Rovers boost survival hopes
Formica and Hoilett strike to clip Canaries at Ewood Park
Last Updated: 21/04/12 7:38pm
Junior Hoilett takes the plaudits after his wonder strike
Blackburn Rovers boosted their Premier League survival hopes as goals from Mauro Formica and Junior Hoilett either side of half-time handed them a welcome 2-0 victory over Norwich City at Ewood Park.
Talk of a planned pre-match protest against the Blackburn owners and manager Steve Kean dominated the build-up, however the home side let their football do the talking to walk away with a much-needed win.
Argentine attacker Formica broke the deadlock four minutes before the interval when he latched on to Morten Gamst Pedersen's inch-perfect centre to volley the hosts ahead.
And Hoilett spectacularly sealed the points, Blackburn's first in six matches, when he cut inside Russell Martin and curled an unstoppable 20-yard strike past John Ruddy.
Blackburn remain in the relegation zone despite the win, however now by only virtue of a worse goal difference than QPR, who play Tottenham later on Saturday.
Kean had made two changes for the crunch encounter, bringing back Formica as well as Gael Givet, whom the manager had declared "not in the right frame of mind" prior to last week's loss at Swansea.
All week Kean had insisted his side's fighting spirit was undamaged, and it was a mark of their belief that they managed to ride out the difficult early pressure.
Paul Lambert's Canaries looked flat-footed after last week's mauling by Manchester City and contributed little as Rovers took control from the start.
Bradley Orr and Scott Dann came close in the early stages but the tension was evident in boisterous calls for Kean's dismissal, which began before 10 minutes were on the clock.
James Vaughan had a half-chance for the visitors as the Rovers defence panicked in their own box, but at the other end Ryan Bennett had to hook clear to deny Hoilett.
Jonathan Howson came close for Norwich on the half-hour when his powerful long-range drive was tipped over by Paul Robinson in the Rovers goal.
But it was Rovers who managed to retain the upper hand, Yakubu almost connecting with a dangerous cross from Pedersen in front of goal.
And the Nigerian had his side's best early chance in the 37th minute when Pedersen headed down and he attempted an overhead kick which struck the base of the post.
Three minutes later Rovers grabbed the lead when Yakubu fed Pedersen on the right and the recalled Formica met the Norwegian's cross with a crisp sliding volley past Ruddy.
Rovers doubled their advantage shortly after the restart with Hoilett's seventh and best goal of the season, cutting in from the left flank and letting fly past a helpless Ruddy.
The Canaries were offering precious little in response as Rovers began to take a hold on the game, Hoilett almost finding Yakubu in front of goal on 55 minutes.
The visitors did briefly rally in the final quarter, Elliott Bennett's cross just eluding Elliott Ward, then Aaron Wilbraham bringing a fine low save out of Robinson.
But Rovers seldom looked troubled by the Norwich revival, and came close to a third 10 minutes from time when substitute Anthony Modeste headed inches over from another Pedersen cross.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Statistics||Norwich City|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||3|
|3||Shots off Target||9|
|40.3||1st Half Poss.||59.7|
|42.6||2nd Half Poss.||57.4|
Barclays Premier League
|16||West Bromwich Albion||16||15|
|17||West Ham United||16||14|
Blackburn v Norwich
Paul Lambert admits his players will "take their medicine" and move on after witnessing a disappointing 2-0 reverse at Blackburn.
Steve Kean praised the fighting spirit of his players after Blackburn boosted their survival prospects with victory over Norwich.
Paul Lambert is determined not to allow Blackburn's infighting to distract from his own team's efforts on Saturday.