BOWYER BEAMS AT ‘BEST’ DISPLAY
Rhodes hits two against old club
BLACKBURN boss Gary Bowyer lauded the performance in the victory over Ipswich as the most complete during his tenure in the Ewood Park hot-seat.
A two-goal salvo in less than five minutes from ex-Ipswich striker Jordan Rhodes sunk his former side as Blackburn extended their unbeaten run to four games.
And Bowyer believes that his side have the best striker in the division in Rhodes, now the league’s joint top scorer, to apply the finishing touch to their attacking play.
“I think it’s probably the most complete performance since I’ve been in charge,” said Bowyer. “I thought we came of the traps ever so well, scored two goals very quickly and then continued to play some excellent stuff.
“I think what you saw was a team that was out there playing and had each other’s backs and that went all the way through.
“Let’s not kid ourselves, Ipswich are going to be right up there this season, especially with the options Mick’s (McCarthy) got and at one point he had all of them on.
“The team’s playing ever so well, creating a lot of chances and there’s nobody better in this division to get on the end of it.”
Hope Akpan went down under Larsen Toure’s challenge after driving into the box and referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot, with Rovers talisman Rhodes stepping up to coolly slot home the resulting 12th-minute penalty.
The former Ipswich man came back to haunt his old side again four minutes later when he rose above Luke Chambers to expertly head Craig Conway’s corner into the top corner past a helpless Dean Gerken.
Rovers thought they had notched a third on 23 minutes when Rhodes slipped in an onrushing Markus Olsson who lofted a smart finish over Gerken, only for assistant Andrew Fox to flag offside.
Ipswich hotshot Daryl Murphy rifled a 44th-minute right-footed drive towards goal to draw Jason Steele into a low diving save to maintain Blackburn’s two-goal lead.
Rhodes was denied his hat-trick by a lick of paint on 61 minutes after Corry Evans robbed Jonathan Douglas to feed in the marksman, but his shot rattled the post.
Rovers were reminded of Ipswich’s attack when Freddie Sears drifted past Adam Henley into a crowded box and drilled a low 64th-minute effort which was cleared by Steele.
Brett Pitman’s 68th-minute corner was eventually cleared to Chambers who unleashed a fierce 35-yard strike and forced Steele into a sublime diving save to tip the effort around the post.
Full-back Henley could have added a third for Blackburn after getting in behind the Ipswich defence but drilled his effort straight at an onrushing Gerken.
Gerken denied Rhodes his third once more with a magnificent fingertip save after the marksman met Conway’s whipped 81st- minute free-kick with a thundering goalbound header.
And Tractor Boys boss Mick McCarthy paid tribute to hot-shot Rhodes whose goals ended Ipswich’s three-game unbeaten league run.
“It’s become a bit of a bad habit of ours giving teams, a goal start, two goal start and it’s got to stop,” he said.
“I’ll be at pains to try and put that right this week.
“He messed us around, he bumped us, he nudged us, he blocked things.
“I don’t forget his goals because his goals have won the game, but his all round performance I thought was outstanding.”
ON THE NOD: Jordan Rhodes heads home his second