The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Scott Hunt

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.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

FLY­ING START: Black­burn Rovers’ Jor­dan Rhodes cel­e­brates scor­ing their sec­ond goal, a penalty, inset

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