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Match Reports

Report: Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Dale

26 December 2017

Two first-half goals saw Dale defeated 2-0 by Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Boxing Day.

After an evening opening half hour, the deadlock was broken when Bradley Dack poked the ball past Josh Lillis in the 35th minute.

Lillis then conceded a penalty, bringing Elliott Bennett to the ground, and Charlie Mulgrew’s excellent strike doubled the lead.

Dale created chances after the break, but couldn’t find the goal that would bring them back into the game.

There were three changes to the starting line-up from Saturday’s draw with Walsall, as Kgosi Ntlhe, Bradden Inman and Keith Keane all started.

The opening half hour was even but quiet, with just one effort apiece for either side.

Marcus Antonsson’s cushioned volley was well off target from Danny Graham’s nod down, before Ian Henderson’s header to Ollie Rathbone was acrobatically sent over the crossbar.

The hosts opened the scoring in the 35th minute, in fortuioutious circumstances. Dack did well to find Graham on the left of the area, who played a return ball into the middle for Dack.

His effort was saved by Josh Lillis, but the rebound fell to Dack who poked the ball into the back of his own net.

Rovers’ lead was doubled from the penalty spot three minutes before half-time. Elliott Bennett closed down Lillis and dispossessed the Dale stopper.

As he attempted to win the ball back, Lillis brought down the Blackburn winger and conceded the spot-kick.

Mulgrew stepped up, and although Lillis dived the right way, he couldn’t keep out the strike which was powerfully struck just inside his left post.

Dale had a couple of opportunities to claw one back before the break, when Ntlhe headed over a Callum Camps corner, before Camps himself saw an effort from outside the area fly just wide of the far post.

The visitors started the second half positively, and created a couple of chances inside the first ten minutes.

Inman’s cross was blocked into the path of Rathbone, whose shot was well blocked by Paul Downing.

Henderson then forced David Raya into a fine save to his left. Good pressure from Jordan Williams saw him win the ball back on the halfway line and break forward, finding Henderson, who held the ball up before his curling effort was turned round the post.

Rovers’ Derrick Williams saw a fizzing effort clip the top of the crossbar from the corner of the area, before Camps’ header from Henderson’s back post cross was deflected behind.

Keith Hill then made a triple substitution with just over an hour played. Keane, Williams and Inman were replaced by Steven Davies, Joe Thompson and Matty Done.

Graham sent an overhead kick wide for the hosts, and Done saw an effort blocked behind at the near post, as the Dale changes tried to force a way back into the game.

Rovers substitute Joe Nuttall diverted a low cross just wide of the far post, whilst a superb solo run from Dack was eventually halted by a Lillis save.

Nuttall then forced Lillis into a comfortable save with an effort in three minutes of stoppage time, and despite a strong second half showing, Dale couldn’t overturn the two goal deficit.


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