Blackburn Rovers fans will be sitting a bit more comfortable tonight after beating Derby County 2-1 to claim their second victory in 16 games. This win should relieve any concerns fans may have had regarding Rovers’ status as a Championship club next season.
Tony Mowbray’s side were dealt a blow ahead of kick-off when captain Darragh Lenihan was ruled out with a groin injury, on-loan Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite was brought in to start his first game in 10 Championship fixtures.
The hosts had the game’s first two efforts, Harvey Elliott curling over, before captain for the night Adam Armstrong saw his free kick kept out by an acrobatic David Marshall save.
Despite that, it was the visitors who were having the better of the game and they showed that when they took an early lead through Tom Lawrence. The Welsh international headed home a lovely cross from left-back Craig Forsyth.
Derby County efforts from the edge of the box then came at regular intervals. First Graeme Shinnie’s shot forced a save out of Thomas Kaminski on the half-hour mark, before Lawrence was wasteful from a free kick in a central area after Lewis Holtby was booked for a challenge on Shinnie.
At this point, Rovers were by far and away the second best team in a game which only looked to be heading one way. Rovers were loose in possession and lacklustre without the ball, outworked by Rooney’s Rams.
Blackburn somehow found an equaliser three minutes before the interval thanks to a Sam Gallagher header from a brilliant Barry Douglas corner.
The pattern of the game didn’t change much in the second half; Derby looked impressive like they did against Norwich last week – and Blackburn were all over the place.
On 52 minutes, the ball broke loose inside the box, falling to Blackburn’s top scorer, Adam Armstrong, who was denied by an excellent stop from Scotland international goalkeeper David Marshall.
Rovers then started to have a few chances, again coming from star man Armstrong who was struggling to find a way past Marshall.
It looked like it was going to be Rovers’ day. However, in the 66th minute, Liverpool loanee Harvey Elliott (17) found space on the edge of the box and fired a powerful shot past Marshall to find the back of the net.
Rovers move on to 50 points and will be playing Championship football again next season, while Derby remain only 4 points above the relegation zone and are in desperate need of a win.