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Barclays Premier League

Ewood Park (ATT 23,218) 21st April 2012 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: K Friend

Blackburn Blackburn Rovers vs Norwich City Norwich

Blackburn 2

M Formica (41)
J Hoilett (49)

ft

Rovers boost survival hopes

Formica and Hoilett strike to clip Canaries at Ewood Park

Last Updated: 21/04/12 7:38pm

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Junior Hoilett takes the plaudits after his wonder strike

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.

Goal of the match: Junior Hoilett lit up the match with a stunning second-half strike. He picked up the ball on the left touchline, dropped his shoulder to move inside Russell Martin, before curling a rocket into the top corner. A goal worthy of winning any match. Save of the match: Paul Robinson made a number of important saves. No more so than in the first half when he kept out Jonny Howson's rasping drive. Man of the match: Gael Givet and Hoilett were outstanding for the home side. Hoilett nicks this award thanks to his stunning goal. Talking point: Can Rovers stay up? They certainly played like a side capable of doing so here and the players, if not all the fans, seem to be behind the manager.

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.

Fighting spirit

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.

Precious

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 RoversTeam StatisticsNorwich City
2Goals0
11st Half Goals0
3Shots on Target3
3Shots off Target9
2Blocked Shots1
9Corners7
10Fouls12
4Offsides1
1Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0
64.8Passing Success75.5
9Tackles19
88.9Tackles Success68.4
42.7Possession57.3
45Territorial Advantage55
284Total Passes400
24Total Crosses25
202Lost Balls170
42Recoveries61
40.31st Half Poss.59.7
42.62nd Half Poss.57.4

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Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 6 16
2 Southampton 6 13
3 Manchester City 6 11
4 Arsenal 6 10
5 Swansea City 6 10
6 Aston Villa 6 10
7 Manchester United 6 8
8 Tottenham Hotspur 6 8
9 Crystal Palace 6 8
10 West Bromwich Albion 6 8
11 Stoke City 6 8
12 Leicester City 6 8
13 West Ham United 6 7
14 Liverpool 6 7
15 Everton 6 6
16 Hull City 6 6
17 Sunderland 6 5
18 Queens Park Rangers 6 4
19 Newcastle United 6 3
20 Burnley 6 3

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