Premier League - Blackburn give Kean first win

Tue, 28 Dec 17:08:00 2010

Steve Kean tasted victory for the first time as Blackburn Rovers manager as his side beat West Bromwich Albion 3-1 at The Hawthorns.

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Nikola Kalinic sprang the offside trap before firing low into the bottom corner to put the visitors ahead in just the fourth minute, though West Brom reacted well, and Jerome Thomas grabbed an equaliser from close range on 17 minutes.

Close-range headers from Kalinic and Mame Diouf at the start of the second half put the game beyond a profligate West Brom side, before Kalinic was given his marching orders on 65 minutes for a horrendous tackle on Paul Scharner.

Gabriel Tamas was also sent off late on for a cynical challenge on substitute Benjani.

The result sees Blackburn climb to ninth, while West Brom slip to 13th in the Premier League, four points above the relegation zone.

Both sides' rather suspect defensive records had suggested goals would be an inevitability, and so it proved as Blackburn unlocked the West Brom defence with their first attack of the match.

El-Hadji Diouf released Kalinic with a superbly weighted ball in behind the Baggies defence, and with the right side of the defence nowhere to be seen, the Croat was free to bear down on Scott Carson and put his side ahead with a cool low finish.

Graham Dorrans drew a fine save from Paul Robinson moments later with a low drive across as the tireless movement of West Brom's attacking players began to cause Blackburn problems.

The home side deservedly pulled level as their attractive attacking play was finally capped with a goal. Somen Tchoyi fed an inviting low cross in from the right flank, and Thomas raced in ahead of his man at the far post to sidefoot home.

The Baggies went gamely in search of a second before the break, though Thomas passed up their best chance, curling a shot just wide of the far post after a neat exchange with James Morrison on the edge of the area.

Blackburn, who had created precious little since their early goal, went ahead on 52 minutes as Kalinic bagged his second goal of the afternoon. Ryan Nelsen headed Morten Gamst Pedersen's deep corner back across goal, and Kalinic was on hand to glance home from six yards.

Grumbles from home fans sensing another display of eye-catching football let down by poor defending and profligate finishing became audible, and their mood went from bad to worse when Diouf was left free to head home from close range after his namesake El-Hadji had taken a corner short.

Kalinic's afternoon turned sour when he put in an ugly challenge on Scharner, planting his studs into the Austrian's calf and was deservedly shown a straight red.

As a result Blackburn dropped even deeper, packing two banks of four players on the edge of the box. Unable to play their way through the crowd of bodies, West Brom resorted to raining high balls in on the Blackburn defence, a tactic which suited Nelsen and fellow centre-back Grant Hanley down to the ground.

When West Brom did get in behind the Blackburn defence via the wings their finishing touch was again found wanting, with substitute 'keeper Mark Bunn saving smartly from Simon Cox, who headed into the ground and over the bar from the rebound.

Tchoyi then saw a left-foot shot whistle past the far post, before any hopes of an unlikely West Brom comeback were extinguished with the dismissal of Tamas for a cynical late challenge on Benjani.

Michael FitzGerald / Eurosport

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