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Blackburn 1 Rovers 3

12 August 2017

John Marquis, James Coppinger and Alfie May were on the scoresheet as a second-half masterclass from Rovers sealed victory at Blackburn.

John Marquis, James Coppinger and Alfie May were on the scoresheet as a second-half masterclass from Rovers sealed victory at Blackburn.


Darren Ferguson made three changes, with Matty Blair, James Coppinger and Liam Mandeville all returning after missing the midweek Carabao Cup win at Bradford City.


Andy Williams also returned to the bench, where he was joined by Issam Ben Khemis who was part of a matchday squad for the first time after receiving international clearance.


The opening period was quit, with the most danger the home side created coming from a low Paul Caddis cross from the right which Joe Wright cleared.


The visitors were almost gifted the lead after 13 minutes. Caddis attempted to pass the ball back to goalkeeper David Raya, only for the latter to mis-judge the bounce and have to go rushing back to his line to keep it out.


Rovers won their first corner two minutes later when Danny Andrew’s cross was deflected over - though the delivery was too close to Raya.


Chances started to come more frequently for the visitors as the half-hour approached. John Marquis had the best opportunity after 27 minutes when Niall Mason’s clipped cross found him in a central position - his first-time shot was sharp,  but deflected away by Ryan Nyambe.


Moments later Raya spilled the ball after Andrew’s free-kick from just inside his own half. He was under pressure from Andy Butler, but there was no suggestion of a foul and the home keeper dived gratefully onto the loose ball.


The home side finally tested Ian Lawlor after 33 minutes, but Caddis’ effort after cutting inside was weak and easily collected by Rovers’ Irish keeper.


Marquis again had another opportunity after good play down the left. He tried to curl the ball into the top-right corner, but it went just over.


Rovers started the second-half quickly and took the lead almost instantly by capitalising on a mistake from the home side.


Elliott Ward could not control a pass from Charlie Mulgrew, and the ball fell to Marquis.


The Rovers’ No.9 had all the time in the world to place his shot past Raya into the bottom-left corner of the net.


Caddis fired over for the home side, before Tony Mowbray made a double change trying to get back into the game with Dominic Samuel and Bradley Dack entering the fray.


Ferguson also made a change, with Alfie May coming off the bench to replace Liam Mandeville.


Rovers doubled their advantage after 65 minutes. A break down the middle led to Marquis feeding the ball to Coppinger, who was played through but went down under a challenge with just Raya to beat.


The visiting captain dusted himself off to take the spot-kick, hitting it hard and low past Raya to make it 2-0.


Rovers were playing with confidence as if they were the home side, and Tommy Rowe almost made it three with a low effort from distance tipped round a post by Raya.


The home side could not be discounted, and Lawlor had to be alert to tip an effort from substitute Gladden over the bar.


But the match was as good as wrapped up after 82 minutes when the home keeper Raya did not deal with a long clearance from Coppinger.


He tries to cushion the ball to a defender with a header, but only managed to find May who was happy to accept the gift and calmly slotted the ball into an unguarded net.

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