FULL-TIME: AFC Telford United 0 Blackburn Rovers 4
RUBEN Rochina scored twice and Leon Best and Jack O’Connell once each as Rovers started their pre-season preparations with an ultimately comfortable victory over their non-league opponents.
After a goalless opening period the transfer-listed Best broke the deadlock in the 56th minute with a super strike before setting up Rochina to double the advantage four minutes later.
The Spaniard, whose future at Ewood Park remains uncertain, added a stylish second in the 75th minute before young defender O’Connell headed home two minutes from time to round off a rampant second-half display.
Rovers, whose squad was missing Paul Robinson, Tommy Spurr, Jason Lowe, Corry Evans, David Dunn, Markus Olsson and new signings Alex Baptiste and Chris Brown, fielded entirely different teams in each half.
On a bone-dry, bobbly and, in places, bare pitch, it was Conference Premier new boys Telford who started the brighter with Anthony O’Connor, playing at left back with Ben Marshall operating at right back, making a good interception to prevent a clear goalscoring opportunity.
But Gary Bowyer’s Championship side grew into the game and were dominating the ball when the half was stopped for eight minutes after one of the linesmen collapsed.
Medics, including Rovers doctor Duncan Robertson, were quickly on the scene.
After receiving medical attention the linesman, who was feeling sick before kick-off, was stretchered off to the dressing room where he was given the all-clear.
After the match resumed, and with a replacement for the stricken linesman found, Rovers wasted a string of chances.
An excellent Neill Byrne challenge denied Jordan Rhodes a shot on goal before Tom Cairney, operating in the centre of the park, volleyed two good openings past the opposite posts.
Josh King then forced Telford goalkeeper Jonathan Hedge into his first save, after Andy Owens tried unsuccessfully to shield the ball out of play, before the winger snatched at another attempt from the edge of the box.
Simon Eastwood was also tested before the half was out, gathering a long-range effort from Sean Clancy at the second attempt after Marshall gave the ball away.
Eastwood’s replacement, Jake Kean, was straight into the action at the start of the second half, making a brilliant close-range save from Andy Todd.
Equally impressive was Kristian Platt’s block to deny Devarn Green at the other end moments later.
But there was nothing Telford, who made 10 outfield changes at the break, could do to stop Best from firing Rovers in front as he collected a pass from John O’Sullivan and cut inside to blast an unstoppable right-footer low into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
Best then turned creator for Rochina with the former’s pass, expertly pulled back into the middle of the area, gleefully side-footed home by the latter.
Green, who this month signed his first professional deal with the club, would have extended the lead further, after playing a sharp one-two with Lee Williamson, had it not been for a low stop from Hedge.
But Rochina was not to be denied and 15 minutes from time he brought a neat lay-off under his control before lifting a delightful chipped finish over Hedge from just inside the box.
Rochina went close to completing his hat-trick from distance before Luke Varney rose superbly to lay the ball on a plate for O’Connell, who steered a clever header into the bottom corner.
Telford: Hedge, Baynes (Booth 46), Owens (Lever 46), Byrne (Platt 46), McDonald (Akrigg 46), Barnett (Grogan 46), Cooke (Todd 46), Goddard (Ainscough 46), Smith (Farrell 46), Deacy (Gray 46), Clancy (Hancock 46).
Rovers: Eastwood (Kean 46), Marshall (Henley 46), Hanley (Songo’o 46), Kilgallon (Lenihan 46), O'Connor (O’Connell 46), King (Green 46), Taylor (Williamson 46), Cairney (O’Sullivan 46), Conway (Varney 46), Rhodes (Rochina 46), Gestede (Best 46).
Goals: Best 56, Rochina 60, 75, O’Connell 88.
Attendance: 1,082 (286 away).