Blackburn Rovers ended a run of five straight defeats as they beat Norwich at Ewood Park to boost their Premier League survival hopes.
Mauro Formica and Junior Hoilett scored fantastic goals either side of the interval to earn Rovers a well needed three points.
Pre-match demonstrations were again held by a section of Blackburn fans and signs of unrest and frustration could be seen within the stadium. With less than 10 minutes on the clock chants for “Kean Out” and “Venkys Out” echoed around Ewood Park.
The game started slowly with both teams wasteful in possession. Grant Holt’s presence proved a handful for Blackburn defenders Scott Dann and Gael Givet who returned to the side following last week’s alleged bust up with manager Steve Kean.
It was Norwich who started strongest and began to dictate the play. Grant Holt came close with a header and then saw his shot blocked. Rovers keeper Paul Robinson was then forced in to his first save of the game as he superbly saved Jonny Howson’s long-range strike.
But Norwich failed to capitalise on their early dominance and Yakubu came close with Blackburn’s best chance. Pedersen’s downward header found the Nigerian and his overhead kick from three yards out hit the base of the post.
Three minutes later Blackburn, undeservedly, took the lead. Pedersen’s deep cross found Formica unmarked at the back post and the Argentine found the back of the net with a crisp sliding volley.
Soon after the interval Blackburn doubled their lead. Junior Hoilett collected the ball on the left flank, dribbled past two defenders before unleashing a wonderful strike past the helpless John Ruddy.
Norwich failed to respond and the home side were able to take a hold on the game. Hoilett’s bursting run and low cross nearly found Yakubu in front of goal.
Lambert made three changes, and eventually Norwich threatened the Blackburn defence. Bennett’s cross somehow eluded Elliot Ward and then Aaron Wilbraham tested Robinson with a powerful low strike, but Blackburn survived the flourish.
Blackburn then close to adding a third at the end, Pedersen’s in swinging corner was headed just over by substitute Modeste.
The win means Blackburn are hot on the heels of fellow strugglers QPR and Wigan but remain in the bottom three and with just three games remaining Blackburn’s chances of survival are very slim.
Paul Lambert won’t be too disheartened by this defeat, his team are sitting comfortably in 12th and will be looking forward to playing Premier League football again next season.