GALLERY & MATCH REPORT: Blackburn Rovers 2 Ipswich Town 0

Cole Skuse ducks low to flick on a corner during the first half against Blackburn

Cole Skuse ducks low to flick on a corner during the first half against Blackburn - Credit: Archant

Blackburn v Ipswich: Second half goals from Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede condemned Ipswich Town to a 2-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers.

Both teams showed attacking intent in an open and even opening hour before Rhodes – who had been quiet all game – latched on to Gestede’s superbly cushioned touch before firing a clinical low shot into the bottom right corner.

The silent assassin had struck again. It was the former Blues striker’s 50th league goal for Rovers and made it three in three against the club he came through the academy at and grew up supporting.

That opener knocked the stuffing out of Mick McCarthy’s men and Blackburn sealed the win with 10 minutes remaining, Gestede heading home Craig Conway’s corner inside a crowded six-yard box. It was the least the French target man deserved after an outstanding display.

Defeat sees Ipswich drop a place to ninth in the Championship table, the gap to sixth-place Reading widening to five points.

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Town had started the match brightly and very quickly it became apparent that Jonny Williams – whose loan from Crystal Palace was extended on Monday – would be their key man once again. The Welsh international breezed past right-back Michael Keane early on, his cut-back fired over by Daryl Murphy.

Blackburn – who were getting the ball out to wingers Conway and Tom Cairney at every opportunity – were posing a threat too though and it required an important interception from Tommy Smith to cut out Conway’s dangerous cross after Christophe Berra had slipped on the ball high up the pitch.

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It was another mistake, Frank Nouble running into traffic when he had options either side, which led to Blackburn’s next opening. Corry Evans’ cross from the right deflecting off Smith and into the near side-netting.

Williams was popping up everywhere and demanding the ball in tight areas. And, after he took a short throw and received the ball back, it was his cross from the left which led to Murphy powering a header narrowly over the bar as the half an hour mark approached.

Blackburn finished an open half the stronger though. The pressure began to build after Cairney’s curling effort from the edge of the box was held by Gerken, Gestede’s rasping long-range attempt fizzing over the bar moments later.

It then required a smart stop from Gerken to keep the scores level in the 37th minute, the Blues keeper getting down low to his left to turn Gestede’s header around the post after the French target man had leapt highest to help on Conway’s deep free-kick delivery.

Ipswich went straight up the other end and had a chance of their own after Anthony Wordsworth put Murphy away on the counter-attack. The latter’s low cross was met by Aaron Cresswell, but the left-back’s shot was well blocked by Matt Kilgallon and Williams’ follow-up attempt was well held by alert keeper Paul Robinson.

Rovers then had strong penalty shouts waved away as the half came towards a close. Gestede went down under the combined pressure of Smith and Christophe Berra as a long ball floated into the box, the trio all looking back over their shoulders. Smith’s arm certainly brushed the striker, but the referee deemed there was no intent.

It was a scrappy start to the second half, but Ipswich gradually began to create some chances. First, Williams turned on the after burners to race away on the counter-attack before dinking an effort wide, then Nouble’s clubbed effort from the edge of the box was beaten away by Robinson.

Blackburn responded as Gestede won yet another aerial ball, with Conway lashing the ball narrowly over the bar on the angle. The game was on a knife’s edge and the opener was always going to be crucial.

It came the home side’s way and it was no surprise who the scorer was. Rhodes had barely been noticeable all game, but he once again showed the predatory instincts which will forever make him ‘the one that got away’ at Portman Road. After Gestede had beautifully cushioned Grant Hanley’s long ball into Rhodes’ path, the former Kesgrave High School pupil took the ball forward before guiding a low shot beyond the despairing dive of Gerken.

Gestede missed a gilt-edged chance when firing over from close-range after Rhodes had acrobatically helped on Tommy Spurr’s cross.

The Frenchman was not be denied a goal though, heading home Conway’s corner from inside a crowded six-yard box in the 80th minute to seal the home side’s victory.

– Reaction to follow.

BLACKBURN ROVERS (4-4-2): Robinson; Keane, Hanley (cpt), Kilgallon, Spurr; Cairney Evans (Varney 78), Williamson (Etuhu 90+), Conway; Gestede (Dunn 83), Rhodes.

Subs: Eastwood, King, Taylor, Feeney.

Booked: Jilgallon (56), Williamson (63)

IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-1-1): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Wordsworth (Ebanks-Blake 73), Skuse, Hyam (Green 90), Nouble; Williams (Hunt 86); Murphy.

Subs: Loach, Mings, Richardson, Tabb.

Booked: Wordsworth (37), Chambers (51)

Attendance: 13,281 (635 away)

Referee: Keith Stroud

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