Brilliant Baggies stun Rovers
By Lewis Rutledge. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
West Brom produced a superb display to shock Blackburn 2-0 in an entertaining clash at The Hawthorns.
First half goals from Kevin Campbell, celebrating his 36th birthday, and Jonathan Greening, proved the difference, but West Brom were good value for their victory.
Campbell fired The Baggies in front after just seven minutes, having missed a fantastic chance to open the scoring moments earlier.
Greening showed great skill down the right wing before crossing the ball into Campbell at the near post, only for the veteran striker to incredibly blast his shot wide from just a couple of yards out.
He made amends less than a minute later, controlling Junichi Inamoto's pin-point long pass with his chest and coolly slotting the ball past Brad Friedel with the outside of his foot.
Blackburn's defending was a shambles, and West Brom's midfielders were given the space they needed to run riot. Greening and Inamoto both came close to doubling the advantage with fierce strikes from distance after being given far too much time to pull the trigger.
Rovers were looking a shadow of the side that shocked Manchester United on Wednesday and had gone six Premiership games unbeaten, but did threaten sporadically.
Tomasz Kuszczak had to be alert to tip over an inswinging free kick from Morten Gamst Pedersen, and some of their build-up play was impressive, but there were few alarms for the West Brom defence to deal with.
The Baggies' second came just after the half hour mark, Greening gratefully receiving a terrible clearance from Michael Gray, before steadying himself and volleying into the net from outside the area with both precision and ferocity.
Blackburn were shell-shocked, but managed to survive until half time without sinking further behind, a very real possibility with The Hawthorns faithful spurring their side on to an impressive attacking display.
Mark Hughes brought on Brett Emerton at half time and shortly after introduced Florent Sinama-Pongolle for his Blackburn debut, and Rovers did start to come back into the game.
David Bentley, fresh from his hat-trick against Manchester United, headed wide with his first noteworthy contribution, as the game fluctuated from end to end.
Inamoto spurned an opportunity for the home side when he hit straight at Friedel, but the Japanese star remained one of the most impressive performers on the pitch, along with Greening.
Blackburn tried their utmost to put West Brom under pressure, and nearly reduced their arrears when Pedersen nodded Emerton's pass back across goal, but with no forwards rushing in, the ball trickled past an empty net to safety.
Ryan Nelsen and Bentley wasted good chances from the centre of the area late on, but in the end West Brom comfortably held on for all three points.
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