RON-DONE

Newcastle..2 Bournemouth..1 Salomon brings back mem­o­ries of Toon Army’s great­est idols

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! - By LIND­SAY SUT­TON By Ian Murtagh

BRADLEY DACK hit a late lev­eller to take his sea­son’s tally to 10 goals as a host of clubs eye up the Rovers ace.

Dack was in the right place at the right time to bun­dle home low and hard from close range to fi­nally beat Rother­ham keeper Marek Ro­dak.

The at­tack­ing mid­fielder, who is be­ing tracked by Spurs and Bournemouth, showed why he is in the frame for a top-flight move.

Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray said: “Bradley is a spe­cial player – a fab­u­lous player for us – and I’m happy that he scored. He’s just turned 24 and other teams are hav­ing to re­ally fo­cus on him.”

But he added: “Frus­tra­tion is prob­a­bly the best word to sum that game up.

“The sec­ond half was good in pos­ses­sion, chances and shots.

“We’re just dis­ap­pointed that we dropped two points. I thought we could have scored again be­cause they were try­ing to hang on but it wasn’t to be.”

Five min­utes be­fore Dack’s strike the Millers had shocked their hosts – who dom­i­nated the game for long spells – by taking the lead.

Michael Smith’s header threat­ened a smash-and-grab re­sult when he scored from Rother­ham’s only at­tempt on tar­get in the sec­ond half.

It looked a bit soft as Smith headed a well-placed Ryan Wil­liams cross back across goal and watched it trickle over the line.

Millers boss Paul Warne said: “Blackburn de­served an equaliser but it hurts. I’m not be­ing a baby about it but their goal was off­side.

“Even so, I see it as a point gained.

“It’s a dif­fi­cult place to come and for the first 20 min­utes of the sec­ond half we just couldn’t get out.”

NEWCASTLE UNITED fans know all about swash­buck­ling dis­plays from their No.9s.

And Salomon Rondon de­liv­ered in a fash­ion rem­i­nis­cent of some of his il­lus­tri­ous pre­de­ces­sors.

Rafa Ben­itez had pre­dicted 24 hours ear­lier the striker he signed on a sea­son-long loan from West Brom would soon be bang­ing in the goals.

Lit­tle could he have imag­ined the Venezue­lan would re­pay his faith in such rip-roar­ing style.

Two first-half goals by Rondon earned Newcastle back-to-back wins to cre­ate some day­light be­tween them­selves and the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

Ben­itez hailed Rondon’s dis­play which also had Ge­ordie le­gend Alan Shearer purring.

Shearer tweeted: “Yes, big man. What a per­for­mance. Loved that sec­ond goal.”

Bournemouth played a full part in a thrilling con­test but for the sec­ond week in a row they played well with­out com­ing away with any­thing.

Af­ter Jef­fer­son Lerma re­duced the deficit in the sixth minute of first-half in­jury time the

Cher­ries looked ca­pa­ble of notch­ing a third straight win on the road. And the

Toon were forced to de­fend fran­ti­cally af­ter the break.

Ex-Mag­pie Dan

Gosling had a goal ruled out, while

Jor­don Ibe missed a sit­ter late on.

But Newcastle, in­spired by Rondon, had a cutting edge which had been lack­ing in re­cent weeks.

“I am re­ally happy,” said the Toon’s new goalscor­ing hero. “We needed this and we played re­ally well. That’s how we have to keep work­ing and fight­ing and play­ing like that to stay up.”

Ben­itez will have got a real kick out of Rondon’s open­ing goal. It was the first time Newcastle had not scored at St James’ Park this sea­son from a header. And it was also the first from a player in the start­ing line-up since the open­ing day of the cam­paign. Rondon has taken his time to make an im­pact.

But his all-ac­tion per­for­mance will have brought back fond mem­o­ries of some of the Toon’s great cen­tre-for­wards of yesteryear.

His first in the sev­enth minute was a real poacher’s ef­fort round­ing off an ex­cel­lent move down the right.

Mo Di­ame fed the over­lap­ping DeAn­dre Yedlin and his pull-back was met with a sting­ing drive from Rondon which was blocked by As­mir Be­govic but the striker showed quick re­ac­tions to stab the re­bound past the off-bal­ance keeper and into the net.

The South Amer­i­can’s sec­ond was straight out of the Shearer goalscor­ing man­ual.

Ki Sung-Yueng switched play to find Kenedy and when he whipped in the cross, Rondon threw him­self at the ball to send a bul­let header into the roof of the net.

The 49,266 crowd sensed more goals and the hosts could have been out of sight be­fore half-time.

Ay­oze Perez fired wide when clean through and

Be­govic spared the blushes of team-mate

Cal­lum Wil­son who could have marked his Eng­land call-up with an em­bar­rass­ing own goal when he met Ki’s set-piece with a mis­placed header.

There were eight min­utes of first-half in­jury time fol­low­ing a lengthy stop­page when Adam Smith was stretchered off af­ter a freak in­jury when he jarred his knee at­tempt­ing to take a quick free-kick.

And it was dur­ing added-on time that Lerma threw the Cher­ries a life­line.

Martin Dubravka had matched Be­govic’s acro­bat­ics mo­ments ear­lier, tip­ping a Steve Cook header over the bar but from Ryan Fraser’s re­sult­ing cor­ner, Lerma stooped to guide the ball across goal into the far cor­ner of the net.

It breathed new life into Bournemouth but when Ibe blasted over in the 73rd minute af­ter be­ing set up by Gosling, they knew it would not be their day.

In­deed, Newcastle could have stretched their lead, only for Be­govic to deny Rondon his hat-trick and keep out an­other ef­fort from sub Chris­tian Atsu.

“We did not per­form well in the first half and gave our­selves a moun­tain to climb go­ing two goals down,” said Cher­ries boss Ed­die Howe.

“But we kept go­ing right to the end and it looked as if a goal would come but we couldn’t quite force it.” Howe fears full-back Smith is fac­ing a lengthy lay-off. “It looks se­ri­ous,” he said. “I’ve spo­ken to Adam and he thinks it’s from an ear­lier tackle which left his knee un­sta­ble. It’s meant he’s just crum­pled at the free-kick.

“We don’t think it’s his cru­ci­ate and there’s no point spec­u­lat­ing at this stage but he could be out for a long time.”

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