Blackburn 2-0 Millwall: Rovers cruise to victory
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at Ewood Park
Last Updated: 14/09/19 6:33pm
Blackburn scored their first goals from open play at home this season as they overcame Millwall 2-0 in the Sky Bet Championship.
The hosts have found goals hard to come by so far at Ewood Park but they put those worries to rest with an encouraging performance which saw them take the lead through a Derrick Williams piledriver in the first half - his second of the season.
Tony Mowbray's team had to weather some periods of dominance from their competitive visitors, but the better chances fell to Blackburn, who were denied a bigger margin of victory by the outstanding Bartosz Bialkowski.
But Bradley Dack's tap-in late on ensured three points for Rovers who leapfrog their opponents in the league after stretching their unbeaten run against the Lions to eight.
Millwall's away form is a concern, stretching to eight without a victory - the last of which came in March.
Mowbray handed John Buckley his first league start for Rovers, while Millwall's Neil Harris did likewise for Jayson Molumby and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.
Both sides exchanged early long-range shots with no success but the hosts made the breakthrough in stunning fashion in the 18th minute through an unlikely source as the ball was played to the edge of the area by Greg Cunningham and Williams charged onto it before hammering an unstoppable strike into the right-hand corner.
The Lions responded positively to that setback, with Mahlon Romeo forcing Christian Walton into a smart save, and Connor Mahoney's inviting corner evading everybody.
But Rovers had the chance to stretch their lead when lovely footwork by Dack allowed him to slip the ball to Elliott Bennett but the Blackburn captain dragged his effort disappointingly wide.
Millwall were indebted to Bialkowski early in the second half after he made two magnificent saves to keep his side in the contest.
First, he tipped away Stewart Downing's 25-yard drive, before producing an even better save to thwart Adam Armstrong, repelling his close-range effort after the striker had bundled through to a one-on-one.
Ryan Leonard had the hosts concerned 18 minutes from time when the ball was played to him 20 yards out but he could not quite keep his effort down.
And Rovers made sure of the points in the 74th minute, ending a period of concerted pressure with a fine low ball across the face of the goal from Darragh Lenihan and Dack was on hand to tap in his third of the season at the back post.
Bialkowski made another terrific save 12 minutes from time as Rovers broke at pace and Joe Rothwell's precise shot seemed destined for the bottom corner, only for the on-loan goalkeeper's outstretched arm to deny him.
Tony Mowbray: "This team, they have a competitive edge about them. Every single day, they finish training with a shooting drill. One of the players delivers from behind the goal and they have to have a touch and finish. I see Derrick doing it every day. Derrick knows where the back of the net is.
"We've been talking about not enough goals from outside the box. Every week when I go home and watch the goals show on Sky, there's a lot of goals from outside the box and a lot of set plays. We don't score enough from outside the box. I think (Stewart) Downing is the only one who has scored from outside the box and it's great that somebody else has scored from outside the box."
Neil Harris: "I will just comment, in the 68th minute - I've seen it back from three different angles - we've got a stonewall penalty from a set-piece when the game's at 1-0.
"The referee talks to Sam Gallagher marking Jake Cooper. Jake gets a run, the player is the wrong side of him and manhandles him to the ground with a rugby tackle. The referee is seven yards away and for me, he bottles it. I think the referee bottled it at the end of the day and he has to give that decision. What's the point of talking to a player, and let him get the wrong side? What game are we playing here? We play to win set plays and when you win them, you need some help."