Blackburn Rovers 1 Middlesbrough 0
JASON Lowe’s first goal for the club earned Rovers a deserved victory at a cold and rain-lashed Ewood Park.
The midfielder was marking his 96th appearance in a blue and white shirt – and it was one he will never forget as his stunning 76th-minute effort settled a hard-fought contest.
It also ensured Rovers returned to winning ways after three games without a success.
There was little to choose between the sides in a first half that burst into life in the final 15 minutes after a flat opening half hour.
Jake Kean spilled a Kei Kamara cross on the soaking-wet surface and was relieved to see Tommy Spurr clear before Alan Judge saw a curling free kick from the corner of the box acrobatically tipped over the bar by Jason Steele.
But it was not until the latter stages of the period that the biggest Ewood Park crowd of the season was woken from its slumber.
The visitors – backed by 2,374 travelling supporters – went close with an inswinging Grant Leadbitter free kick that was headed over his own bar by impressive captain Scott Dann.
Rovers – who lost Spurr to injury early on – responded with a Jordan Rhodes header from a deflected Tom Cairney cross that was heading into the bottom corner until Steele palmed it around the post.
It was a brilliant save – and the Boro goalkeeper was tested again before the half was out as he pushed away a Josh King 25-yard pile-driver after Leadbitter gave the ball away in midfield.
Steele’s opposite number Kean was also tested, getting down low to his right to turn aside a pinpoint Kamara header from a deep Rhys Williams cross, having earlier saw a Jonathan Woodgate header from a Leadbitter free kick drift just wide.
Chances were to a minimum after the restart.
Judge was not too far wide with an angled 30-yard drive after Albert Adomah just failed to get a telling touch to a Kamara cross.
The hosts were denied a stonewall penalty in the 68th minute when Boro captain Woodgate clearly upended Matt Kilgallon in the box.
Rovers were furious.
Their mood turned, however, eight minutes later when Lowe picked up the ball 25 yards from goal and let fly with an unstoppable right-footed shot that flashed past Steele on its way into the top corner.
Gary Bowyer’s men went close to doubling their advantage when Rhodes – on the slide – turned substitute Chris Taylor’s cross inches past the post.
But there also a scare at the other end when Lukas Jutkiewicz headed over a cross from fellow sub Mustapha Carayol.
The win moved Rovers up to ninth, four points behind the play-offs.
Rovers: Kean, Kane, Dann, Kilgallon (Marshall 77), Spurr (Morris 21), Cairney, Lowe, Williamson, King, Judge (Taylor 74), Rhodes. Subs: Eastwood, Songo'o, Marrow, Henley.
Goal: Kane 76.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Williams, Woodgate, Ayala, Friend, Smallwood, Leadbitter, Varga (Carayol 72), Adomah (Butterfield 85), Emnes (Jutkiewicz 72), Kamara. Subs: Leutwiler, Richardson, Hines, Gibson.
Booked: Ayala, Woodgate, Williams, Smallwood.
Referee: Carl Boyeson.
Attendance: 16, 645.
Comments are closed on this article.