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  • 13 August 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • Ewood Park, Blackburn, Lancashire
  • Referee: K. Friend
  • • Attendance: 21996
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Blackburn 1-2 Wolves: Fletcher & Ward strike as visitors come from behind to hand Rovers a nightmare start

Blackburn 1-2 Wolves: Fletcher & Ward strike as visitors come from behind to hand Rovers a nightmare start

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Mick McCarthy's men record opening day victory thanks to goals either side of the break as they begin new season with an impressive away win and all three points

Wolves recorded their first victory over Blackburn in nine attempts with a 2-1 victory at Ewood Park.

Goals from Steven Fletcher and Stephen Ward cancelled out Mauro Formica’s 20th minute opener to give Mick McCarthy’s side the perfect start to the season and put pressure on Rovers boss Steve Kean already.

In a fairly even affair Rovers took the lead through Argentine striker Formica but it was then all Wolves as the visitors created numerous chances, with Fletcher getting them level before Ward fired in a left foot volley after Kevin Doyle had missed a penalty.

None of Blackburn’s three summer signings started for Steve Kean but David Goodwillie and Bruno Ribeiro were both named on the subs bench. A defensive crisis saw youngster Grant Hanley start at the centre of defence alongside Steven N'Zonzi in the absence of Christopher Samba and Ryan Nelsen.

Mick McCarthy put new signings Roger Johnson and Jamie O’Hara straight into his starting line-up, and Johnson also wore the captain’s armband. McCarthy lined up with a 4-4-2 formation with Fletcher and Kevin Doyle leading the line, with Karl Henry joining up with Jamie O’Hara in the centre of midfield.

The game began in a lively fashion but it was the home side who had the first chance of the match in the third minute through Junior Hoilett. Morten Gamst Pedersen played a wonderful right wing cross towards the winger at the back post but Hoilett’s effort was cleared off the line by a fantastic save from Hennessey, and in the ensuing goalmouth scramble Rovers couldn’t force the ball over the line.

However 17 minutes later Rovers did open the scoring through debutant Formica, although all the credit should go to Jason Roberts. The striker battled for a long ball over the top of the Wolves defence before laying the ball right into the path of the Argentine who calmly slotted the ball past Hennessey, the Wolves keeper managed to get a hand on the low shot but it wasn't enough to stop the ball rolling over the line.

That goal seemed to spark the visitors into life and with their first real attack they equalised through Fletcher. Richard Stearman and Matt Jarvis combined down the right before Jarvis lifted the ball to the back post where Fletcher out-jumped Salgado to head past Robinson

Six minutes after equalising Wolves had a fantastic chance to take the lead but Stephen Hunt was unable to capitalise on some good fortune. The Irish winger controlled a Stephen Ward cross from the right and got a little bit of luck to beat Salgado on the edge of the penalty area but he blasted the ball over the bar from 15 yards.

The visitors were very much in the ascendancy now and they had another great chance to take the lead through Johnson. A flowing move saw O’Hara find Doyle on the right wing, the Irishman’s cross was too strong for Fletcher but it was met by Johnson, the defender beat N'Zonzi in the air but was unable to keep his header down.

Wolves began the second half as they had finished the first and in the first minute they took the lead for the first time in the match through Ward. Fletcher charged at the Blackburn defence before releasing Jarvis inside the penalty area, he tried to go past Salgado but the Spaniard brought him down. Kevin Doyle's spot kick was saved by Robinson but when the ball was cleared to the edge of the penalty area Ward rifled in a left foot volley.

In the 66th minute Blackburn had their first real chance of the second half when Hanley won a challenge from a right wing corner, the ball dropped to N'Zonzi who headed towards goal and Roberts instinctively swung a leg at it but couldn’t divert it on goal.

Rovers were throwing everything at Wolves and after a mazy dribble Hoilett rolled the ball into the path of substitute Ruben Rochina but the Spaniard's low left foot strike from the edge of the area was just wide of Hennessey’s right hand post.

Twelve minutes after coming on as a substitute David Goodwillie came closest to getting Rovers level, he jinked inside two defenders before firing a low right foot shot just wide of Hennessey’s far post. The Scottish striker’s pace and trickery created the space and he was unlucky not to register a debut goal as Rovers slumped to defeat.

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