Football: Rovers run riot to topple Norwich

Blackburn Rovers. . .7

Norwich City. . . . .1

ROVERS are in danger of overdoing it. To go to the top of the Premier League is one thing; to do so by beating the leaders by the biggest score the League has seen seems to be stretching the storyline.

But with Alan Shearer in his present form there is nothing incredible about the rise and rise of the Rovers. Norwich were poor enough to make a mockery of their own early-season success, but few sides could have lived with Blackburn yesterday.

Colin Hendry is not thought of as a goal-maker, but it was his hopeful long ball that unleashed Shearer and began Blackburn's maraudings.

The Norwich captain, Ian Butterworth, returning from an ankle injury, must have wished he had taken an extra week to recuperate as Shearer made light of a 10-yard disadvantage to scorch past him and pull the ball back to Roy Wegerle. Wegerle, making his first start in the Premier League in place of the suspended Mike Newell, stumbled to his knees, perhaps in thanks for his good fortune in coming into a side to partner a player throbbing with Shearer's confidence, but still had time to regain his feet and score.

Norwich wasted their one good chance, made by cultured approach work from Ian Crook and Mark Bowen, when Mark Robins's poor first touch allowed Hendry to clear.

Bowen was then embarrassed at the other end when Wegerle beat him to the ball on the byline and guided it back for Gordon Cowans. The veteran midfielder is showing that he is still too classy a performer to be left out of Blackburn's side and the ball he floated on to Tim Sherwood's head was perfection. The former Norwich player had no difficulty in looping his header over Bryan Gunn for his first goal for Blackburn.

There were doubts about the legality of the way Shearer set up Wegerle for Blackburn's third. Shearer, earlier booked for an innocuous tackle on Ian Culverhouse, got an altogether more solid contact on the hapless Butterworth, shouldering him out of contention long before another of Hendry's long clearances arrived. If that was the steel, the ball that curled over the wet grass to Wegerle was the silk. There were no prostrations in the direction of Darwen this time, just a simple sidefoot into a vacant net.

Norwich have specialised this season in successful comebacks from seemingly hopeless situations and they hinted at that possibility with a venomous shot into the side-netting from Crook.

Hendry and Kevin Moran then went for the same high clearance, with neither getting enough cranium on the ball to stop it running for Rob Newman, who kept his head to beat Bobby Mimms from a narrowing angle.

Any hope that the mines rescue might reach the choking Canary before it finally asphyxiated was shortlived. Precise interplay with Sherwood sent Shearer on his way again. He had the decency not to humiliate Butterworth again; he simply ignored his attentions, chipping the ball over him and the equally helpless Gunn from the edge of the penalty area.

The second half could so easily have been an anti-climax and a side more world-weary than Blackburn might have sat back and admired their handiwork. There was a hint of carelessness when Wegerle spurned the chance of a hat-trick, blasting high over the bar after Gunn had presented him with the ball.

Too soon for Norwich, however, it was business as usual. Alan Wright, as nimble and natural a left-back as the North-west has seen since Tony Dunne, picked out Shearer and Chris Sutton's only answer was to pull him down. The result was a booking rather than a sending-off and a free-kick from Cowans that swerved, dipped and cannoned in off the left upright.

Shearer, involved in all but one of Blackburn's goals, then hit in a cross from the right. The combined efforts of the shell-shocked Norwich defence could only clear it as far as Stuart Ripley, who stroked it home smoothly.

The admirable Wright did the preparatory work for Shearer's second, finding plenty of space down the left and sending in a glorious cross which was with equal precision nodded past Gunn. It was appropriate that it should have been Shearer who rounded off the rout.

Blackburn Rovers: B Mimms; R Brown, A Wright, T Sherwood, C Hendry, K Moran (N Marker, 79 min), S Ripley (J Wilcox, 79 min), M Atkins, A Shearer, R Wegerle, G Cowans. Sub not used: D Collier (gk). Manager: K Dalglish.

Norwich City: B Gunn; I Culverhouse, M Bowen, I Butterworth, C Sutton, D Sutch, I Crook, R Newman, M Robins, J Goss, D Phillips (L Power, 64 min). Subs not used: J Polston, M Walton (gk). Manager: M Walker.

Referee: R Dilkes (Mossley).

Goals: Wegerle (1-0, 8 min), Sherwood (2-0, 27 min), Wegerle (3-0, 32 min), Newman (3-1, 39 min), Shearer (4-1, 43 min), Cowans (5-1, 63 min), Ripley (6-1, 70 min), Shearer (7-1, 75 min).

News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Life and Style
Kissing
life
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test