LAMBERT’S LOVING LIFE AT ROVERS
NEW Blackburn boss Paul Lambert says he will no longer accept mediocrity at the club after winning his first match in charge with a derby victory over Preston.
Joe Garner gave Preston hope by pulling one back, but a Jordan Pickford own goal and a Jordan Rhodes penalty earned Blackburn victory in the local rivals’ first competitive meeting since 2001.
The result ends a run of six unbeaten games for Preston, who finished the match with ten men after Bailey Wright saw red, and means Blackburn have now gone four games without defeat.
Lambert praised his players and believes there are reasons to be optimistic at Ewood Park.
“Mediocre has probably been accepted at the football club and I always think that if you accept mediocrity you’re going to get it,” Lambert said.
“The signs are good but it is early doors. The fans deserved the players to turn in a work ethic and a performance and a desire to win a game.
“The game is all about the people who come and watch. The fans were excellent and they’re a credit to the football club.
“The atmosphere was great in the stadium and we scored two goals against a team that hasn’t conceded in six games.
“After nine months out, for the first time in 40 years I was enjoying my life. Now you’re back in the hot-seat, the high and lows – but it’s great to be back.”
Preston’s first opening came on 10 minutes when Paul Gallagher fired an effort from 18 yards which was held by Jason Steele low to his left at the second attempt.
But Lambert’s side took the lead after 30 minutes. Corry Evans’ shot from 20 yards came back off the post before Paul Huntington cleared Duffy’s strike off the line, only for it to strike keeper Pickford and dribble into the net – meaning Preston had conceded their first goal in 570 minutes of football.
And Blackburn took a huge step towards victory after 52 minutes when Chris Taylor was brought down by Huntington in the area and referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Rhodes slotted the ball home to make it 2-0.
Garner missed a great chance to pull one back after 56 minutes, slicing Adam Reach’s cross wide when unmarked from eight yards.
But Garner did notch his first Championship goal of the season after 67 minutes, picking up a loose ball and driving low into the corner from 15 yards to drag Preston back into the game. The hosts piled on the pressure and Grant Hanley was forced into a superb defensive header to clear Gallagher’s free kick after 83 minutes to maintain Blackburn’s lead.
And in added time Wright picked up a second yellow card for pulling down Bengali-Fode Koita.
Preston manager Simon Grayson said: “I think we deserved something – when you look back over the course of the game probably the least we deserved was a point.
“We felt we had to up the tempo second half and we responded really well. We had Blackburn camped in their own half for much of the game and we just needed a little bit of extra quality that we just didn’t have. Garner’s goal lifted us, the place got rocking, we were on the front foot but ultimately we couldn’t find that equaliser which we deserved.
“It was a typical derby match, a lot of tackles and things bobbling around.
“We had a go, we kept on going and on another day we could have got something out of the game which we deserved.”
FLYING START: Blackburn Rovers’ Jordan Rhodes celebrates scoring their second goal, a penalty, inset