Rovers 0 Newcastle United 3

Last updated : 18 September 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Two goals in four minutes turned the game in Newcastle's favour midway through the second half, with Alan Shearer and Michael Owen the men to do the damage. Charles N'Zogbia then added a late clincher for the Magpies.

There was an unfamiliar look to the Rovers starting line-up as Mark Hughes opted for a 4-4-1-1 formation. Craig Bellamy replaced Matt Jansen as the lone striker, with fellow Ewood Park debutant David Bentley handed a free role.

Owen dragged a shot wide after seven minutes as Newcastle passed the ball around well early on, but for the remainder of the half it was all Blackburn.

Shay Given was called into action in the 13th minute when Bentley tried his luck from long range. Eight minutes later, following a foul on Steven Reid, Morten Gamst Pedersen fired a free-kick goalwards, but it curled just inches wide of the upright.

On the half-hour mark, and from the other side of the field, Robbie Savage fired in a powerful free-kick which produced a superb diving save from Given.

Perhaps the best chance of the half arrived just a minute before the break. Bellamy supplied an inviting cross from the left, but both Pedersen and Reid failed to connect with the goal at their mercy.

The hosts almost took the lead just 19 seconds into the second half. After a superb break down the left by Bentley the ball dropped kindly for Reid on the edge of the area, but the Irishman's shot was deflected narrowly over the bar.

Ten minutes later and Rovers again came close. With Lee Bowyer down injured, Pedersen launched a swift counter attack down the left wing. The Norwegian found Bentley, who picked out the unmarked Bellamy at the back post.

Clearly caught in two minds, Bellamy tried to find Reid in the centre, but Newcastle were able to scramble the ball clear for a corner.

The breakthrough finally arrived in the 62nd minute, but it was the visitors who made it.

Lucas Neill gave away a free-kick on the edge of his own box and former Rovers frontman Shearer smashed it into the bottom corner of the net - his first goal in over 25 hours of play.

Before the passionate Geordie fans had even finished celebrating it was 2-0. N'Zogbia found Owen with too much room in the box and the £16million man headed the ball down and into the back of the net.

Hughes made an immediate double substitution with Shefki Kuqi and Tugay coming on for Bentley and Aaron Mokoena and it almost paid off when Kuqi fired narrowly wide with his first touch.

Rovers appeared to be handed a lifeline when Steven Taylor was sent off after picking up a second caution for an innocuous challenge on Bellamy with just under 20 minutes to go.

But, as the home side threw everyone forward, Newcastle struck on the break. Celestine Babayaro fed the ball through to N'Zogbia and the young Frenchman showed quick feet to go round Brad Friedel and make it two goals in as many games with a cool finish.