quarter-hour mark they took the lead as Yakubu marked his comeback in style.
The Nigerian collected the ball from Nzonzi's flick-on, turned and smashed home past Paddy Kenny for his 14th goal of the season.
QPR tried to make a quick response as Onuoha headed wide, but soon after Blackburn had doubled their advantage as Hoilett broke into the box and teed up N'zonzi, who swept the ball in.
Hoilett looked to put Rovers further ahead but his shot was blocked.
A tame attempt from QPR's Adel Taarabt did little to trouble Robinson, and Morten Gamst Pedersen then drove a free-kick into the visitors' wall.
Hanley failed in a bid to connect with a corner, the Scot injuring himself in the process although he was able to carry on, before Buzsaky lashed well wide and Robinson got down to save Traore's shot.
Blackburn then made it 3-0 in first-half stoppage-time, Scott Dann heading the ball across the area for Hoilett, whose shot went in off Onuoha.
There was a setback for Rovers at the start of the second half with Hoilett having to be withdrawn, Adam Henley the man to come on.
Moments later, though, they almost had another goal as Yakubu sent an audacious chip against the crossbar.
Onuoha found himself through in the 65th minute but produced a poor strike which Robinson saved with ease and Taye Taiwo then cracked one wide for the visitors.
QPR were applying some considerable pressure, and with a little under 20 minutes to go they pulled a goal back as Mackie - on for Buzsaky - put in Taiwo's cross with a close-range finish.
Mackie was then presented with another opportunity, but shot at Robinson.
The goalkeeper turned an effort from Taarabt around the post and Shaun Wright-Phillips hit one over the bar.
Mackie then struck at the death to make it 3-2, but it was too late for the Rs to salvage a draw.
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Blackburn v QPR
Steve Kean says Blackburn fielded plenty of interest in Yakubu in January, but insists there was never a bid from Queens Park Rangers.
Blackburn boss Steve Kean believes training ground work with Steven N'Zonzi is beginning to pay off.
Mark Hughes deemed Queens Park Rangers' first-half performance against Blackburn as "unacceptable."