Green gaffes give Dickov a double

Blackburn Rovers 3 - Norwich City 0

Nigel Worthington might describe them as bullies, but no one could accuse Blackburn Rovers of inflicting much punishment. Indeed, it is an event when they manage to score at all.

Nigel Worthington might describe them as bullies, but no one could accuse Blackburn Rovers of inflicting much punishment. Indeed, it is an event when they manage to score at all.

Give them an easy target, however, and even the least potent attack in the Premiership can hit the bull's-eye and Norwich City yesterday might as well have had targets printed on their shirts. Blackburn had not scored for more than five hours, but yesterday they got three. Yes, three. The home strikers have not had so many presents since Father Christmas located their chimneys.

The man supplying the wrapping paper was Robert Green. Beaten at his near post twice and then diving over Paul Dickov's shot for the third goal, the Norwich goalkeeper had an afternoon to forget, but one that might yet come to haunt him if Norwich fall just short of Premiership safety this season.

"Robert is disappointed," Worthington said, "but he's an honest lad, a good goalkeeper and has to get this game out of his system as son as possible."

The principal beneficiary was Dickov, who scored twice, and with Morten Gamst Pedersen also getting a goal, Blackburn had an unexpectedly easy afternoon. Had they lost they would have been deep in the morass at the wrong end of the table; their win means they are eight points ahead of yesterday's opponents.

"We knew the significance of the game and we knew we had to win it," Mark Hughes, the Blackburn manager, said, "but I'm also pleased with the manner of our win. We showed everyone we can get the ball down, pass aggressively and create chances."

That comment was aimed at Worthington, who had accused Blackburn of an over-physical approach in the build-up to the game. The sad thing for the visitors was that their defending was so bad yesterday - Green was far from the only culprit in a Norwich shirt - a team full of pacifists would probably have got a goal against them.

That was exemplified by Blackburn's first goal that arrived after 17 minutes. Tugay's cross-field pass was so misjudged by Simon Charlton that he dithered over whether to intercept and allowed Pedersen to head the ball beyond him. The follow-up, a right-foot shot, was fierce but not by so much that Green, who got a hand to it, should not have stopped it.

Rather than being intimidated by this setback, Norwich rebounded and squandered two opportunities in three minutes. In the first, Huckerby sped down the byline and then pulled the ball back only for Jim Brennan to do a Shaun Wright-Phillips and miskick. For the second, Gary Holt freed Dean Ashton, and although his shot was true, Brad Friedel saved.

You pay for missed opportunities like that in the Premiership, as Norwich have discovered all season, and after 38 minutes Blackburn went 2-0 ahead, again, much of the key work being supplied by Pedersen. His free-kick was clawed away by Green and when his corner curled towards the near post from the right, Dickov was there to flick in with his head.

As Dickov is just 5ft 6in there was reason to question Green's role in both goals, but there was no doubt about Blackburn's third after 62 minutes; the Norwich goalkeeper was unquestionably at fault, allowing a 20-yard shot from Dickov to slide under his dive.The pitch was slippery because of a hailstorm straight from the Arctic but that hardly exonerates Green.

Green went a little of the way to make amends for his uncertain handling in the last minute with a double save from Steven Reid and Gallagher but the points had already slipped through Norwich's grasp.

"I have no complaints," Worthington said referring to Blackburn's style, "the referee had an easy day." But the Rovers fans were not ready to forgive and forget and the Norwich manager left Ewood Park with the withering refrain echoing in his ears. "Three-nil to the bully boys".

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