Allardyce snares the points on St James' return

Newcastle United 1 Blackburn Rovers 2

Substitute Jason Roberts brought Newcastle's winning run to a shuddering halt to hand Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce victory on his return to St James' Park.

Roberts scored for the second time in as many games to condemn the Magpies to a third home defeat of the season following wins for Blackpool and Stoke on Tyneside, and their sixth in as many attempts by Rovers.

Andy Carroll looked to have snatched at least a point for the home side with a towering 47th-minute to further enhance his England credentials, after Morten Gamst Pedersen had given Rovers a third-minute lead.

But on a night when midfielder Joey Barton once again found himself at the centre of controversy when seemed to catch Pedersen with a hand as he ran past him, it was Allardyce who had the last laugh. There is no love lost between the former Bolton manager and Newcastle following his eight-month reign on Tyneside.

He understandably, believes he was given nowhere near enough time to make his methods work at St James', although his critics will point to the brand of football he asked a team packed with expensively-assembled players to play.

Blackburn adopted a game-plan which involved closing down space in the middle of the park to deny a supply line to Carroll and in return, attempted to hit their hosts on the break at pace.

The ploy proved successful in the opening 45 minutes as the Magpies were unable to reproduce the kind of flowing football which characterised their thumping home victories over Aston Villa and Sunderland.

Rovers were helped in no small part by the gift of an opening goal within three minutes of kick-off when the normally reliable Cheik Tiote surrendered possession to Brett Emerton inside his own penalty area and could only look on in horror as Pedersen blasted a low right-foot shot across goalkeeper Tim Krul and into the bottom corner.

Newcastle's response was initially lukewarm, other than a deflected eighth-minute Jose Enrique shot which dropped just wide, as the visitors' muscular back three of Christopher Samba, Ryan Nelsen and Gael Givet coped with the aerial threat comfortably.

Indeed, with wide midfielder David Hoilett and overlapping wing-back Pascal Chimbonda repeatedly exploiting the space behind right-back Danny Simpson, Blackburn looked capable of adding to their tally.

Pedersen saw a 16th-minute strike clip Carroll and slip past the post and then thumped a free-kick into Krul's midriff on the stroke of half-time.

However, in the meantime, the Magpies had finally established a momentum, although without ever troubling Paul Robinson.

Samba blocked a Tiote piledriver at source and Kevin Nolan fired over, but it took the home side 42 minutes to get behind the Blackburn defence.

Jonas Gutierrez's crossfield pass put Barton in on the right, but the ball skipped up off the turf and his right-foot shot flew harmlessly behind.

Hughton opted for change at the break when Shola Ameobi failed to reappear and was replaced by Nile Ranger, and his side was back on terms within two minutes of the restart in a fashion Allardyce would have greatly appreciated had it come at the other end.

Barton's floated free-kick allowed Carroll to get up above Samba to power a bullet header into the top corner to further enhance his reputation.

In a frenetic passage of play in the immediate aftermath of the goal, Barton shot wide after creating space for himself and was then involved in a clash with Pedersen at the other end after Hoilett had been booked for diving.

The former Manchester City midfielder appeared to flick out at the Norwegian's midriff with his hand, although seemed astonished by his reaction.

Gutierrez failed to test Robinson as much as he might have with a 57th-minute strike, and with Roberts having replaced lone striker Nikola Kalinic, Rovers set about the task of trying to restore their lead.

It was a case of more brain than brawn as the two sides slugged it out in the search for a winner with the game approaching its final 20 minutes at breakneck pace.

But with Newcastle doing most of the pressing, they were caught by a sucker punch when Roberts muscled Mike Williamson off Robinson's clearance and tucked the ball past Krul eight minutes from time.

A final flurry failed to yield salvation for the Magpies, who once again succumbed to comparatively modest opposition on their own park.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project