Peter Lovenkrands - Newcastle United News

Newcastle United have moved up to fifth in the Premier League table with an unconvincing win at struggling Blackburn. The Magpies took the lead early on when Ryan Taylor’s long-distance effort deflected in off the unfortunate Scott Dann, but had to rely on a solid defensive display to hang on to their lead, before Gabriel Obertan wrapped up the three points with a 92nd minute breakaway goal.

The result has to go down as one of the most misleading score lines of the season, with struggling Rovers dominating the majority of the game, but ultimately not being able to break down Newcastle’s resolute defence. Tim Krul was in top form to deny Steve Kean’s side when they did get through the visitors’ defence, leading to a frustrating night for the Lancashire side.

Yohan Cabaye was missing for the Geordies, having been hit with a three-match ban for his red card against Brighton at the weekend, so Taylor lined up in centre midfield with Danny Guthrie partnering him. On this evidence though, Newcastle look to be seriously affected without the driving force of Cabaye and midfield destroyer Cheick Tiote, as they lacked any serious threat in the middle third.

However they started brightly, with Jonas Gutierrez doing well in midfield before feeding Taylor. The former Wigan man – enjoying his best season in a Newcastle shirt to date – fired a shot from 25 yards out and as Paul Robinson stretched to reach the drive, Scott Dann thrust out a leg to send the ball agonisingly into his own net.

Blackburn instantly got into their groove though, and loan signing Nathan Modeste was causing all kinds of problems for Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson in the heart of the Newcastle defence.

Morten Gamst Pedersen was a threat from set-pieces too, and his drilled corner was diverted towards goal by the onrushing Gael Givet, only for Danny Simpson to clear off the line. It was the umpteenth time the former Manchester United defender has made a goal line clearance this season, seemingly a man who is always in the right place at the right time.

Modeste continuously found himself getting into some good positions, but his lack of composure punished him and allowed Coloccini and co. to make some crucial blocks and challenges. Junior Hoilett also tried his luck with a curling effort, but Tim Krul was happy to see it sail over his crossbar.

Leon Best also went close, albeit for Blackburn, when he headed another dangerous Pedersen corner against his own bar, with everyone beaten.

Former Newcastle transfer target Hoilett was trying his best to force an equaliser with his excellent dribbling ability, but incensed the entire Newcastle team when he appeared to have dived over a challenge in an attempt to win a penalty. Phil Dowd didn’t make things any easier when he awarded a free-kick, and had to book Taylor when he was adjudged to have been the biggest culprit in the mass brawl that erupted once Hoilett had hit the deck.

The free-kick came to nothing though, but referee Dowd was intent on handing Blackburn a way back into the match. Just before the break, he awarded Rovers a penalty after Simpson had been penalised for the softest of pushes on 6”1 Modeste.

David Dunn stepped up and couldn’t get the better of Krul, who dived to his left to keep out the tame effort. Givet and Hoilett tried to follow up, but only managed to run into each other, leading to an easy Krul save and the perfect summary of Blackburn’s night.

The second half seen Hatem Ben Arfa replaced with James Perch and an attempt to become even more resolute from Alan Pardew’s side. The approach worked though, and none of Blackburn’s 23 shots really troubled Krul. Mauro Formica came closest in the second half, but his effort only found the side netting.

With Newcastle seemingly comfortable repelling Rovers’ Paul Robinson-assisted attacks, Peter Lovenkrands and Obertan came off the bench to try and grab a late goal on the counter attack and it paid off in injury time. A hoof from Robinson was cleared and Lovenkrands played a perfect pass through to Obertan, who raced clear before slotting past Robinson with consummate ease, his first goal for Newcastle.