Rovers ease past Mariners
Debut strike for Villanueva
Last Updated: 28/08/08 4:09pm
Blackburn came from a goal behind against League Two Grimsby to seal a comfortable 4-1 win in their Carling Cup second round clash at Ewood Park.
Town threatened a huge shock as they went ahead through Tom Newey, but Rovers came back strong and eased past their lower league opponents with goals from debutant Carlos Villanueva, Brett Emerton and a Matt Derbyshire brace.
Only Ryan Nelsen, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Aaron Mokoena remained from Saturday's 1-1 draw with Hull, which meant a debut for Villanueva - who gave away the free-kick which enabled Grimsby to go ahed.
Left-back Newey curled a beautiful shot beyond the fingertips of goalkeeper Jason Brown and into the net off the crossbar to the delight of the travelling contingent.
Rovers were looking understandably disjointed given the amount of upheaval in their team selection, although they showed great character to get back on level terms within 10 minutes.
Villanueva, perhaps with a point to prove after his role in Town's opener, collected the ball deep in the visitors' half, took a neat touch, and found the far corner of the net with unerring accuracy despite Phil Barnes' despairing dive.
Villanueva, who had seen the start of his Rovers career hampered by a bout of chickenpox, was understandably itching to show his worth to the home fans, and the Chilean Player of the Year had a big hand in Blackburn taking the lead on the half-hour mark.
Again afforded too much time and space on the edge of the penalty area, Villanueva fired in a shot which was parried by Barnes after taking a horrible deflection off Newey, only for Derbyshire to prod home from a couple of yards.
The new boy nearly made it 3-1 five minutes later when a fizzing left-footed effort beat Barnes but flew just wide of the right-hand upright.
Three and easy
Rovers, after a shaky start, were in full flow and Emerton grabbed their third goal in the 39th minute from the edge of the area after Derbyshire had rolled the ball into his path.
The Australian very nearly scored again within a minute after his thundering volley forced a stunning save from Barnes at the expense of a corner.
Rovers were full value for their lead at the halfway mark, but Town again came quickly out of the blocks and nearly responded within 30 seconds of the restart when Nick Hegarty cut through the middle only for Brown to deny him at his feet.
The visitors were made to pay for their profligacy when Rovers sealed their passage into the next round in the 55th minute when Pedersen's cross from the left was met smartly by Derbyshire at the near post to leave Barnes with no chance.
Town boss Alan Buckley threw on Andy Taylor and Martin Butler with 25 minutes remaining, while Ince responded by withdrawing skipper Nelsen and replacing him with Alan Judge.
Rovers were then denied a fifth goal when Villanueva's cross found Pedersen six yards out, only for Barnes to pull off a stunning point-blank save.
Derbyshire did find the back of the net seconds later with a firm header but his celebrations were curtailed by the offside flag.
There was still time for man-of-the-match Villanueva to strike the bar with another lovely free-kick which, for once, had the impressive Barnes clutching thin air, before the keeper again thwarted Derbyshire with another flying stop.