Goals either side of half-time from Mauro Formica and Junior Hoilett were enough to see off the challenge of Norwich City at Ewood Park – and give relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers three precious Premier League points.

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Top scorer Yakubu had just struck the post when Formica opened the scoring four minutes before the interval, giving goalkeeper John Ruddy no chance with a volley from Marcus Olsson’s cross.

Hoilett, who had scored in the 3-3 draw at Carrow Road earlier in the season, added the second for Blackburn with a superb curling shot, four minutes into the second half.

Rovers ’keeper Paul Robinson made one decent save in each half – from Jonny Howson and substitute Aaron Wilbraham – but the former England man was certainly not overworked by the below-par Canaries.

It was the first defeat Paul Lambert’s men had suffered this season against a team in the bottom five of the Premier League, and it maintained their poor record at Blackburn, where they have won only once in their history.

Striker James Vaughan was given his first start for the Canaries after an injury-ravaged season that had previously brought just four outings as a substitute. He played for an hour before making way for Steve Morison.

Vaughan was making his first appearance for nine weeks after a hamstring problem, while Wes Hoolahan and Andrew Surman were also recalled to the starting eleven.

Bradley Johnson, Anthony Pilkington – back in his home town – and Aaron Wilbraham were the three players to make way from the starting eleven that faced Manchester City, all of them on the bench.

Blackburn were without defender Grant Hanley, out for the rest of the season with an ankle ligament injury. Top scorer Yakubu shook off a knee problem, however, while Junior Hoilett recovered from a hamstring injury and full-back Bradley Orr played after concerns over an Achilles problem.

Vaughan, wearing bright orange boots, won a corner in the opening minute, Holt heading over from Surman’s kick.

Holt then had a shot blocked by Orr and Elliott Bennett fired wide from long range as City started brightly.

Russell Martin had to concede the first corner at the other end with a header from Orr’s cross. Dann got his head to Pedersen’s kick but Holt was able to clear.

Ward conceded a corner on the opposite side, but the same player was back to head clear from another Pedersen kick.

Hoolahan was left hobbling after a foul and from the resulting free-kick by Ward, Holt forced Robinson to save, diving to his right.

Vaughan had his first real chance after 10 minutes when Surman hooked back Elliott Bennett’s cross, but he miskicked from 10 yards and the ball appeared to hit his standing foot.

A foul by Ryan Bennett on Yakubu gave Rovers a free-kick that Pedersen swung into the penalty area, the ball appearing to brush Russell Martin’s hand as the defender jumped, but referee Friend giving a goal-kick.

Vaughan was lectured for a raised arm on Givet, though the Frenchman appeared to make the most of the incident.

There was a scare for City on 21 minutes when Ruddy was unable to hold Hoilett’s cross from the right and Ryan Bennett’s first touch knocked the ball goalwards before he recovered smartly to hook it clear.

Dunn was booked for a foul on Elliott Bennett, the first yellow card of the afternoon, but as Rovers pressed, Formica left fly with a shot that deflected out off Drury.

With half an hour gone, Howson provided the highlight of the half so far with a swerving 25-yard drive that keeper Robinson had to tip over the top, and shortly afterwards,

Ryan Bennett headed wide from a Surman corner.

Howson was booked for a foul on Formica after a pass by Russell Martin left him short.

Blackburn came desperately close to a goal seven minutes before the break when a superb cross from Hoilett was headed back by Pedersen and Yakubu set himself for an overhead kick that struck the post and bounced away to safety.

That goal came four minutes before the interval, however, through Formica, his fourth of the season.

It was a well-worked move though the defending was fairly non-existent. Hoilett sent Yakubu away on the left and the striker pulled the ball back to Olsson, whose cross towards the six-yard box was met on the volley by the unmarked Formica, who gave Ruddy no chance.

• Half-time: Blackburn Rovers 1, Norwich City 0

Vaughan was unhappy about being caught in the face by Givet early in the second half as he tried to get on the end of a pass by Surman.

But the Canaries had more to worry about after 49 minutes when Hoilett scored a superb second goal. Taking possession wide on the left, he weaved inside past Russell Martin and curled in a right-foot shot from the corner of the penalty area that beat Ruddy’s despairing leap to his left.

Drury suffered a knock soon after play resumed and needed treatment before continuing.

Blackburn were buzzing now and a cross from Hoilett was only just out of reach of Yakubu as they threatened a third goal.

There was a double change for City with just over half an hour to go when Morison and Pilkington replaced Vaughan and Hoolahan.

Blackburn made their first change when Dunn made way for Martin Olsson.

With 66 minutes gone, Lambert made his final change when Wilbraham replaced Holt, Drury taking over as captain.

Pilkington did well to carve out a chance for City after 72 minutes but Wilbraham moved just too soon and his cross rolled behind the striker.

Moments later, Wilbraham forced Robinson to save low to his right with a smart effort, and he was close again seconds later when he could not quite get his head to the ball at the post after Ryan Bennett challenged Pedersen for the corner.

Blackburn replaced Yakubu with Modeste and then Hoilett needed treatment after a sliding challenge by Drury that angered the home crowd.

Dann headed over from a corner with 10 minutes to go as Blackburn looked to make the game safe.

With seven minutes left, Hoilett made way for Petrovic in Rovers’ final change.

Petrovic tried an ambitious long-range effort as the minutes ticked away, but Ruddy got back to collect.

• Result: Blackburn Rovers 2, Norwich City 0

• Blackburn Rovers: Robinson; Orr, Dann, Givet, Marcus Olsson; Lowe; Formica, Dunn (Martin Olsson, 62), Pedersen; Hoilett (Petrovic, 83), Yakubu (Modeste, 76). Subs: Kean, Nzonzi, Rochina, Goodwillie.

• Norwich City: Ruddy; Russell Martin, Ryan Bennett, Ward, Drury; Howson; Elliott Bennett, Surman; Hoolahan (Pilkington, 59); Vaughan (Morison, 59), Holt (Wilbraham, 66). Subs (not used): Steer, Naughton, Fox, Bradley Johnson.

• Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

• Attendance: 23,218

• Goals: Blackburn: Formica (41), Hoilett (49).

• Bookings: Blackburn: Dunn (28). City: Howson (34)

16 comments

  • A game of two halves indeed. That said, the defending for the first goal was appalling. Five defenders to one in the box and noone anywhere near him. We need some of that invisible dust for our guys! As for Naughton, his absence no doubt due to him not coming back next season. Lets hope the season doesnt end on further flat notes...we're not been used to it of late.

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    zebbee

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

  • I was at the game yesterday, and it was a very disappointing performance. After the season we have had I expect better. Some players played well. Vaughan did well and showed some pace and put himself about a bit. E Bennett looked composed on the ball and his delivery was good as usual and when Pilkington came on he played well too. Surman was poor I felt. Morrison did some good things, but we were concerned at the way he reacted to a ball down the line towards him just after he came on. It was an unjustified angry reaction and perhaps is an indicator that he won't be here next season.

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    Preston Canary

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

  • Disappointing to say the least. On the bright side you learn more in defeat, I'm sure the decision makers are taking note of each of the players performance, both on and off the ball. Was there any unusual betting on this game !!!!

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    Lobbo

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

  • My son, who is a football journalist, and I watched the game streamed live in Portugal. The first 40 minutes I thought that we looked really good, and it was a case not of will we win, but by how many. then we paid the price of possession but no goals, and they scored just before half time, against the balance of play. the 2nd goal was a cracker!! Then.....we just seemed to give up, and I feared a repetition of last week!! When Morrison came on, my son said," That's it....we'll never score now", and went for a swim. We never looked like scoring, and were really disappointing. BUT, take some comfort....Vaughan looks like he will be really good when fully fit. A game of 2 distinct halves. What a disappointing 2nd half for Norwich.

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    Algarve Canary

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

  • Ged, suspect you are Rob Steroo and Ged Scott, who have nothing positive to say, keep it zipped you muppet. So City were not on form today but hey, it happens, as for Lambert, this guy has done more for City than many of the previous incumbents (no disrespect to any of them). Good days, bad days, we all have them. OTBC!.

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    FXT Canary

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

  • Disappointing performance... They didn't have the fire in them from the start.

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    Norfolk'n'good

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

  • Quite right, FXT - seems like Ged thinks Norwich suddenly is expected to be one of Premier Leagues high flyers. I do not agree in everything PL does, and 2.half yesterday was very very bad - but this is how I expected Premier League to be. Second seasons is often difficult for promoted teams, but I think Lambert and this team can do it again. And IF they don`t, Norwich will go down with the financial strength and the quality to bounce right back.

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    norwaysbiggesthoolahanfan

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

  • Spot on Algarve - can anybody explain BTB's comment?

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    JMH

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

  • A wonder goal and a poor defensive lapse did it for us - We need better performances in the last 3 games just to take some momentum with us - not to mention the £750k per extra place which we need to strengthen the squad in the summer. The holiday season has not yet started boys...OTBC!!!!

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    JMH

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

  • with defending like that,and creating very little,why were naughton and fox sitting on the bench?

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    bluelight

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

  • A very disappointing end of season kick-about performance from us. Too many long balls especially in the second half aimed at an 'out of form' Morison and a willing (but ultimately 'not up to it') Wilbarham. PL once again tinkered with the line-up and it didn't pay off. Completely understand why he played Vaughan - his performance the only positive of the day, but can't understand why Fox and Naughton appear out of favour. Hoolihan and Surman were both poor.

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    canarydownunder

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

  • Disappointing result, our-gung ho attitude remains but our goals have dropped off. I wasn't expecting it but I suspect the foot has just risen ever so slightly off the gas now that we are almost guaranteed safety. All it will take is 1 good result from Arsenal or Liverpool and momentum would pick up lovely for Aston Villa and going into next season. Would be nice to finish positively. As for the loss itself, well, if it slightly helps the chances of QPR getting relegated then that's a price I'm perhaps willing to pay!

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    Billy

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

  • Things have gone a bit flat. Let us hope we can raise our game against Liverpool and Arsenal. I wonder what changes Lambert will make for next season. Wigan and QPR may be 9 points below City with three games left. Wigan's goal difference is 13 worse than ours. QPR have yet to play Chelsea or Man City away. City will finish in points terms well away from the bottom. Am surprised Ged got back so quickly, posting on same day as the match. Given how awkward it is to get to Blackburn have you given your password to a pundit from Liverpool this week?

    Report this comment

    Capri

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

  • HA ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....ha

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    billythebookie2000@yahoo.co.uk

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

  • Good point zeebee re: Naughton

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

  • Looks like my previous comment may have been 'ethered'! Also can't understand why Pilks didn't start - he was the only one who looked motivated apart from Vaughan.

    Report this comment

    canarydownunder

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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