Rovers blown away by Gayle
Blackburn were blown away by a first-half Dwight Gayle hat-trick
as they lost 3-2 to Peterborough at Ewood Park on Saturday.
Posh withstood a second-half fightback from Rovers to climb off
the bottom of the Championship table. They are now 22nd, a point
behind fourth-bottom Barnsley, while a fifth league game without
victory leaves Blackburn 10 points shy of the top six with their
play-off hopes in tatters.
Posh should gone ahead in the third minute when Lee Tomlin and
Gayle combined to present Danny Swanson with a glorious opportunity
that he blazed over.
As usual, Rovers’ main attacking threat came from Jordan Rhodes,
who had a shot blocked by Gabriel Zakuani and headed over from
David Bentley’s measured cross before Peterborough took an
Jake Kean produced a fine double save to thwart Swanson but
Gayle was on hand to blast into the roof of the net.
Michael Appleton’s men almost found an instant response but Posh
goalkeeper Robert Olejnik bravely denied DJ Campbell, and Gayle
ensured he was handsomely rewarded.
Nathan Mendez-Laing comprehensively beat Rovers defender Scott
Dann before his cross to the far post was misjudged by Karim Rekik,
the on-loan Manchester City youngster getting underneath the ball
and allowing Gayle to head home back across Kean.
A porous midfield was at the root of Blackburn’s problem and
Appleton brought Bentley inside into an advanced central role,
deploying Campbell on the right flank. Moments after the reshuffle,
however, it was 3-0.
Once again Mendez-Laing was the catalyst as he danced through a
home defence offering generous helpings of time and space. He cut
back for Tomlin to shoot and Kean produced another save in vain,
Gayle coolly lifting the rebound over him to claim the
Rhodes uncharacteristically spurned an opportunity to hand
Blackburn a lifeline, blazing from 12 yards after Olejnik kept out
a Dann header, but it was almost 4-0 at the interval as Swanson
drove inches wide from distance with Kean beaten.
In the second half, Blackburn enjoyed longer periods of
possession but clear-cut chances were not forthcoming, while Rekik
produced a magnificent last-ditch tackle to deny Mendez-Laing on
the counter attack.
With 17 minutes to play, Rhodes reduced the arrears in assured
fashion – steeling in behind the Peterborough defence and
nutmegging Michael Bostwick to earn the space for a crisp
Jason Lowe had the chance to set up a grandstand finish with his
first senior goal but the Rovers midfielder flashed his snapshot
New loan signing David Jones belatedly did just that in the
second minute of stoppage time, capping a fine individual display
by curling beyond Olejnik from 20 yards, but too much damage had