Hoilett grabs Blackburn vital relegation battle point

Blackburn 1 Birmingham 1

Junior Hoilett capitalised on a Birmingham defensive blunder to grab his side a point in a hard-fought Barclays Premier League relegation battle at Ewood Park.

Hoilett pounced on an error by Liam Ridgewell to burst clear and beat keeper Ben Foster in first-half injury time in a dramatic end to the opening period.

Lee Bowyer had earlier put Blues in front with a header from point-blank range but the second half was nowhere near as dramatic, with both teams ultimately forced to settle for a point.

Morten Gamst Pedersen recovered from the illness which forced him to miss Blackburn's heroic draw at Arsenal and replaced the suspended Steven Nzonzi, while David Dunn started against his old club in place of Brett Emerton with Steve Kean's men desperate for the points.

The outcome was just as critical for Blues and boss Alex McLeish named an unchanged team, after strikers Nikola Zigic and Obafemi Martins both failed late fitness tests.

Rovers carved out a fine chance in the opening seconds when Hoilett threaded a pass to Jermaine Jones in the box but the American slipped and his chance went begging.

Barely a minute had gone before home defender Martin Olsson became the first man in referee Chris Foy's notebook for a sliding challenge on Sebastian Larsson.

In a promising start by Rovers, captain Chris Samba came close in the fifth minute when he stooped to head a Pedersen free-kick just wide of Ben Foster's right-hand post.

Ryan Nelsen headed a Pedersen corner into Foster's hands as the visitors struggled to get a grip on the game, offering little other than Cameron Jerome's scampering counter-attacks.

Birmingham grabbed the lead out of nowhere in the 32nd minute when Bowyer headed them in front after a cross by Jerome.

Birmingham came close to making it 2-0 two minutes before the break when Dunn fouled Craig Gardner and Larsson slammed the free-kick against the post.

A nasty-looking injury to Roger Johnson meant a lengthy period of stoppage time, in which Rovers grabbed the equaliser. Hoilett dispossessed Ridgewell and raced clear to round Foster and slot home.

Birmingham looked the better side early in the second half and Larsson once again came close from a free-kick which Robinson saved well.

Rovers came close in the 55th minute when Hoilett turned in the box and crossed for Santa Cruz, who headed against the top of the bar.

Rovers won a dangerous 75th-minute free-kick but Pedersen slammed a low shot into the Birmingham wall.

Rovers once again looked more likely to win it but clear-cut chances were few and far between in a scrappy final 10 minutes in which both sides' frustrations grew.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

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