English Premiership

Stoke pile misery on Rovers

2011-11-26 16:55
Peter Crouch (File)

Stoke - Stoke heaped more pressure on Blackburn manager Steve Kean with a 3-1 victory over struggling Rovers at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

Tony Pulis's side took the lead through Rory Delap's first-half header and added further goals after half-time from Glenn Whelan and Peter Crouch.

Blackburn got one back through Ruben Rochina in the closing stages, but Kean's team never threatened a fightback as Stoke ended a run of four successive defeats.

Rovers have won just once this season and remain second-bottom of the Premier League -- four points from safety -- and the travelling Blackburn fans vented their frustrations with chants for Kean to be sacked.

It is not the first time they have turned on Kean this season, with one group of fans recently hiring a plane to fly over Ewood Park with a banner reading "Kean Out!" during a match.

Blackburn's Indian owners this week "revised" the terms of Kean's contract in a move regarded as showing their support for the beleaguered boss, but he is unlikely to last much longer if there are many repeats of this shocking performance.

"I don't think we played badly but they're not great goals that we have given away," Kean said.

"I felt the third goal was a very poor goal to give away but we kept at it and kept creating chances and hopefully we can tighten up at the back."

After a drab start, Stoke's first genuine chance to attack the Rovers goal led to their opening goal in the 28th minute.

Steven Nzonzi's foul on Crouch gave Jermaine Pennant the opportunity to whip in a free-kick from the right and he did so perfectly.

The ball just cleared Morten Gamst Pedersen, who was the first defender inside the penalty area, and Delap got in front of Gael Givet to divert a glancing header past goalkeeper Paul Robinson and inside the far post.

Five minutes before the break, Stoke midfielder Whelan cleared off the line from Scott Dann's header as Blackburn finally mounted an attack of their own.

Blackburn should have equalised within a minute of the second half restarting after Rochina had dribbled his way to the byline and cleverly back-heeled to Mauro Formica but the Argentinian completely missed his shot from four yards.

Robert Huth was then left wondering how he missed the target as he powered a header wide from Matthew Etherington's cross in the 54th minute.

But fortunately for Stoke they did not have long to rue that error as four minutes later Etherington picked out Jon Walters in the penalty area and he laid the ball off for Whelan to drive home from 25 yards, with the aid of a deflection off Dann, for his first goal since February 2010.

Crouch sealed the win when he clinically converted Marc Wilson's long ball into the Rovers penalty area with a left-footed shot in the 72nd minute.

Rochina reduced the deficit with a fine strike from distance in the 86th minute after Junior Hoilett had cut in from the left.

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