Rhodes hits two against old club

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John McDougall

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

ON THE NOD: Jor­dan Rhodes heads home his sec­ond

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