Rovers on Rhodes to recovery
BLACKBURN boss Gary Bowyer says star striker Jordan Rhodes is the Championship’s best finisher after their first league win of the season against Charlton.
Rhodes’ third and fourth goals this campaign either side of halftime, and substitute Tom Lawrence’s late strike on his Ewood Park debut, helped Blackburn climb out of the relegation zone.
And while Bowyer praised both of his goalscorers, he hopes Rovers can now continue to put in performances that will shoot them up the table.
“Jordan brings value and confidence to the team, because we know if we create the chances, we’ve got the best finisher in the league,” said Bowyer.
“His concentration levels, his passion for the game and scoring goals, you won’t find anybody better.
“I have to say Lawrence was outstanding when he came on. The contribution to quickly get into that and set him up for the second was brilliant and then his own finish was just out of this world. It’s one win, but it is a good feeling and hopefully now we can kick on because the level of performances have been sky high for us.”
Rhodes drew a magnificent reaction save from Nick Pope on ten minutes after the Rovers talisman latched onto Ben Marshall’s dinked ball into the box but was unable to beat the diving stopper.
Alou Diarra nearly gifted Blackburn a 16th-minute lead when his back-pass was collected by Rhodes who attempted to go around Pope, but the stopper spared his defender’s blushes and spread himself to save the goalbound effort.
The lively Tony Watt could have put Charlton ahead after turning in the box from Jordan Cousins’ pass, but Grant Hanley blocked the attempt which trickled through to Jason Steele.
But Rhodes got his reward on the stroke of half-time when Hanley met Craig Conway’s right-wing corner and the Rovers striker helped the header into the net with a slight touch.
After the break, Watt drove at the Blackburn rearguard and slipped in Zakarya Bergdich who lifted a 55th-minute effort over the onrushing Steele but Hanley was on hand to clear.
Conway almost turned provider for Rhodes with a dangerous leftwing cross which the centre forward only just missed with Pope’s goal gaping.
Rovers substitute Lawrence made an instant impact when his 75th-minute burst of pace took him past both Ahmed Kashi and Morgan Fox and squared for Rhodes who slotted in his second.
Blackburn should have wrapped it up on 83 minutes when a counter-attack, led by Corry Evans and Conway, ended with Marshall being denied by a magnificent Pope stop.
But he was powerless to prevent Blackburn’s third when Lawrence drove past Kashi and rifled an 85th-minute shot into the roof of the net to seal the win.
“We need to continue to believe and continue to play positive football – it’s the only way,” said Charlton boss Guy Luzon.
“We don’t have any excuses.We have good players.
“I’m really satisfied for the players that I have in the squad. I think they have the quality to bring us points and to win games in this division and we will show it.
“I thought that our attitude was good.
“We need to continue with the tempo and we showed in the first half that’s the only way to success.”
THREE ‘N EASY: Tom Lawrence wraps up the victory for Blackburn Rovers with his side’s third goal