MansionBet Match Preview: Norwich City (A)
Posted: Tuesday, January 19th 2021
Saturday, September 15th 2012
City suffered the cruellest of defeats as injury time drama denied Derek McInnes' side a hard-fought point.
Scott Dann's last-gasp strike in a pulsating contest broke City's perfect unbeaten home record after the Robins had twice come from behind to equalise.
Jordan Rhodes' even later fifth made for misleading viewing on the scoreboard after City matched their much-fancied opponents for long periods.
Albert Adomah set the tone with the opener after just 43 seconds, but Rhodes' 28th minute equaliser left the game in the balance at the interval.
Nuno Gomes' 55th minute strike then had Blackburn in front before Stephen Pearson made it 2-2.
Rovers substitute Ruben Rochina looked to have won it for the visitors nine minutes from time, only for fellow replacement Sam Baldock to appear to have rescued a justifiable point.
But in an epic encounter, Dann lashed home with seconds to go and Rhodes added the gloss with an eye-catching curling shot for his second.
McInnes recalled striker Ryan Taylor alongside Jon Stead to bolster his physical presence up front, while Richard Foster returned to the side in place of the injured Mark Wilson.
City raced into a dream start when Adomah struck in the opening minute, finding the bottom corner via a deflection following Taylor's lay-off.
Blackburn were shell-shocked, and might have been two up moments later. Adomah led a lightning quick breakaway from his own half, only for Stephen Pearson's low cross to be turned behind for a corner.
From the resulting flag kick, the Ghanaian exchanged passes with the same man and sent a deep cross to the back post which had former England number one Paul Robinson back-pedalling and relieved to see the ball glance the top of the net on its way over.
But Blackburn soon settled, and in Gomes and and Rhodes the visitors boasted a constant goal threat.
It was the £8m man from Huddersfield Town who fired the first warning shot high to Tom Heaton's right, but the former Cardiff City stopper did well to make the save look easy and hang on to the ball in the air.
Heaton continued to be tested from innocuous efforts from distance, but was powerless to prevent Rhodes' first goal for his new club.
Liam Fontaine was uncharacteristically at fault, caught on the ball by the razor sharp striker, who raced clear to slide the ball home with all the composure expected of a man who struck 40 goals in all competitions last season.
Having lost much of their early impetus as the first half went on, City would have been keen to regain the positive momentum after the interval.
They should have done exactly that, with a gilt-edged chance falling the way of Stead two minutes into the second half, only for the striker to scuff his effort from virtually point-blank range - almost standing on the ball in trying to convert Adomah's inviting delivery across the six-yard box.
It was a miss City would regret, as Rovers' new front two combined to turn the game on its head ten minutes into the second half.
Dickson Etuhu was the instigator, feeding Rhodes in the penalty area. Under pressure with his back to goal, the striker allowed the ball to escape his spell, but there was Gomes to bury the loose ball low past Heaton from 12 yards.
Blackburn were now able to play the counter-attacking game, with Rhodes dangerous in behind the City defence, but McInnes' side rallied in search of an equaliser.
Stead headed over having beaten Robinson to Martyn Woolford's cross, before great work from Adomah assisted the equaliser.
Seemingly outnumbered on the right corner of the 18-yard box, the winger skipped between the challenges of Etuhu and Martin Olsson, lifted his head and found Pearson unmarked on the penalty spot.
The Scot duly swept the ball home right footed into the far corner - very similarly executed to the opener against Cardiff City last time out at Ashton Gate.
But again the stalemate would not last, as Blackburn substitute Rochina somehow waltzed through a number of challenges before picking out Heaton's top corner nine minutes from time.
As frustrated as McInnes must have been with his players' inability to dispossess the Spaniard, it was a special goal and one that looked set to win the most topsy-turvy of games.
But there were to be further twists, as first Baldock smashed home from 22 yards with City's next attack, only for Dann to break City hearts and Rhodes to finish the job with red shirts pouring forward at the end of a remarkable spectacle.
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