Ewood ecstacy as Blues make it nine unbeaten

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December 30, 2013 by bluenosebible

Blackburn Rovers 2-3 Birmingham City

Written By: Oliver Osborn (The Bluenose Bible)

Lee Novak scored a first half brace to secure Birmingham City’s fourth away win in five and stretch their unbeaten record to nine in a 3-2 over Blackburn Rovers.

A goal from Chris Burke following Novak’s double gave the away side a three goal lead at half time, but a rallying second half performance wasn’t enough for Rovers to steal a point at Ewood Park.

After Rovers had a couple of early chances from Ruben Rochina and Tom Cairney, Novak found the net from close range with his third league goal of season.

JS30645163-Medium-6452238A wayward header from Kyle Bartley was scooped back into the middle by the out stretched boot of Dan Burn before Novak, in the right place at the right time, fired home to give Blues a twelfth minute lead.

If the first goal was considered one of a “poacher”, his second six minutes later was a goal that could grace the turf of any football pitch.

The former Huddersfield striker found space 30 yards from goal after dispossessing Rochina and unleashed a stunning effort that nestled perfectly into the bottom right hand corner.

He’s had his critics in the past and even now fans claim Novak “just works hard”, but following a goal like this no one can argue Novak has ability to produce moments of quality in the second tier.

The man partnering Novak upfront during his time at Huddersfield was Rovers striker Jordan Rhodes who almost brought his side back into the game moments after the restart.

Rhodes was played through on goal by Cairney, but the striker couldn’t keep his composure from ten yards as his shot clipped the outside of the post, much to the relief of Blues’ goalkeeper Darren Randolph.

His opposite number Simon Eastwood, on the other hand, was left red faced as Chris Burke slotted home a third with less than 40 minutes on the clock.

Grant Hanley’s bobbling back pass was only cleared by Eastwood to Burke on the edge of the box before the winger found space and saw his trickling effort find the bottom corner.

A chorus of boos from the home support told the away side all they needed to know as they walked off the field, but it seemed to spark Blackburn into life during the second half.

JS30644892-Medium-6452242.pngRudy Gestede and Alan Judge were brought on early in the second half and their introduction played a key role in Rovers’ change in belief and intensity.

It took until after an hour for the home side to pull back a goal through their main man, Jordan Rhodes.

Down the left wing, Ben Marshall made a great run before crossing to an unmarked Rhodes at the back post.

Andrew Shinnie had a great chance to seal the three points soon after, but the Scot couldn’t force his shot past Eastwood from close range.

Blackburn pressed even more looking for the second goal that would really give them an opportunity to make a comeback, although it did eventually come in the 82nd minute.

Former Blues’ defender Scott Dann pumped a ball up field over the defence, which Rhodes managed to get on the end of.

The striker lobbed the bouncing ball over Randolph and was met with a huge roar as the ball hit the back of the net.

In similar style to the Wigan game, Blackburn made a relentless onslaught on the Birmingham goal for the remaining minutes of the match.

Dann had two great chances to equalise for his side, but the Rovers’ captain hit an air shot with one and found the post with the other as Randolph pounced on the loose ball.

JS30645454-Medium-6452240.pngThe win for Lee Clark’s men move the Midlands side nine points clear of the relegation zone and just seven points from the play offs.

Blackburn stay in the top half after the defeat, but are only three points above Blues despite a five place difference in the table.

Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer:

“I didn’t think we were bad in the first half to be honest.

“I think Birmingham might have got in our half about three times and scored three goals. The level of performance first half was decent.

“We were happy enough at how we were with the ball, but they were poor goals from our point of view.

“The second half was absolutely outstanding and I’ve nothing but pride for them because we could quite easily have collapsed and died and showed no fight but this group of players don’t know that and it’s full credit to them because we turned that mentality around very quickly in a short space of time.

“On another day we might have got a point out of it.”

Birmingham manager Lee Clark:

“To come away from home and win any match is fantastic.

“The first-half performance was a terrific away performance. We contained Blackburn and restricted them to minimum chances and scored some terrific goals on the break ourselves and could have scored a couple more so we’re absolutely delighted.

“There were a few anxious moments but I’ve just said to the players if there were prizes given out in the division for heart, desire, commitment, passion, pride in the shirt and playing for the fans and club, they’d be running away with the division.

“Towards the end, the players to a man, when all those crosses were coming in – were different class.”

Starting line up: Randolph; Caddis, Bartley, Burn, Robinson; Burke, Adeyemi (Reilly 34′), Lee, Novak; Shinnie (Ferguson 76′), Zigic (Lovenkrands 88′)

Subs not used: Doyle, Mullins, Brown, Gray

Man of the match: Lee Novak

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