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  • 24 October 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Ewood Park, Blackburn, Lancashire
  • Referee: P. Gibbs
  • • Attendance: 13782

Blackburn 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday: Early Hanley strike moves Rovers into top five

Blackburn 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday: Early Hanley strike moves Rovers into top five

Caretaker boss Eric Black gained his first win in six attempts as the Lancashire side moved into the Championship play-off places while the Owls remain in the relegation zone

A Grant Hanley goal after just two minutes proved enough for Blackburn to take three points against Sheffield Wednesday on a nervy night at Ewood Park.

The Lancashire side moved to fifth in the Championship with victory, but Wednesday remain stuck in the relegation zone due to their defeat.

Caretaker boss Eric Black was encouraged enough by Rovers’ battling point at Derby at the weekend to make just one change, with Hanley handed a rare start replacing Morten Gamst Pedersen, who dropped to the bench.

Wednesday made three changes from the side which drew with Leeds at Hillsborough last Friday, with Jermaine Johnson and Gary Madine replacing Jay Bothroyd and Chris O’Grady in attack, and Mark Taylor coming in for the injured Anthony Gardner.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Chris Kirkland kept his place between the sticks despite being felled by a spectator’s punch in the aftermath of Leeds’ equaliser.

In a rip-roaring start, it was the visitors who should have drawn first blood, but Madine headed over from close range from a darting Paul Corry cross.

It was to prove a costly miss because within sixty seconds Rovers were in front. Veteran midfielder David Dunn might have lost some of the industry of his younger days, but he is still a class act and shrugged off Ross Barkley before firing over a low cross that was tapped home by Hanley.

It could have been worse for the Owls almost immediately, but Colin Kazim-Richards volleyed a Gael Givet cross wide at the back post.

It took the visitors until the half-hour mark to begin to challenge Rovers’ lead. Miguel Llera fired a free-kick narrowly wide of the target after Bradley Orr fouled Michail Antonio on the edge of the box. Just a minute later, Antonio wasted a glorious chance when he volleyed wide from 15 yards with just Paul Robinson to beat.

Rovers suffered a setback when Dunn limped off on 34 minutes with a leg injury to be replaced by Ruben Rochina, but the Spaniard announced his presence with a rasping 30-yard drive that Kirkland did well to parry wide.

The impressive Llera looked the Owls’ most likely route back to parity and almost delivered within two minutes of the restart, but his back post header sailed just wide of the post.

Rovers were now playing second fiddle to their South Yorkshire opponents but they continued to threaten on the break and another Rochina fierce drive warmed Kirkland’s hands on a cool Lancastrian night.

The game lost much of its flow in a bitty second period but Rovers almost tied up the points late on when substitute Pedersen’s 25-yard free-kick was cleared off the line by Llera before the impressive Rochina fired just over after a lung-bursting run.