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Blackburn Rovers 1 Middlesbrough 0

The Boro side showed two changes from the team that which beat Doncaster Rovers George Friend and Jozsef Varga returned, with Ben Gibson and Muzzy Carayol dropping to the bench.

Blackburn were unchanged from the side that started against Blackpool last Saturday, a game which had a dramatic ending as DJ Campbell was sent-off and Rovers grabbed an injury-time equaliser.

Heavy rain greeted the teams as they came out but by that time a strong Boro following was in good voice.

Early exchanges were competitive, if on the frantic side, and someone needed to take control.

It was Boro who began to see more of the ball, although finding their range from crosses was proving difficult.

In conditions hardly suited to goalkeepers and only just to the hardiest of souls, this was a day to get crosses into the box.

Jake Kean spilt a low centre from Albert Adomah and Tommy Spurr cleared, then Jason Steele, with pretty much his first touch of the game, did well to deal with a vicious inswing free-kick from Alan Judge.

Gary Bowyer was forced into a change with 21 minutes played as Spurr limped off to be replaced by Josh Morris.

A deep cross following tricky work inside the box from Judge threatened to cause problems until Jonathan Woodgate headed behind. His central defensive partner, Daniel Ayala, became the game's first booking on 29 minutes when he kicked the ball away in frustration when a free-kick was given against him.

Booking number two soon followed when Todd Kane upended Marvin Emnes.

A terrific save from Steele saw him dive away to his left to tip away a powerful and well-placed header from Jordan Rhodes shortly before Woodgate was just off target with a header when meeting a free-kick from deep delivered by Grant Leadbitter.

Entering first half injury-time Boro pressed, Rhys Williams crossed from deep and Kei Kamara powerfully headed for goal with Kean turning round at his near post.

In the final minute of the half Leadbitter gave the ball away midway inside his own half. Josh King pounced and shot from distance, Steele doing well to turn round for a corner.

Half-time: Blackburn Rovers 0 Middlesbrough 0

There was still plenty of rain around at the start of the second half but the surface held up well and there didn't appear any problems for the players as they set about opening the scoring.

After a poor effort from Jason Lowe it was Boro who went close as Friend drilled in hard and low and Adomah had taken a good position and went for a clever backheel, only to win a corner.

A fine cross from the left delivered by Judge looked destined for Rhodes until Ayala produced an excellent piece of defending to clear.

Kamara then swept in low from the left and it was the turn of Scott Dann to produce some quality defending to sweep the ball away from Adomah in front of goal.

His clearance won Boro a corner from which Woodgate headed for goal but his effort hit the back of Emnes.

Boro's fans sensed a breakthrough and upped their decibel level as their team won another corner when a low cross from Emnes on the right was cleared with Adomah and Kamara waiting.

Rovers had claims for a penalty turned away when Woodgate challenged Matt Kilgallon. But there was no disputing the opening goal when it came shortly afterwards.

Not long after Boro had make two attacking changes with Varga and Emnes making way for Carayol and Lukas Jutkiewicz, scorer of two here last season and Carayol, Rovers swept forward and Jason Lowe smashed home his first goal for Blackburn with a terrific shot from 22 yards.

The game was now stretched and sub Ben Marshall shot low from the edge of the penalty area and Jutkiewicz at Kean on the turn from 22 yards, before Rhodes toe-poked wide when meeting a low, left-wing cross.

Entering four minutes of injury-time Jutkiewicz was just off target from the edge of the penalty area and Kamara had a shot from similar distance deflected for a corner.

Scorer: Lowe, 75.

Blackburn Rovers: Keane; Kane, Spurr (Morris 21), Kilgallon (Marshall 76), Lowe, Dann (Capt), Williamson, Judge (Taylor 73), Cairney, King, Rhodes. Subs: Eastwood (gk); Songo'o, Marrow, Henley.

Middlesbrough: Steele; R Williams, Ayala, Woodgate (Capt), Friend, Adomah (Butterfield 84), Smallwood, Leadbitter, Varga (Carayol 71), Kamara, Emnes (Jutkiewicz 71). Subs: Leutwiler (gk); Richardson, Hines, Gibson. Order of subs on 71: 1) Jutkiewicz 2) Carayol.

Referee: Carl Boyeson


Blackburn Rovers: Kane
, 32, foul.

Middlesbrough: Ayala, 29, kicking the ball away in frustration; Woodgate, 42 foul; Emnes, 60 foul; Smallwood, 60, kicking the ball away; Williams, 61, foul.

Attendance: 16, 645 (2,374 Boro)

Conditions: Cool, overcast and blustery. Heavy rain as the teams came out.

Website Boro Man of the Match: Jason Steele

Possession: Blackburn Rovers 50% Middlesbrough 50%




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