October 22, 2014 by bluenosebible
Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Birmingham City
By Oliver Osborn
Managerless Birmingham City lost their first game after Lee Clark’s sacking in a 1-0 defeat to Blackburn at Ewood Park.
A goal from Ben Marshall just after half-time guided Rovers to their first win in the last five games and leaves Blues out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
Right-back Neal Eardley was sent off on the hour mark for a second yellow card and Andrew Shinnie almost grabbed a point right at the death on a disappointing night for the away side.
Jordan Rhodes beat the offside trap down the right hand side and whipped in a perfect cross for Corry Evans, who just had Colin Doyle to beat.
The Northern Irishman failed to even get a shot away from just six yards out when a clean contact would have given Rovers an early lead.
Clayton Donaldson went close to making Evans pay for the miss a minute later after breaking the defensive line himself from Koby Arthur’s well weighted through ball.
The striker took his shot early to take Blackburn goalkeeper Jason Steele off guard, but his effort went inches wide of the post.
The away side continued to frustrate Rovers and their supporters in the first half, giving them very few opportunities to make the break through.
Paul Caddis forced Steele into a fantastic save slightly against the run of play with a well hit volley from the edge of the box.
The Scot let fly from Donaldson’s wayward cross and Rover’s goalkeeper made a superb fingertip save to keep he ball from finding the top corner.
After the break, Blues seemed to lose their way and the solid performance they’d put in for the first 45 was in pieces after 5 second half minutes.
It was the first chance Marshall had to run at Neal Eardley and the home side exploited the left flank for the rest of the match.
The battle between the two lasted just ten minutes, however, as Eardley was sent off for a second yellow card after fouling Markus Olsson.
Caddis reverted back to his more familar right back position, but Marshall still found a way to cause problems.
Another ball came out wide to Marshall and the winger did well to beat Caddis, but his shot was well saved by Doyle before the goalkeeper made a second stop from Rhodes with the rebound.
Doyle was then forced into more action from Marshall as the former England U21 player hit a long range effort that stung the palms of the Irishman as he pushed the shot away from danger.
Crosby and Beale made a couple of attacking substitutions to grab a late equaliser for the away side and they almost did just that.
Wes Thomas forced a good save with his long range shot from Steele and the goalkeeper could only parry it away before it was cleared by Olsson.
With very little time remaining Andrew Shinnie was inches away from picking up a point for Blues with a shot from 25 yards that cannoned off the crossbar.
It would have been quite something given that he wasn’t originally in the travelling squad to play at Ewood Park and had largely frozen out under Clark this season.
The win for Blackburn see Gary Bowyer’s side move up to 11th with a game away to Nottingham Forest on Saturday while Blues take on Bournemouth at St. Andrews.
Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer on Ben Marshall’s winning goal: “It was an excellent goal. He’s in fantastic form and it was a great finish from him.
“He’s got five goals this season already, has got fantastic ability.
“He can go inside you, outside you, can go on his left, cut in and smash it with his right like he did tonight and there’s more to come from him.
“He’s got to keep working hard and get better.”
Birmingham caretaker manager Malcolm Crosby: “When you need a break, sometimes you’re lucky and you get it, but we didn’t today.
“It (Shinnie’s) was a great strike and against a very good goalkeeper, whatever we fired at them earlier in the game, he saved them and did well.
“You just need that little break and we didn’t get it.
“When you get chances in games, you have to have someone there to take them.
“I just felt that possibly we were unlucky not to get a point out of the game.”
Starting line up: Doyle; Eardley, Edgar, Robinson, Grounds; Gleeson, Caddis; Cotterill (Shinnie 80′), Arthur (Reilly 71′), Gray (Thomas 64′); Donaldson
Subs not used: Trueman, Hall, Packwood, Novak
Man of the match: Ben Marshall