Dunn throws tardy twosome to the Wolves

Blackburn Rovers 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
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The Independent Online

Defensive headaches began for Mick McCarthy before this game and set the tone for the rest of the day. After being forced to take disciplinary action against two of his defenders for missing the start of his team's pre-match briefing, the Wolves manager watched others flounder in the face of Blackburn's threat here.

Rovers cantered to their first Premier League win of the season as Wolves contributed heavily to their own downfall, raising fresh questions about last season's Championship title-winners' ability to bridge the gap between the two Leagues.

Commenting on defenders George Elokobi and Ronald Zubar arriving late, McCarthy said: "They room together and know the rules. Those who turn up late don't play."

Elokobi was relegated to the bench and Zubar left out of the squad. That proved to be just the start of McCarthy's troubles.

Rovers, after chugging into the new season, finally found the extra gear that Sam Allardyce had insisted was always there if his team could just learn to take their chances.

The opening goal, after 19 minutes from El-Hadji Diouf – his first here and Rovers' first this season from open play – owed a debt to the visitors when Michael Mancienne was caught off balance by team-mate Karl Henry's weak pass. Diouf seized his moment, dispossessed the England under-21 centre-back and raced clear to confidently beat Wayne Hennessey.

Hennessey produced brilliant saves to deny Morten Gamst Pedersen and Keith Andrews, and Pedersen also struck the post from a free-kick, so there was a palpable sense of relief among the crowd in the second half when Rovers finally made their dominance pay.

David Dunn, a revelation in the free role behind lone striker Jason Roberts, provided the corner from which Roberts was able to faintly guide Gaël Givet's header home. And, eight minutes later, Dunn provided the finishing touch after Roberts' shot was half-saved by Hennessey. Substitute Stefan Maierhofer netted a late consolation for Wolves.

Said Allardyce: "It's another step forward for us from the West Ham game – that should have been a comfortable win for us but wasn't.

"It could have been 3-0 by half-time, but it was early in the second half and we picked them off when they tried to get back in it at one down. We broke well and exploited the space they left behind them.

"It was a well-deserved victory and the performance and result have gone together today, as they should have done before. The players are looking comfortable and are really getting to know each other.

"The only disappointment was the goal we conceded, but that's not so bad over 90 minutes of football.

"We have found David [Dunn] a position that is going to cause the other strikers at our club a lot of concern. We have four good strikers, but Dunny is taking up a Steven Gerrard type of role and he has blossomed into one hell of a creative player and goalscorer. He is opening up defences and is the type of player who can create opportunities for you."

Attendance: 24,845

Referee: Steve Bennett

Man of the match: Dunn

Match rating: 7/10

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