Newcastle 3 Blackburn 1
St James Park
Blackburn`s undefeated 3 game streak came to an abrupt end at St James Park, as the home outfit, cruised into a 3-1 victory, with Demba Ba, a one time Rovers target picking up a hat trick.
Ruben Rochina made way for Martin Olsson whilst Salgado was ruled fit to start at right back.
It was the home outfit who took it to the visitors from the start. Gabriel Obertan looked to be finding his feet on the right of midfield, surging forward at every opportunity, whilst Gael Givet more then happy to allow him to dominate the flank. An early set of corners was extinguished; however signs of poor Rovers defending started to show. Demba Ba was given all the freedom in the world, picking up a loose ball in midfield and running 30 meters unmarked before blasting over from distance.
On the other end, Blackburn had little to show. The only threat of any attack was through the counter via Olsson or Hoillet, but even then, Collocini was on hand to shut down any break away.
Whilst Gabriel Obertan was torturing Gael Givet down the right flank, a spate of missed opportunities for the Toon was put behind them, as Newcastle opened the scoring via the left flank. Leon Best found himself unmarked out wide, with a near cross dropping at the feet of Demba Ba. The striker held off Scott Dann, before turning and blasting past the outstretched arms of Paul Robinson, 1-0 Newcastle.
The suffering had just begun for Blackburn, as Newcastle doubled their lead within minutes. A long ball by former Rovers loanee, Danny Simpson, was flicked on by an unmarked Stephen Taylor, 6 yards out, into the path of Demba Ba who was left with the easiest of headers, 2-0 Newcastle
Blackburn looked frustrated at the lack of possession, however where not doing themselves any favours through some dreadful defending. Chris Samba looked like he was not interested, whilst Scott Dann just was not on. Blackburn though did have a reprieve, against the run of play. Martin Olsson found some space down the left flank, skipping past his man. With Yakubu on his own up front and Mauro Formica nowhere to be seen, Olsson played the deftest of crosses back to the 18 Yard box, Hoillet controlling then smashing through on the half volley, 2-1 Newcastle.
A sense of urgency creeped into the Rovers game, with the blues finally finding some field possession and stringing a few passes. Newcastle did hold out until the break, 2-1 to the home side.
Whatever Steve Kean says at half time, has Blackburn working, as Rovers turned up the heat after the break. Whilst it was 45 minutes too late, it gave Rovers a sniff, and parity was almost restored via Martin Olsson, whose flick on lobbed over Tim Krul, but struck the top of the woodwork and went over. Blackburn continued to maintain the pressure, but could not gain that equalizer, and were made to pay for it.
Demba Ba was in dreamland as Cheike Tiote, who had made his presence felt on the game, lobbed in a cross from 40 yards. The ball was headed back across goals, with Robinson making an absolute howler of the attempted save, flapping at thin air, Demba Ba getting the faintest of touches as the ball appeared to be on route to goal. 3-1 Newcastle. Their was a protest from the Rovers end though, as Scott Dann appeared to be fouled in the process of the goal, but when you defend as poor as that, you deserve the ultimate punishment.
Ruben Rochina and Jason Roberts came onto the pitch in an attempt to claw a goal back, but the early dismissal of Martin Olsson after picking up his second yellow card ended any dream come back, despite a late effort by Steve Nzonzi flying over the bar.
Newcastle continued their unbeaten run, whilst pressure will surely mount on struggling Blackburn manager Steve Kean.
Paul Robinson 5
Gael Givet 4
Scott Dann 3
Chris Samba 5
Michel Salgado 5
Steve Nzonzi 6
Jason Lowe 3
Junior Hoillet 6
Martin Olsson 6
Mauro Formica 2