Pedersen sets up Rovers win
By Richard Jolly
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Morten Gamst Pedersen scored as Blackburn beat Southampton 3-0.Blackburn received the ideal tonic before next week's FA Cup semi-final by all but ensuring their Premiership status for another season with a 3-0 victory over Southampton.
But Harry Redknapp's side are in a more perilous position after strikes from Morten Gamst Pedersen and Steven Reid bookended an Andreas Jakobsson own goal.
Rovers are now nine points clear of the relegation zone; their visitors are separated from the bottom three by goal difference alone.
And after a revival under Redknapp, Southampton showed why they have not shed the unwanted prefix 'struggling'. Back-to-back defeats have left them with just six games to extend a proud record of 27 consecutive seasons of top-flight football.
Yet this should have been an opportunity for a rare away win. Only Norwich have a worse home record than Blackburn; only Norwich fare worse than Southampton on their travels. Something had to give, and the Southampton defence were in especially generous mood.
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In the 11th minute, Aaron Mokoena's pinpoint diagonal pass exposed Rory Delap's positioning. With his first touch, Pedersen cushioned the ball; with his second, he rifled his shot between Paul Smith's legs for a seventh goal of the season.
The hapless Delap's attempts to make amends resulted in further embarrassment. After skilfully eluding two defenders, he dribbled the ball off the field of play while his team-mates awaited a cross.
Delap was coming off second best in his duel with the excellent Pedersen, but the next Southampton defender to err was Jakobsson, turning Reid's cross past a wrongfooted Smith.
Southampton's susceptibility at corners was evident before the interval when Paul Dickov won a header that Smith tipped over the bar. In the complete confusion that followed Nigel Quashie's lame attempt to deal with another vicious inswinger from Pedersen, Reid was rewarded with Rovers' third goal.
Redknapp had gambled on playing three strikers in the second half with the introduction of Kevin Phillips, but it left Southampton shapeless and even more exposed. Order was not restored until the anonymous Henri Camara made way for Anders Svensson.
By then, Brett Emerton and Pedersen could have given The Premiership's lowest scorers a fourth goal. In Blackburn's 4-5-1, so often seen as defensive, a trio of midfielders surged forward to devastating effect.
Instead, Southampton belatedly rallied with Phillips and Quashie finally registering shots on target. But any comeback would have been undeserved as well implausible.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Name||Southampton|
|7||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||3|
|7||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||6|
|20||Total Fouls Conceded||16|