Football: Edwards hits late winner to give Rovers a reality check

Huddersfield Town 3 Blackburn Rovers 2
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The Independent Online
WELCOME TO the Nationwide; welcome to reality, Blackburn Rovers.

A disappointing beginning to the retrieval process became a miserable one as Steve Bruce's Huddersfield left them still waiting for their first win down in what one prominent club chairman once called the nothingness.

At this rate the bookmaking fraternity are going to have to hastily re- assess their hitherto unanimous opinion that Rovers are a knocking bet to return to the Premiership without unnecessary delay.

Yet here, in a frantic finale, even a stoppage time equaliser from 21- year-old defender Marlon Broomes was not enough to salvage even a single point.

Amidst extraordinary scenes at the McAlpine Stadium, the Huddersfield substitute Rob Edwards struck an even more improbable goal in what was effectively the 94th minute to register the Terriers' opening win of the season.

Blackburn's problem is this: as good as they looked at times in this earthy first division scrap they lacked the killer instinct required to bowl over opponents patently less subtle.

So Brian Kidd, the manager brought in by Jack Walker to save Rovers from themselves last season, clearly needs some of his better players off the treatment table and back in serious action.

For it was not until Lee Carsley headed them back into the game after 65 minutes that they truly looked capable of saving it.

And despite Broomes' apparent life-saver even that was a false dawn.

The trick, of course, is to make the most of the breaks when they come your way. That is exactly what Huddersfield did and which is why Rovers apparent early superiority and extra sophistication counted for little as the home side succeeded in claiming an unlikely 26th minute lead.

True, Marcus Stewart's drive appeared to have neither the power nor the direction to trouble goalkeeper John Filan. But as the Australian custodian moved to his right to execute what should have been a routine save, the shot clipped Simon Grayson's left shin and the subsequent ricochet left him hopelessly off balance.

That seemed an unwarranted set back to a Rovers team that had dominated proceedings up to that point, opening up as they did what appeared to be a seriously flawed home defence.

Arguably Rovers should have already been in front themselves, Gary Flitcroft claiming furiously that his angled header which struck the underside of the bar after 17 minutes actually crossed the line on descent.

TV cameras failed to offer conclusive proof either way, but the best that can be said of the referee Paul Danson's crucial adjudication was that he was perfectly positioned to make it.

Yet instead of striking back quickly as they might have been expected to do, Rovers' response was markedly muted. Indeed in first half stoppage time they could have fallen further behind, Dutchman Clyde Wijnhard driving against the base of an upright.

That was a significant let off for Blackburn, but Stewart was not quite so benevolent when increasing Huddersfield lead six minutes into the second half.

There are those who consider him to be the best leader of a line outside the Premiership and he underlined his credentials in opening his scoring for the season.

It was a ball over the top that put Blackburn in trouble, and their response to it was naive. The entire back four came out like the third cavalry as Stewart headed in the opposite direction, finishing with a crisp low drive.

Carsley re-awakened Blackburn and Christian Dailly almost did likewise with a header against the bar. The truth of it was though that Blackburn were totally unprepared for what was to follow.

Huddersfield Town (4-4-2): Vaesen; Baker, Dyson, Armstrong (Edwards 65) Lucketti; Donis (Thornley, 64) Irons, Beech (Vincent, 71), Sellars; Stewart, Wijnhard. Substitutes not used: Margetson (gk), Allison.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Filan; Grayson, Dailly, Broomes, Davidson; Gillespie, Flitcroft, Carsley, Wilcox; Davies (Duff, 58), Gallacher (Blake, 50). Substitutes not used: Kenna, Johnson, Fettis (gk).

Referee: P Danson (Leicester).