Blackburn 0 Barnsley 2: Reds end eight-match winless run

editorial image

Marley Watkins’ stunning strike finally ended Barnsley’s wait for a win as they beat struggling Blackburn Rovers 2-0.

The Reds’ striker’s ninth goal of the season was reminiscent of Frank Lampard’s disallowed World Cup effort against Germany as Paul Heckingbottom’s men ended an eight-game winless run.

Watkins netted the second, after captain Marc Roberts’ powerful header, as the Reds picked up their first win at Ewood Park this Millennium.

The last time Barnsley tasted victory at their Roses’ rivals was way back in 1999, but you would never have thought it as the visitors came charging out of the blocks.

Heckingbottom was frank in his assessment of his side’s struggles in front of goal earlier in the week, and it took just three minutes for them to take advantage of the hosts’ defensive frailties to find the back of the net.

With wing wizard Adam Hammill out with a bruised toe, Liverpool loanee Ryan Kent was handed set-piece duties and it was his delivery that was flicked on at the near post by Angus MacDonald for Roberts to head past Jason Steele.

And just seven minutes later Watkins doubled the visitors’ deserved lead.

Leicester City loanee Matty James intercepted a poor pass, squared the ball to Josh Scowen, who played it on to Watkins as he fired past the helpless Steele from range.

The game settled down after Watkins’ wonder strike, with Kent and George Moncur both failing to significantly trouble Steele with numerous efforts from outside the box.

Moments into the second half MacDonald saved Scowen after a poor back pass as he threw himself in the way of Lucas João’s shot.

Striker Danny Graham came on at half time for the hosts as they put three up front, but he only lasted seven minutes before going off injured.

The Reds struggled to assert themselves like they did before the break as Blackburn began to gamble to try and get something out of the game.

Moncur was in the right place at the right time to clear Sam Gallagher’s header off the line as the hosts tried to give the Reds a nervy last 15 minutes.

Blackburn: Steele, Nyambe, Hoban, Brown, Williams, Mahoney, Lowe, Guthrie (Graham 45, Gallagher 52), Bennett, Lucas João, Emnes (Conway, 65).

Unused subs: Raya, Ward, Feeney, Akpan.

Barnsley: Davies, Janko, Roberts, MacDonald, Jones, Hedges (Bradshaw, 69), Scowen, James, Moncur (Mowatt 90+4), Kent (Armstrong, 88), Watkins.

Unused subs: Townsend, Bird, Jackson, Lee.