Premier League - Newcastle beat Rovers to go fifth
Newcastle United moved up to fifth in the Premier League table with a 2-0 win over Blackburn at Ewood Park which leaves Rovers in the relegation zone.
The Magpies took a 12th-minute lead when Ryan Taylor's strike was deflected in off Scott Dann's boot, but Rovers had plenty of chances to at least pull level by half-time, not least from the penalty spot where David Dunn's effort was saved by Tim Krul.
Despite Rovers having more than 20 shots on goal throughout the match, Alan Pardew's side held on and doubled their lead in second-half stoppage time through substitute Gabriel Obertan. In doing so, they earned three points which see them leapfrog Arsenal and Liverpool to go three points behind Chelsea.
A 13th league defeat of the season leaves Blackburn in the bottom three, two points from safety after Bolton Wanderers held Arsenal to a goalless draw.
Newcastle arrived at Ewood Park having already beaten Rovers in both the league and the FA Cup at St James' Park this season, although they were eliminated from the Carling Cup at the Lancashire ground.
The visitors had the better of the possession in the first 10 minutes, although a tame header wide from Shola Ameobi was the closest they came to creating a chance.
So they could count themselves fortunate to be ahead with less than a quarter of an hour played. A Newcastle attack was sparked after a misplaced pass from Radosav Petrovic and the ball was eventually worked across to Taylor. The full-back let off a shot from 20 yards that appeared to be going off target before Dann's outstretched foot guided it past the helpless Paul Robinson.
Dann has now scored three own goals in the Premier League, the same number as times he has scored at the right end in the competition.
That goal may have meant Blackburn are still looking for their first league clean sheet of the season - after 23 games a Premier League record - but they have not been lacking in attacking intent and they were almost level within minutes of going behind. From a corner Gael Givet's header was blocked en route to goal by Danny Simpson and the Frenchman prodded the rebound wide.
With top scorer Yakubu Aiyegbeni still suspended, Rovers manager Steve Kean gave a full debut to newly-acquired French striker Anthony Modeste. The 23-year-old, on loan from Bordeaux, showed he was willing to work hard for his new club from the start, and he had something of a running duel with Davide Santon throughout. Modeste almost marked his first start in England with a goal, but the ever-reliable Fabricio Coloccini slid in at the last moment to block the shot after the striker was played in by Dunn.
Not long afterwards Leon Best headed a Blackburn corner off his own bar, and it looked as though Rovers were destined to equalise. That fate looked sure to be sealed on 43 minutes when Modeste was bundled over by Danny Simpson in the area. Referee Phil Dowd pointed to the spot and Modeste wanted to take the spot-kick, only for Dunn to pull rank and place it on the spot himself. Krul guessed correctly and saved Dunn's penalty, with Givet and Morten Gamst Pedersen getting in each other's way on the follow-up.
However, it was still Rovers creating all the best chances with Modeste in particular looking the most like scoring. On one occasion the Frenchman beat the offside trap and lobbed over the onrushing Krul, but his effort had neither the accuracy nor pace needed to beat the retreating defenders. Another ball over the top sat up nicely for him to strike on his left foot, but he skewed the half-volley across goal.
The 78th-minute introduction of Ruben Rochina almost yielded results when Martin Olsson's deflected shot trickled through to the Spaniard, but he could only find the side-netting with his shot.
Givet then had another effort from a corner blocked - by Perch this time- before Modeste sent the otherwise faultless Coloccini on to his backside with a neat flick, only to fire his strike right at Krul.
Blackburn hearts were broken in injury time when, after the home side committed too many men forward, two substitutes conspired to hit them on the break. Peter Lovenkrands slipped a weighted pass through for Obertan to chase and the former Manchester United forward struck a cool finish across Robinson for his first goal in Newcastle colours.