Blackburn 1-0 Middlesbrough: Sam Gallagher steps up to fill Ben Brereton Diaz’s void by firing second-half winner as hosts move up to second in the Championship
- Sam Gallagher scored a second-half winner for Blackburn on Monday night
- He took advantage of Paddy McNair’s error to score his sixth goal of the season
- Matt Crooks missed a great chance to equalise in stoppage time for the visitors
It’s a decade since Blackburn were relegated from the Premier League, but Tony Mowbray moved a step closer to guiding them back into the top-flight with victory over his old club Middlesbrough at Ewood Park.
Sam Gallagher scored the decisive goal in in the 76th minute, shortly after the game was held up for eight minutes after Boro boss Chris Wilder spotted that a Rovers fan had been taken ill in the Jack Walker Stand.
The supporter was eventually taken away in a wheelchair after treatment but there were 12 minutes of added time at the end as Rovers hung on.
Blackburn striker Sam Gallagher scored the decisive goal in in the 76th minute
BLACKBURN (3-4-1-2): Kaminski; Lenihan, Van Hecke, Wharton; Nyambe, Travis, Johnson, Edun; Buckley (Zeefuik 80); Khadra (Butterworth 68), Gallagher. Subs: Pears, Ayala, Davenport, Rankin-Costello, Garrett.
Scorer: Gallagher 76
Booked: Nyambe, Wharton, Travis, Edun
MIDDLESBROUGH (3-5-2): Lumley; Duksteel (Watmore 81), Fry, McNair; Taylor, Tavernier, Howson (Balogun 71), Crooks, Jones; Connolly, Sporar. Subs: Daniels, Payero, Peltier, Bamba, Coburn.
Booked: Taylor, Crooks, Connolly, Tavernier, McNair, Jones
Referee: Darren England
Victory lifted them into the automatic promotion places and denied Boro a chance to move into the top-six after a five-game winning run in all competitions that included three successive injury-time goals.
Gallagher may not have played had top scorer Ben Brereton Diaz – who would have been available if the game hadn’t been switched to Monday night for live TV – was instead preparing for Chile’s World Cup qualifier against Argentina.
Mowbray was also without his new £500,000 signing from Tottenham, Dilan Markanday, who is out for the rest of the season after sustaining a hamstring injury during a 22-minute debut at Hull last week.
However, the story of the first half last night could be summed up by two statistics: Blackburn had more shots by a score of 11-1 and Boro led 4-1 in bookings.
The yellow cards all came inside the opening half an hour with Neil Taylor, Aaron Connolly and Marcus Tavernier cautioned for fouls on John Buckley, and Matt Crooks for a challenge on the equally dangerous Reda Khadra.
Paddy McNair’s miskick let in Gallagher and he rifled a shot into the bottom corner
Blackburn couldn’t turn their superiority into goals, however, as Khadra was just off target with freekick from the edge of the box and Sam Gallagher sent an overhead kick straight into the arms of goalkeeper Joe Lumley.
Boro’s best moments in the first half came from corners but they were much brighter after the interval with Isiah Jones causing plenty of problems down the right. Jones set up Connolly for a shot that was blocked at close-range and Lewis Travis cleared Crooks’ header off the line from the resulting corner.
But after a short break for the medical emergency, the crucial goal arrived after in the 76th minute.
Boro had a chance to clear the danger but Paddy McNair’s miskick let in Gallagher and he rifled a shot past Lumley into the bottom corner.
Gallagher attempts an acrobatic effort on goal as the home side piled on the pressure