Impressive Rovers record win
Hughes gets one over old United pal Bruce at Ewood
Last Updated: 07/10/07 7:03pm
Blackburn Rovers put in an accomplished display to secure a 2-1 victory over Birmingham City.
Goals from David Bentley and Benni McCarthy put Mark Hughes' men ahead, while Cameron Jerome scored a consolation for the Blues.
The impressive Bentley gave Blackburn the lead on 15 minutes after excellent control and a tidy finish.
McCarthy, on as a half-time substitute, doubled Rovers' lead just 10 minutes into the second half with a calm finish from the penalty spot.
Steve Bruce's side were then given hope when a long free-kick fell to Jerome who powered home superbly to narrow the deficit.
Birmingham continued to battle hard but it was to no avail and Blackburn claimed a deserved three points.
Blackburn swiftly erased the heartache of their surprise Uefa Cup exit with a
fourth successive victory against Birmingham.
Birmingham created just one opportunity in the opening half, arriving just before the half hour when Medhi Nafti - sporting strapping to his left hand after earlier slipping on the greasy surface - played in Jerome.
Jerome had timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap, but with only Brad Friedel to beat he failed to even hit the target, smacking his shot against the advertising hoardings behind the goal.
Other than that, Rovers' American goalkeeper had little to do to help preserve his side's 15th-minute lead as Bentley maintained his fine run of form.
Now an England international, the midfielder had twice previously created chances, although both were wide of the right-hand post.
But then, after receiving a low ball into the area from former Blues midfielder David Dunn with his back to goal, Bentley spun away from his marker by taking two touches with his right foot before firing home with his left from 12 yards.
After Rovers had a shout for a penalty turned down by referee Mark Clattenburg after centre back Johan Djourou appeared to shove Roque Santa Cruz to the ground, they went on to finish the half the stronger.
Two sweeping moves followed with Stephen Warnock first flashing a diving header across the face of goal in the 36th minute, Brett Emerton inches away from poking home the ball.
Six minutes later a remarkable run from centre-back Christopher Samba culminated in him forcing a clutch save from Taylor after Brett Emerton and Dunn had played their part in the attack.
Within 20 seconds of the restart Bentley was denied his second when Franck Queudrue cleared his sidefoot shot off the line.
The game then turned in the space of a minute with City's Gary McSheffrey initially having a goal ruled out for offside after sidefooting home from close range.
On the counter Santa Cruz had his legs taken away by Djourou as he tried to turn inside the centre-back and this time Clattenburg immediately pointed to the spot, despite strong protests.
McCarthy, on as a half-time substitute for Dunn, stroked the penalty past a wrong-footed Taylor for his second league goal of the season, and first since 2nd September.
Birmingham gave themselves a lifeline when Jerome thumped a 12-yard half-volley into the roof of the net in the 68th minute for his third of the season.
Blackburn were indebted to Friedel for turning over the bar a back header from Olivier Kapo in the first minute of injury time, so keeping Blackburn riding high in the Premier League.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Statistics||Birmingham City|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||4|
|10||Shots off Target||1|
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Bromwich Albion||1||1|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||1||0|
|18||West Ham United||1||0|