FULL TIME: Blackburn Rovers 4 Wanderers 1
WANDERERS slumped to an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at the hands of local rivals Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park to leave the club rock bottom of the Championship heading into the international break.
Jordan Rhodes scored twice for Rovers with David Dunn and Corry Evans piling further misery on Whites boss Dougie Freedman, whose side have now lost four consecutive games in league and cup.
Blackburn started brightly but it was David Ngog who would flash the first shot in on goal, dragging a low effort straight at Jake Kean from the edge of the box 10 minutes in.
Ngog then teed Jermaine Beckford up for an even better chance but the Whites striker again found Kean in his way.
The first glimpse of Jordan Rhodes we got came after 20 minutes when he got a glancing header on Josh King’s cross that drifted harmlessly wide.
The same pair combined a few moments later – only this time the Scot was rather surprised that the ball evaded his marker David Wheater, and his rushed effort dribbled into the arms of Adam Bogdan.
Wanderers were conceding possession with alarming regularity even before Blackburn eventually seized ahead – but it was Darren Pratley who proved the guilty party for the opening goal on 26 minutes with a loose ball in his own half. King galloped into space and produced a fine pass for Dunn, who skipped past three would-be tackles before placing his shot past Bogdan.
Just 60 seconds later, and Dunn found space on the right to pick a pass for Rhodes, who evaded Knight’s weak challenge to rifle home into the bottom corner.
It threatened to get even worse. Baptiste’s slack defending on the left allowed Todd Kane and Dunn to combined for new signing Ben Marshall to strike at goal – his effort bouncing off the inside of the post and thankfully just out of Rhodes’s reach.
And just before the break, Wanderers were again too stand-offish on the edge of their own box allowing Rhodes to blast a left-footed effort that was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Bogdan.
It looked like being a severe dressing down for the players as they went in for the break but out of nowhere Alex Baptiste halved the deficit with his first goal for the club.
Chung-Yong had done well on the left to keep the pressure on after a corner and a slick pass from Spearing found the makeshift left-back unmarked and able to crash a shot into the top corner past Kean.
Wanderers fans were praying their side could not possibly be that poor again over the course of 45 minutes. And fears were allayed somewhat by an encouraging start.
Baptiste and Beckford went close before Ngog sprung into life with a 60-yard break down the right channel, which ended in Todd Kane hacking his shot off his own line.
Spearing also went close with a deflected effort, created well by the jinking run of Chung-Yong.
Chris Eagles and Andre Moritz were thrown on for Ngog and Pratley to up the attacking ante but their introduction perversely seemed to slow things down.
Blackburn restored their two-goal lead with 20 minutes to go. Wanderers looked to have done the hard work after King’s header back across goal was hooked clear by Knight to the edge of the box but sub Corry Evans raced in to connect with a sweet volley that took a nick off Spearing on its way into the net.
Completely stunned, Freedman’s side lost any of their previous swagger and looked more likely to concede a fourth than get themselves back into the contest from there.
It was former Manchester United man King who was leading the onslaught, leading Tyrone Mears a merry dance on Blackburn’s left.
He twice came within a couple of inches of scoring after raiding deep into Wanderers’ territory. But as it happened, Rovers fans only had to wait another 60 seconds for a fourth goal to arrive.
David Wheater conceded possession cheaply on the left, allowing Kane to surge to the byline and cut a cross back for Rhodes to tap in his second of the afternoon.
Many of the 3,000-strong travelling contingent were already halfway back down the A666 by the time the full time whistle sounded – but those who stayed behind were unanimous in their condemnation for one of the poorest derby performances in recent memory.