HUGHES STEALS THE SHOW
By Alex Livie. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
MARK HUGHES had a dream debut for Blackburn, scoring the first two goals as they defeated Tranmere 3-2.
Hughes insisted that this was the only team that he would drop down a division for and he marked his move from Everton with a two-goal blast.
Rovers dominated for long periods, with Egil Ostenstad wasting a fine early opportunity, but it was Hughes who opened the scoring on 26 minutes.
Damien Johnson worked wonders on the right, battling bravely to whip in a cross which the Wales manager gleefully smashed home.
The lead, however, was to last only four minutes, as Jason Koumas levelled on the half-hour. Debutant Des Hamilton crossed well and 21-year-old capitalised on some slack defending to score. Tranmere were only level for one minute, as Stig Inge Bjornebye crossed for Hughes to head home.
Ostenstad gave a nudge to manager Graeme Souness, slotting home from a cross on the right-hand side.
Rovers had chances to extend their lead in the second-half, but failed to do so and were made to sweat in the dying moments, as Scott Taylor fired home a snap-shot on the edge of the area to keep the Ewood Park faithful on the edge of their seats until the final whistle.
Tranmere could not find an equaliser, as the night belonged to home debutant Hughes, who netted twice, one week before his 37th birthday.
Burnley`s fine recent run came to an end, as they were smashed 5-0 by previously shot-shy Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Chris Bart Williams ended Forest`s home goal drought on 14 minutes, curling a free-kick into the corner, after Andy Johnson was tripped on the edge of the box.
The Clarets had chances, with Steve Davis heading wide and Andy Payton wasting a fine opportunity on the quarter-hour.
The visitors were made to rue their missed opportunities, when Alan Rogers curled a free-kick through a crowd that found its way into the net via Andy Johnson on the stroke of half-time.
The game was effectively ended moments into the second period, when Robbie Blake was felled in the box and Bart Williams made no mistake from the spot.
After a dispute over the second goal, Rogers did get his name on the scoresheet, when he lashed a fearsome 35-yard strike past Nikolaos Michopoulos in the Burnley goal.
Riccardo Scimeca added a fifth, when he left Michopoulos stranded with his long-range effort.
Sheffield Wednesday`s mini-revival continued, as they came from behind to defeat Queens Park Rangers, 2-1, at Loftus Road.
Things, however, looked bleak for Paul Jewell`s men, when Des Walker fouled Peter Crouch in the area on 38 minutes and Gavin Peacock beat Kevin Pressman from the penalty spot.
The Owls appeared to pick up some confidence from their weekend victory over Birmingham and Terry Cooke equalised moments into the second-half. Owen Morrison whipped in a fine cross and Efan Ekoku powered a header against the bar, but Cooke stooped bravely amongst the studs to nod home
Alan Quinn gave the visitors the lead on 77 minutes, when he fired home from 25-yards, but QPR almost immediately levelled through Peacock.
The game ended in controversy, as Chris Kiwomya thought he had rescued a point but his late effort was ruled out for an infringement.
Birmingham had to wait until the final minute, before finding a way through a resilient rear-guard action from Gillingham. Marcelo was the man who brought joy to St Andrews, with his injury-time strike, but his celebrations resulted in him receiving a yellow card.
To read a detailed match report, click on a link below.