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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
21:30 24th February 2015

MATCH REPORT: BLACKBURN 1-2 CITY

BRADLEY Johnson's scorching drive pushed Norwich City to their fifth win in a row as they came from behind to beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at Ewood Park.

Johnson struck a thunderbolt five minutes from time to secure a vital victory for the Canaries that keeps them well in touch with their promotion rivals in the Sky Bet Championship.

Cameron Jerome had earlier come off the bench to get the comeback in motion after Alex Baptiste headed Rovers into a first half lead.

The final results leaves City just a point behind East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town ahead of Sunday's derby at Carrow Road, and four points off the automatic promotion places.

Graham Dorrans came in for his first Norwich City start in one of two changes by Alex Neil. Nathan Redmond also returned to the team, with Alex Tettey and Cameron Jerome being the two men to make way.

Martin Olsson started against his former club and, for the first time, opposite his twin brother Markus, who came in for Tommy Spurr in Blackburn's only alteration from their 1-1 draw with Blackpool on Saturday.

Norwich weren't as quick out of the blocks as they have been in recent matches, but both teams struggled for fluency in the first half on a bobbly Ewood Park surface.

Lewis Grabban appeared to be tugged back in the area on 12 minutes as he chased Bradley Johnson's pass, but referee Scott Duncan wasn't interested in appeals.

City's Olsson missed a chance to jump on Johnson's accurate pass just before Blackburn took the lead on 22 minutes through Baptiste.

Steven Whittaker was penalised for a trip on Craig Conway, and the Rovers right-back rose to meet Tom Cairney's free-kick unchallenged and head beyond John Ruddy.

Grabban missed the Canaries' best opportunity of the opening half four minutes later, getting in a muddle when free in the box to meet Olsson's header across the six-yard box.

They were the more positive side until the whistle blew for half-time, but couldn't fashion any clearcut opening despite their best endeavours and Rovers took their advantage into the break.

HALF-TIME: Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Norwich City

Neil opted against making any changes during the interval, although his counterpart Gary Bowyer replaced Jordan Rhodes with Josh King.

Hoolahan hit a low shot that Jason Steele got behind four minutes after play had restarted, but Rovers were dealt a blow when King hobbled off down the tunnel just seven minutes after coming on.

Jerome came on to replace Redmond, but Blackburn were growing in confidence and City didn't threaten Steele again until the 63rd minute, when Johnson nodded straight at the 'keeper from Hoolahan's corner.

Two minutes later, however, supersub Jerome dragged the Canaries level.

Hoolahan worked his way into the box and crossed towards Jerome at the back post, who delivered a clinical finish underneath Steele for his 16th league goal of the season.

Suddenly they had a spring in their step as Jonny Howson flashed a shot wide and then Grabban fired a shot at Steele from a narrow angle.

Howson then had an even better opportunity, meeting Whittaker's cross, but once again the home 'keeper was equal to it and the teams entered the final ten minutes all square.

Then, with just five minutes left on the clock, Johnson came to the fore and arrowed the winner into the top corner from outside the box to secure a hugely important three points.

FULL-TIME: Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Norwich City

GOALS: Rovers: Alex Baptiste (22) - Canaries: Cameron Jerome (65), Bradley Johnson (85)

BLACKBURN ROVERS: Steele, Baptiste, Hanley (c), Kilgallon, Olsson, Cairney, Spearing (Brown 80), Evans, Conway, Rhodes (King 45 (Marshall 52)), Gestede. Subs not used: Eastwood (GK), Henley, Williamson, Duffy.

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson; Redmond (Jerome 54), Howson, Johnson, Dorrans (Tettey 66); Hoolahan (Andreu 82); Grabban. Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Turner, Garrido, Josh Murphy.

REFEREE: Scott Duncan

ATTENDANCE: 13,530 (1060)


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