Match Report | Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Cardiff City
Bradley Dack's deflected strike earned Blackburn Rovers a win over City on January 1st, 2023.
Mark Hudson made four changes to his team for the first fixture of 2023. Jack Simpson, Tom Sang, Gavin Whyte and Callum Robinson came into the starting XI.
The hosts started strongly at Ewood Park, looking to trouble the Bluebirds defence. Sam Gallagher tried his luck from distance, aiming to capitalise on a short back pass, but goalkeeper Ryan Allsop was equal to the effort. Chile international Ben Brereton Díaz found the net after eight minutes, but he was correctly ruled offside.
City grew into the game and their first chance came after 14 minutes. Joe Ralls' deep free-kick was volleyed by Mark Harris, but the ball drifted over the crossbar. A dangerous breakaway almost paid off for the Bluebirds three minutes later. Harris did superbly to find Whyte on the overlap, but a last second challenge by Rovers midfielder Jake Garrett stopped the winger from pulling the trigger at close range.
It was an end-to-end first half, with both sides trying to battle their way into the lead. The always dangerous Robinson tried his luck from 18-yards on 37 minutes, but Thomas Kaminski tipped away the low left-footed strike.
City went closest to scoring just before the half-time whistle, with Robinson and Harris working well together. It was the same combination that found the winner against Rovers at CCS earlier this season. Robbo again found his strike partner in space, and the Welsh international took aim from 25-yards. Sadly, this time around, Harris’ powerful effort ended up just the wrong side of the post.
The Bluebirds fell behind early in the second half in unfortunate circumstances. Bradley Dack hit Brereton Díaz’s cutback from the edge of the box, with the effort taking a cruel deflection off Simpson and into the far corner of the net.
It arguably should’ve been two-nil after 57 minutes, if not for a big let-off. Gallagher with a free header in the box, but he diverted the ball off target.
Hudson responded to going behind and this chance with a triple change: Rubin Colwill, Sheyi Ojo and Andy Rinomhota replacing Joe Ralls, Simpson and Whyte, going to a more attacking approach.
It was the hosts that again went close after this though. Brereton Díaz ran in one-on-one with Allsop. The City shot stopper denied the dangerous forward, pushing clear.
City’s subs, including Isaak Davies, who was introduced after 66 minutes, fought to find a leveller against their strong hosts. Harris linked up with Welsh teammate Colwill, getting a snapshot away on 72 minutes, that Kaminski held. A late chance fell the way of the Bluebirds. Colwill’s corner kick found Perry Ng at the back post following a deflection. Unfortunately for City, our number 38 couldn’t connect properly with his effort, with Rovers clearing their lines.
Goalkeeper Allsop came up for a corner deep into the five minutes of added time. Callum O’Dowda managed to meet the set piece, but Kaminski held onto the ball. City unable to find a late leveller to take anything from their opening 2023 fixture.
FINAL SCORE: BLACKBURN ROVERS 1–0 CARDIFF CITY
Blackburn Rovers: Kaminski, Rankin-Costello (S. Wharton 53’), Ayala, Hyam, Pickering (Travis 78’), Morton (A. Wharton 88’), Garrett (Edun 78’), Hedges, Dack, Brereton Díaz, Gallagher. Subs Not Used: Pears, Markanday, Vale.
Cardiff City: Allsop, Sang, Kipré, Ng, Simpson (Rinomhota 59’), O'Dowda, Wintle, Ralls (Ojo 59’), Whyte (R. Colwill 59’), Robinson (Davies 66’), Harris (Philogene 78’). Subs Not Used: Luthra, Nelson.