Lampard leap keeps Kean in firing line

Blackburn Rovers 0 Chelsea 1: In-form midfielder ends Chelsea's losing run as Torres adds another howler to season's miss-list

Ewood Park

A match which was in serious danger of disappearing into a quagmire of apathy and ineptitude was mercifully rescued by Frank Lampard's latest demonstration of predatory finishing.

The England midfielder's instinctive plunge to meet a low cross from Branislav Ivanovic gave Chelsea welcome respite from their mini-crisis as the international break beckons. It had the opposite effect on Blackburn Rovers, endorsing their depressing start to the campaign and keeping the heat on their beleaguered manager, Steve Kean.

The campaign by Rovers supporters to rid themselves of the manager who has earned them 28 points from a possible 96 since taking over from Sam Allardyce captured the attention during a first period almost devoid of entertaining moments despite being extended by seven minutes due to Chelsea's goalkeeper Petr Cech requiring prolonged treatment for a broken nose.

During that seemingly interminable stoppage – of the football, not the bleeding – the 21,985 fans were kept awake by the buzzing of a light aircraft which was commissioned, apparently for a fee of £500, by parts of a disgruntled Ewood Park crowd who were prevented from bringing their own protest banners to the ground.

Kean insisted that he was not looking skywards as he waited for Cech to be cleared to play on. "What did the banner say?" he asked. "Steve Kean out!" came the blunt reply, to sheepish press room giggles.

Kean shrugged off that imaginative sacking call as he has during similar displays of dissatisfaction during most of his tenure. "I don't want to sound like a broken record but I am confident that we can go on an unbeaten run very soon," he said, mindful of a forthcoming fixture list which is far more appealing than the one his team has faced so far this season.

"If we continue to play as well as we did today against a very strong Chelsea team who have taken a lot of money to assemble then we should be able to start climbing the table before much longer."

Kean had a point and the pressure he is experiencing could easily have been heaped heavily on his Stamford Bridge counterpart, Andre Villas-Boas, if Rovers had enjoyed a modicum of good fortune in front of goal.

On several occasions they threatened to embarrass the groggy Cech, whose reputation as the Premier League's most accomplished goalkeeper has been indelibly tarnished this term.

Cech, praised by his manager for his bravery and commitment to the cause, was ultimately able to celebrate a first clean sheet since the opening day draw at Stoke but that, he will acknowledge, was due more to luck than judgement. That was especially so when the big goalkeeper failed to deal with a blistering free-kick from Morten Gamst Pedersen and parried it straight to the onrushing Grant Hanley who pushed the follow-up attempt straight at a grateful Cech.

With Yakubu also failing to capitalise on a glittering opportunity carved out by Junior Hoilett's through ball to Mauro Formica and, Ivanovic heading against his own crossbar in a desperate attempt to prevent Gaël Givet from equalising, Kean was justified in claiming that his men deserved a point at the very least.

Villas-Boas hinted at his agreement with that claim. "Blackburn had several good chances and we were glad that we could keep them out," he said. "This is never an easy place to come to as Arsenal discovered recently and we are pleased to get the result after our back-to-back Premier League defeats."

The Chelsea manager's minders protected him from fielding questions about John Terry, restored to duty after his Champions' League lay-off, as investigations continue into alleged racist comments during the defeat at QPR. Theban extended to prohibiting speculation about the England captaincy for the friendlies against Spain and Sweden.

Villas-Boas was instead happy to talk affectionately about another of England's stalwarts, Lampard, who, despite coming under criticism and being left out by Villas-Boas early in the season, is comfortably his club's leading scorer with seven goals. "Frank found his timing to arrive in the box just like the old days" said the manager about the game's decisive moment.

Fernando Torres, the £50m striker Villas-Boas inherited from Carlo Ancelotti, should be at least level with Lampard by now. His horrifying miss against Manchester United at Old Trafford now has company in the list of the season's blunders following the Spaniard's spooning over the bar of anAshley Cole cross from inside the six-yard box.

"We badly needed a second goal to ease the late pressure and it was a pity Fernando could not provide it," was Villas-Boas's view.

Blackburn (4-5-1): Robinson; Lowe, Samba (Hanley, 45), Givet, Olsson; Rochina (Dunn, 71), Formica, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Hoilett; Yakubu.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Cole; Ramires (Romeu, 90), Mikel, Lampard; Mata (Meireles, 82), Sturridge, Malouda (Torres, h-t).

Referee: Mike Dean

Man of the match: Lampard (Chelsea)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor