Inventive Hoilett shows Blackburn what they'll be missing

Blackburn 2 Sunderland 0

Blackburn forward Junior Hoilett's time at Ewood Park could well be
coming to end shortly but his parting gift could yet be to keep the club
in the Barclays Premier League.

The 21-year-old, who seems increasingly unlikely to renew a contract which expires on the summer, scored the crucial opening goal against Sunderland as Rovers moved six points clear of the relegation zone.

Hoilett's contribution in recent weeks has been invaluable. He struck twice against Wolves in their previous outing and his well-taken volley just before the hour tonight was followed by a late header from Ayegbeni Yakubu to give Rovers an important victory with nine games remaining.

Hoilett looked the most inventive of Blackburn's players on the night and although manager Steve Kean still speaks optimistically about keeping him beyond the end of the season there are bigger clubs waiting in the wings to snap up his prize asset.

The man-of-the-match aside, Rovers laboured in the first half as Sunderland - with only two changes from the side which drew at Everton on Saturday - looked like they were feeling the after-effects of their FA Cup quarter-final exertions.

The home side had spent some of the 10 days since the 2-0 win at Wolves on a team-building break in Yorkshire and they certainly looked fresher.

But they failed to capitalise on that and some sluggish play let the Black Cats off the hook as the visitors finished the first half much more composed than they started it.

It was a similar tale after the break until Hoilett's quality broke the deadlock, although Sunderland substitute Ji Dong-won will be wondering how he missed an open goal from four yards late on just before Yakubu added the decisive second.

Players from both sides showed Fabrice Muamba was on their minds as they wore 'Pray for Muamba' T-shirts in the warm up

When the action started Blackburn threatened after only three minutes when Hoilett slipped a pass through to Yakubu - whose shot was only half-saved by goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and had it not been for Phil Bardsley getting back to hook clear the ball would have crept inside the near post.

The Olsson brothers, Martin and Marcus, initially looked like posing a threat down the left with the former exchanging passes with his elder brother before racing into the penalty area to shoot from the narrowest of angles and then firing over the rebound.

Grant Hanley flashed a near-post header over from Morten Gamst Pedersen's set-piece, Hoilett drilled two attempts from a free-kick into the defensive wall and Mauro Formica volleyed wide.

Sunderland's one half-chance came in the 35th minute when James McClean swung in a pinpoint first-time cross from the left to Fraizer Campbell and only a perfectly-timed tackle from Hanley prevented the striker unleashing a shot from 10 yards.

Blackburn were the first to show in the second half with Formica meeting Pedersen's cross after the first bounce to fire in a shot which Mignolet turned behind.

But the Sunderland goalkeeper was partly at fault for Rovers' opener in the 59th minute, although credit must go to Hoilett for his instinctive finish.

Pedersen directed his long throw at the six-yard box but Mignolet's punch went straight to Hoilett, who volleyed the ball straight back into the net.

Another Pedersen long throw three minutes later saw Scott Dann head just wide of the far post as Rovers tried to press home their advantage.

Martin Olsson produced a crucial tackle to beat Nicklas Bendtner to the ball just three yards out and prevent a certain equaliser but substitute Ji should have levelled things up from close range in the 77th minute from McClean's centre.

Four minutes from time the result was assured when Rovers substitute Bradley Orr crossed for Yakubu to head home his 14th league goal.

It clinched back-to-back victories for the first time since November 2010 and Rovers' first successive clean sheets since August that year, further raising hopes of escaping relegation.

PA

Sport
Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
News
i100
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

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone