Racist chants sully brilliant Blackburn comeback

Blackburn Rovers 3 - Birmingham City 3

Racism reared its foul-mouthed head again at Ewood Park yesterday when Dwight Yorke, Birmingham City's former Blackburn Rovers striker, claimed he was the victim of "monkey" noises of the kind that stained England's game in Spain.

Racism reared its foul-mouthed head again at Ewood Park yesterday when Dwight Yorke, Birmingham City's former Blackburn Rovers striker, claimed he was the victim of "monkey" noises of the kind that stained England's game in Spain.

Steve Bruce, the Birmingham manager, said a handful of fans were involved in vilifying Yorke as he warmed up prior to appearing as a substitute. The former Trinidad & Tobago international had been subjected to the routine booing most players receive on returning to their former club, but in one corner of the ground the abuse apparently became racist in character. Blackburn promised to investigate the incident "thoroughly" today.

Badly, wretchedly, the episode tarnished a hugely entertaining first managerial collision of two of Sir Alex Ferguson's favourite sons, an end-to-end battle befitting their image as grizzled Premiership warriors.

Mark Hughes, dapper in a dark suit, and Bruce, attired in a black tracksuit, patrolled the technical area in the agitated manner of their mentor as Blackburn and Birmingham matched each other blow for blow in what must already be billed as a relegation six-pointer.

Blackburn started and finished in the ascendant. However, they defended abysmally in between and were ultimately disappointed not to gain their second win in the nine games since Hughes succeeded Graeme Souness. Birmingham at least rediscovered the art of scoring goals but, having come from behind to lead 3-1 by the break, they anticipated a third victory of the season rather than the rearguard action that ensued.

Blackburn were ahead inside three minutes. Steven Reid brushed off Julian Gray to cross from the right, Paul Dickov stepping over the ball to enable Matt Jansen to score with from just inside the penalty area.

Birmingham had come into the match with only eight League goals - the worst total of all 92 League clubs - yet proceeded to score three times in a 28-minute spell leading up to half-time. Darren Anderton, the match-winner at Liverpool in their previous away match, equalised from close range after the former Blackburn player David Dunn had laid off a low cross by Jesper Gronkjaer.

Robbie Savage, the linchpin of Hughes' Wales team and reputedly a target for the new Blackburn manager, put Birmingham in front with a hooked shot after Steven Reid cleared Mario Melchiot's cross into his path six yards from goal.

The game seemed to be up for Blackburn after Melchiot, again exploiting the poor positional sense of the home left back Jay McEveley, delivered a cross which Clinton Morrison dummied for Dunn to convert. Two substitutions by Hughes were instrumental in Blackburn clawing their way back into the contest. David Thompson's first touch, a marvellous volleyed pass, sent Reid scampering through to reduce the arrears with a deflected shot.

Then it was the turn of the injured Jansen's replacement, Paul Gallagher, to force the ball over the line after the relentlessly waspish Dickov had surged through Birmingham's defence in pursuit of Barry Ferguson's long pass.

Savage sent a bicycle kick against a post with 14 minutes remaining; Thompson and Reid tested Maik Taylor with fierce long-range shots; and Dickov, played in by Ferguson, had the chance to win it and lift Blackburn out of the bottom three in stoppage time but failed to angle the ball past Taylor as he hurtled off his line.

Pulsating fare, but attention in the aftermath of Madrid will focus on the vitriol to which Yorke alleged he was subjected.

Goals: Jansen (3) 1-0; Anderton (17) 1-1; Savage (38) 1-2; Dunn (45) 1-3; Reid (57) 2-3; Gallagher (64) 3-3.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Friedel; Neill, Todd, Johansson, McEveley; Reid, Ferguson, Tugay (Thompson, 57), Emerton; Dickov, Jansen (Gallagher, 45). Substitutes not used: Pedersen, Matteo, Enckelman (gk).

Birmingham City (4-4-1-1): Maik Taylor; Melchiot, Cunningham, Upson, Gray; Johnson, Savage, Anderton (Yorke, 74), Gronkjaer; Dunn (Clemence, 82); Morrison (Clapham, 65). Substitutes not used: Martin Taylor, Vaesen (gk).

Referee: N Barry (North Lincolnshire).

Booked: Blackburn Rovers: Ferguson. Birmingham City: Johnson

Man of the match: Dickov.

Attendance: 20,290.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
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

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015