Lucas Jutkiewicz double puts more pressure on Steve Kean
Blackburn Rovers 1 Middlesbrough 2
Saturday 22 September 2012
Blackburn remain top of the Championship, but the position their manager Steve Kean finds himself in looks increasingly shaky after defeat against Middlesbrough meant he failed to hit the owners' target of 16 points from the opening seven games – a fact that will doubtless be thrown at him in the coming days. As Rovers were being easily beaten the familiar song of "Kean out" became more frequent and more vitriolic.
This was not a reaction to a first home defeat of the season, nor to the ineptness of a toothless Rovers side, but a hallmark of the crisis at the heart of the club. Kean, defiant as ever, spoke afterwards of averaging two points a game, even venturing a prediction that they could finish up as champions.
"We're frustrated we've lost the unbeaten run," he said. "Performances will improve. The fans want to see us promoted and if we keep going on in this vain we will do. I believe we will get promotion – we have as good enough group. Would we have taken this amount of points at this stage? Yes. We are on track."
Tony Mowbray's Middlesbrough had failed to pick up a single point away from the Riverside so far this season but were bright throughout, nudging ahead within seven minutes. Gaël Givet was caught the wrong side of Lucas Jutkiewicz – the striker latching onto Marvin Emnes' throughball to beat Paul Robinson at his near post with a smart drive.
Danny Murphy and Dickson Etuhu failed to exude any sort of control with Rovers one-paced and lacking ideas. After a number of misplaced passes, Murphy bore the brunt of the fans' spleen.
The second goal came shortly after the hour mark when Mustapha Carayol floated a ball across, Grant Hanley allowed Jutkiewicz room to power a header impressively into the net. Hanley atoned for his earlier error by scoring late on to set up a tense finish but they could not force another.
Top they may be, but it was business as usual at an Ewood Park full of resentment and anger, ending in jeers and boos. Given the low gates Blackburn are averaging, the hand of Venky's could be forced sooner rather than later.
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Robinson; Orr, Givet, Dann, Ribeiro (Formica, h-t); Nunes, Murphy, Etuhu, Olsson (Hanley, 48); Gomes, Rhodes.
Substitutes not used Kean, Lowe, Dunn, Pedersen, Rochina.
Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Steele; Hoyte, Woodgate (Hines, 84), Bikey, Friend; McEachran, Leadbitter (Bailey, 88), Thomson, Carayol (Zammama, 88); Emnes, Jutkiewicz.
Substitutes not used Leutwiler, Ledsema, Arca, Williams.
Referee C Pawson (South Yorkshire).
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Latest in Sport
World Cup 2014: Football Manager developers predict the team of the tournament - but which England player makes it into the XI?
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Man cycles down water slide in incredible stunt video
Napoli 2 Arsenal 0 match report: Nightmare in Naples leaves Arsenal to battle giants
Transfer news: Wayne Rooney sparks Manchester United exit rumours after rejecting new contract talks - reports
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 John McAfee's $100 'anti-NSA' device: 'this is coming and cannot be stopped'
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- 5 Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding