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Report: Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Bristol City

City suffered a familiar fate at Blackburn in falling to a first defeat in three games.

Goals in each half from Rovers hotshot Jordan Rhodes ensured Sean O’Driscoll was subjected to the same 2-0 defeat as predecessor Derek McInnes four weeks prior.

The only change from the new head coach was to replace injured City skipper Cole Skuse with Marvin Elliott alongside Liam Kelly in the middle of midfield.

Having trailed within seven minutes of their last visit to Ewood Park on FA Cup third round day four weeks ago, the Robins set about seeking revenge with an early goal of their own – almost provided by Steven Davies’ 30-yard free kick that just brushed the top of the net on its way over the crossbar.

In an otherwise subdued opening quarter of an hour, Blackburn threatened to take the lead with a free kick of their own, only for Morten Gamst Pedersen to clip the top of the goal frame with a fierce left-footer straight out of the Davies textbook.

The first clear chance from open play fell City’s way, as Stephen Pearson fed Paul Anderson, who accelerated beyond Scott Dann but could not keep his shot down as Rovers keeper Jake Kean advanced from his line, and a golden opportunity came and went.

At the other end, another Pedersen free kick was this time floated into the penalty area and only half-cleared into the path of Markus Olsson, who ultimately skewed his shot wide.

But it would prove a temporary reprieve for the visitors, who took the lead on 28 minutes through prolific striker Rhodes.

From another Pedersen set-piece, this time a right-wing corner, the Norwegian was given a second chance to deliver. When his second cross was not properly cleared, Rhodes took a touch before ruthlessly finishing across Tom Heaton to break the deadlock.

From then on chances were at a premium until the interval, but O’Driscoll was dealt a further blow late in the first half when Louis Carey took a heavy kick on the ankle and had to be replaced by James Wilson.

But there was still time for City to produce the best piece of play in the game, when some slick interplay between Greg Cunningham and Stephen Pearson saw the latter fizz a low ball into Sam Baldock, whose clever backheel was struck first time by Davies from the edge of the box and against the outside of the post on its way wide.

The improvement continued after the break, and a trademark late arrival into the box from Elliott might have conjured an equaliser, but the midfielder’s header was straight into the arms of Kean from Anderson’s centre.

Elliott then required lengthy treatment after he appeared to be caught by a stray boot from Colin Kazim-Richards inside the centre circle.

City were more than holding their own, but chances remained few and far between at both ends. O’Driscoll played his second hand by introducing Jon Stead from the bench, but within seconds his side were two down.

A long ball over the top found the ever-willing Rhodes stretching his legs and winning the race with Wilson, holding off the defender before cleverly disguising a neat finish to beat City keeper Heaton down by his right-hand post.

There were still 25 minutes left on the clock, but the contest had largely diffused as a result of Rhodes’ second. Anderson made way for Wes Burns in the closing stages and City kept probing for a way back into the game, but the hosts comfortably held on to leave O’Driscoll’s men five points adrift of safety.