March 29, 2013
Rhodes rescues Rovers
Jordan Rhodes rescued a point for managerless Blackburn, who extended their winless run to nine matches with a 1-1 draw against Lancashire neighbours Blackpool.
Michael Appleton - who led the Seasiders to a 2-0 victory over Rovers in December before taking up the reins at Ewood Park a month later - was sacked last week to leave Gary Bowyer in caretaker charge, as he was following Henning Berg's similarly brief tenure earlier in the campaign.
Such chaos behind the scenes under controversial owners Venky's has been reflected by dismal performances on the field and on-loan MK Dons centre-back Gary MacKenzie gave Blackpool a 64th minute lead as Rovers once again failed to convince.
They looked set to rue earlier missed chances by David Jones and Josh King but Scotland international striker Rhodes secured a share of the spoils with his 24th npower Championship goal of the season.
Tom Ince and substitute Elliot Grandin came close to sealing the points for Paul Ince's men but both teams edged five points clear of the npower Championship relegation zone having shared very different ambitions at the start of the season.
Josh Morris made his full league debut for Blackburn at left-back as midfielder Lee Williamson and winger King returned to the first XI following injury lay-offs.
Blackpool handed Matt Derbyshire a start in attack against his former club at the expense of benched Aston Villa loanee Nathan Delfouneso, while Chris Basham made his first appearance since suffering a fractured cheekbone against Leicester last month.
Rovers captain Scott Dann was forced into an early last-ditch tackle to deny Derbyshire following some slick Blackpool interplay on the edge of the area.
At the other end Dann's centre-back partner Grant Hanley might have put the hosts ahead, dragging a shot wide after the Seasiders failed to clear David Dunn's 16th-minute corner.
Dunn then fizzed a 25-yarder over on the back of a driving run from King as Rovers threatened to shake their early lethargy.
Derbyshire spurned a chance when he rose highest to meet Ince's corner midway through the half, while Dunn was soon off target with another speculative attempt.
Matt Phillips flashed a long-range drive past the post with Blackburn goalkeeper Jake Kean scrambling in the 35th minute, while midfielders Dunn and Jones were unable to capitalise on judicious link-up play from Rhodes before half-time.
Rovers started the second half on the front foot and when a loose ball ran invitingly for Jones in the 54th minute he rounded Matt Gilks but fired over, off-balance and with defenders back in the goalmouth.
Moments later King fluffed a better opportunity from eight yards out, scuffing a volley from Todd Kane's cross from the right channel into the turf and beyond the crossbar.
As the hour approached, King deftly turned Barry Ferguson to surge forward from halfway on the counter attack - his failure to oblige when given time and space to shoot betrayed brittle confidence and Bowyer soon sent on Colin Kazim-Richards in his place.
By now Blackpool had successfully pushed Rovers back and Kean palmed away when Ludovic Sylvestre shot through a crowd of bodies.
It was therefore on the cards when MacKenzie reacted quickest to smuggle home at the near post after Kean touched Alex Baptiste's header from Ince's right-wing corner away from the goalmouth.
The equaliser came in the 79th minute with set-piece vulnerability on display once more - Kane heading across goal from Williamson's chip into the box after Pool failed to clear for Rhodes to nod home and end a six-game goal drought for club and country.
Blackpool came closest to stealing victory as Kean parried Ince's shot at the end of a menacing run and tipped over Grandin's header.
|34 Jake Kean||1 Matthew Gilks|
|16 Scott Dann||3 Stephen Crainey|
|31 Grant Hanley||42 Kirk Broadfoot|
|19 Todd Kane||15 Alex Baptiste|
|17 Lee Williamson||39 Gary MacKenzie|
|8 David Dunn||17 Chris Basham|
|36 David Jones||16 Barry Ferguson|
|24 Josh Morris||14 Ludovic Sylvestre|
|6 Jason Lowe||7 Matthew Phillips|
|11 Jordan Rhodes||38 Matt Derbyshire|
|15 Joshua King||11 Thomas Ince|
|29 Grzegorz Sandomierski||Mark Halstead 21|
|5 Gael Givet||Neal Eardley 5|
|12 Morten Gamst Pedersen||Craig Cathcart 20|
|32 Cameron Stewart||Martinez Cervera Angel 31|
|21 Nuno Gomes||Elliot Grandin 10|
|9 Leon Best||Nathan Delfouneso 40|
|39 Colin Kazim-Richards||Marko Futacs 43|
|Colin Kazim-Richards for Joshua King (61)||Nathan Delfouneso for Matt Derbyshire (57)|
|Leon Best for David Jones (71)||Marko Futacs for Matthew Phillips (84)|
|Cameron Stewart for David Dunn (89)||Elliot Grandin for Chris Basham (84)|
|Gary MacKenzie (29)|
|Alex Baptiste (88)|
|· Squads: Blackburn Rovers | Blackpool|