Football: Blackburn Rovers 2 - 0 Rochdale
Date published: 26 December 2017
Josh Lillis gave away a penalty from which Blackburn scored
Two individual errors cost Rochdale as they went down to defeat at promotion chasing Blackburn Rovers.
Bradley Dack scored home the opening goal ten minutes before half time after Joe Bunney’s poor throw gifted possession back to Blackburn.
Seven minutes later Josh Lillis conceded an unnecessary penalty. Elliott Bennett dispossessed the Dale keeper and in his attempts to gather the loose ball, brought down the winger inside the box.
Illness and injury meant Dale manager Keith Hill was forced into three changes with Kgosi Ntlhe, Keith Keane and Bradden Inman given starts.
In front of the biggest crowd of the season at Ewood Park, Dale held their own for the first thirty minutes but rarely troubled David Raya in the Rovers goal.
The opening goal came after Joe Bunney’s poor throw gifted the ball back to Blackburn who broke away swiftly with Marcus Antonsson linking up well with Dack, who poked the ball under Lillis with their first real attack of the game.
One soon became two when another individual error cost Dale dear. Ntlhe’s back pass was not causing a great deal of problems until Bennett chased down the Dale keeper, and as he tried to redeem himself he hauled Bennet down. Referee Michael Salisbury had little choice but to point to the penalty spot. Rovers captain Charlie Mulgrew smashed home from 12 yards despite Lillis guessing the correct way.
Rochdale responded well and finished the half strongly.
Ian Henderson headed over when he should have done better.
Callum Camps dragged a shot wide just before the half time whistle.
The closest Dale came to beating Raya came ten minutes into the second half. Good work from Jordan Williams to dispossess Evans in the centre circle set Dale away with Henderson racing in on goal, but his angled drive was tipped around the post by Raya.
Hill made a triple substitution as he tried to change the fortunes of his side but despite rallying for the last thirty minutes, Rochdale never really troubled Blackburn.
It is a result that sees Dale four points from safety with a trip to Doncaster on Friday up next.
Blackburn: Raya, Nyambe, Downing, Mulgrew (c), Williams, Smallwood, Evans (Tomlinson 60), Bennett, Antonsson (Conway 60), Dack, Graham (Nuttall 68)
Subs: (not used) Leutwiler, Whittingham, Ward, Caddis
Rochdale: Lillis, McGahey, Daniels, Keane (Davies 63), Ntlhe, Bunney, Camps, Rathbone, Henderson (c), Inman (Done 63), Williams (Thompson 63)
Subs: (not used) Moore, Kitching, Adshead, Cannon
Referee: Mr M Salisbury
Assistants: Mr B Cropp and Mr P Gooch
Fourth Official: Mr J Hull