Blackburn Rovers tasted defeat for the first time this season as Middlesbrough secured all three points thanks to Lukas Jutkiewicz’s double.
The Boro striker, who missed the start of the season following knee surgery, fired the away side into the lead before doubling his tally and Boro’s lead in the second half.
Grant Hanley pulled one back for Rovers, but it was too little too late as Tony Mowbray’s men deservedly held on for their first away win of the season.
Rovers are renowned for starting matches slowly, and this game was no different as the home side found themselves behind with less than ten minutes on the clock.
Lukas Jutkiewicz’s flick on found strike partner Marvin Emnes, his return pass was weighted perfectly for Jutkiewicz and the striker outpaced Givet before smashing the ball past Paul Robinson who was left claiming for an offside which was never going to be given.
With an agitated Ewood Park crowd many expected Rovers to up their game instead Boro came close to doubling their lead. Grant Leadbitter’s in swinging free-kick evaded everyone, including Robinson who was left flailing, and drifted just past the far post.
Despite a lacklustre first half Rovers nearly had an equaliser before the interval as Fabio Nunes’s cross from the left glanced off the crossbar much to the relief of Jason Steele in the Boro goal.
After the interval the game was halted when a sprinkler started spraying water at the Darwen End much to the amusement of 13,000 fans inside the Ewood Park ‘fortress’.
Eventually play resumed and it was back to normality as Boro dominated the game and came close to scoring a second. Carayol accelerated to the byline and drove in a low effort which squirmed under Robinson and Olsson cleared.
The Swedish defender hobbled off and was then replaced by Grant Hanley who was at fault for Boro’s second. Carayol crossed from the left as the Scottish defender lost Jutkiewicz and the striker made him pay with a well directed header sending the travelling Boro fans into euphoria.
Rovers rallied, Scott Dann headed straight into the hands of a relieved Jason Steele when it looked easier to score before Dickson Etuhu fired over from the edge of the area.
Jordan Rhodes was denied his fourth goal for Rovers as his strike was well blocked by a Boro defender. Blackburn finally halved the deficit. Nunes crossed from the left as Boro failed to clear a corner and Hanley headed in from six yards out.
As Rovers went in search of an undeserved equaliser they left themselves exposed at the back. Marvin Emnes burst through the defence and was left one-on-one with Robinson, but the Dutch striker failed to hit the target as his effort flew wide of the mark.
As the clock ticked down Rovers resorted to route one football and when they won a corner in the dyeing seconds Robinson went up to cause some confusion and it nearly paid off. The ball fell to the goalkeeper at the back post, who was unmarked, but he failed to hit the target with his scuffed effort.
Boro held on for a well deserved three points but with internet rumours circulating Steve Kean could face the sack sooner rather than later and this result could be a blessing in disguise for the Ewood Park faithful.
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