Blackburn thrash sorry Blues
Blackburn made their way into the fourth round of the Carling Cup thanks to an easy 3-0 victory over a lacklustre Birmingham side.
By Robin Hackett
Last Updated: 27/09/07 10:15am
Blackburn Rovers made their way into the fourth round of the Carling Cup thanks to an easy 3-0 victory over a lacklustre Birmingham side at Ewood Park.
A brilliant David Bentley strike followed by a Matt Derbyshire penalty and a late header from Roque Santa Cruz were enough to see off Steve Bruce's men, who showed no ambition throughout.
But Rovers did make hard work of it, spurning a series of gilt-edged chances before Bentley made the breakthrough in the 66th minute.
Rovers started brightly, with a David Bentley free-kick after two minutes curled around the wall but just wide of Richard Kingson's goal. Three minutes later, Birmingham had to clear off the line following Bentley's corner.
A minute or so after that, Jason Roberts directed the ball towards goal from close range and Kingson did brilliantly to get it away. After 14 minutes, Matt Derbyshire got the ball across the face of goal and beyond Kingson, but the defence again managed to prevent a goal. Clearly, Birmingham were there for the taking.
Blackburn continued to press for a while, but gradually the chances decreased and, after around half an hour, the sides were stuck in a fairly listless stalemate in front a small, quiet crowd.
The game was held up when, after around 40 minutes, Kingson needed extensive medical attention after colliding with the post while making a save. At one stage, he managed to stand, but collapsed again and, after several minutes, was stretchered off the pitch to be replaced by Colin Doyle.
Early in the second half, Roberts was played straight through the middle by David Dunn only to fire hopelessly wide of the post with just the keeper to beat. He did himself some damage, too, and had to hobble off injured, replaced by Roque Santa Cruz.
In the 59th minute, Blackburn had another fine chance to take the lead when Doyle spilled a long-range shot from Christopher Samba at the feet of Matt Derbyshire who, from close range, made another fine mess of it by hitting the bar.
Bentley strikeBut, just when it looked as though Birmingham would ride their luck through to extra time, David Bentley stepped up on 66 minutes, taking the ball from outside the area and striking it sublimely into the corner of Doyle's goal from distance.
In the aftermath, Birmingham began to show slight signs of ambition for the first time in the match, but their attacks were still generally half-hearted, lacking the numbers and the effort to really test the home defence.
Completing the routIn fact, it was Blackburn who looked the more likely to add to their tally and, when Matt Derbyshire was blocked off by substitute Rafael Schmitz in the area in the 82nd minute, he was given the chance to make it 2-0 and made absolutely no mistake.
Rovers continued to press, and Roque Santa Cruz headed a deflected cross home in added time to round things off.