Blackburn 2-1 Nottingham Forest: Sam Gallagher at the double
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 18/10/16 11:01pm
Sam Gallagher's first-half brace hauled Blackburn out of the Championship's bottom three as Nottingham Forest's travelling troubles continued.
Philippe Montanier's side remain without a victory on the road in the league this term and Rovers coasted to a 2-1 success with on-loan Southampton striker Gallagher taking his tally to five goals.
His cool finish in the driving rain 11 minutes in was followed up by a tap-in laid on by Corry Evans to earn Blackburn just their second home success, enough to lift them above Wigan and Cardiff.
Damien Perquis pulled one back late on for a Forest side who ended with 10 men when Hildeberto Pereira picked up a second caution in stoppage time.
A difficult start to the season at Ewood Park has frustrated a fanbase with gripes over both the ownership and their choice of manager, Owen Coyle. However, there was little sign that such concerns were transferring themselves onto the pitch as Rovers' first attacking move ended with a reward.
It featured excellent link-up play - Jason Lowe into Marvin Emnes and back to Ben Marshall, whose flicked pass set Gallagher free. And though the striker's touch appeared heavy, Vladimir Stojkovic did little to impose himself when coming out to meet the shot as Gallagher shuffled it past him and into the net.
That strike enhanced Gallagher's confidence and he drove at Forest's defence again with a solo run that ended in him bending a left-footed try wide of the post.
With their visitors unable to muster anything to test Jason Steele, Blackburn doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time. Danny Guthrie's precise pass was collected by Evans in the box and, rather than going for goal, he selflessly squared for Gallagher to roll home his second of the evening.
A third goal would have killed off any hope for Forest and Blackburn thought they should have been awarded a penalty when Perquis seemed to push Tommie Hoban in the back from a corner. Referee Tim Robinson refuted their claim and was unmoved when the same Forest player tried to nick the ball away from Gallagher in the box shortly afterwards.
With the need for a goal evident, Montanier introduced the fit-again Britt Assombalonga from the bench with 16 minutes remaining. They had a great chance to reduce the deficit when another substitute Nicolao Dumitru was released by Vellios but he woefully steered wide.
Perquis did grab a consolation for Forest by stabbing in after Steele flapped from a long throw, but the visitors could not claim an equaliser, even when Stojkovic came up for a late free-kick.
That meant the keeper was stranded as Conway led a counter-attack and he was hacked down by Periera just after halfway to earn him a second yellow card.
Blackburn boss Owen Coyle:
"I've been an admirer of Gallagher for years. We had to work hard to get him here. He had the loan spell (at MK Dons) last year but it didn't go well for him because it came on the back of the bad injury he had.
"I felt we could impart some knowledge, experience that we've picked up. I've had some very good strikers that have come to me, we managed to help Daniel (Sturridge), Benik Afobe, (Marc) Albrighton for a spell, very good attacking players. I said to Sam I felt he was in that mould of those players that can continue to develop.
Nottingham Forest boss Philippe Montanier:
"We started very badly in the first half. For me we lost the game in the first half. I don't know why, what's happened. We prepared very well and after Birmingham (3-1 win on Friday night) we had confidence. But it's a handicap for us if you play only 45 minutes of the 90.
"The second half was better and we are closer to a goal at the end, but it's not sufficient to play only one half."