Junior Hoilett's superb strike helped Blackburn improve their hopes of Premier League survival by beating Norwich.

The Canadian's curling effort beat John Ruddy after the break, to seal victory and reverse a run of five defeats on the trot.

Mauro Formica had given Rovers the lead from Morten Gamst Pedersen's cross after a strong first half performance from the Canaries.

But off-target efforts from Aaron Wilbraham and Ryan Bennett were as close as they came to scoring.

Blackburn Rovers run-in

29 Apr

Tottenham (a)

6 May

Wigan (h)

13 May

Chelsea (a)

Yakubu also hit a post before Blackburn took the lead and, although their status looked perilous heading into the match, victory gives Steve Kean's side a lift with a tough set of three games to come.

Blackburn travel to Tottenham and Chelsea, either side of a crucial home game against Wigan, so three points against Norwich was vital.

Kean praises Blackburn 'courage'

The victory lifted Rovers above Bolton and briefly level on points with QPR, although they went three points adrift of safety again after Rangers' 1-0 victory over Tottenham later on Saturday.

And though their fans were supportive throughout, there were constant reminders that relegation worries are outstripped by the ongoing concerns about the club's ownership.

Chants of "Steve Kean out" and [the club's owner's] "Venky's out" were more than a footnote of the club's state and supporters will cast an envious glance towards their opponents as the season comes to a finale.

Norwich actually started the game as though they were fighting Premier League relegation, such was their greater purpose and had justification to feel hard done by when they went in behind at the break.

Norwich City run-in

28 Apr

Liverpool (h)

5 May

Arsenal (a)

13 May

Aston Villa (h)

With James Vaughan returning to the attack for his first action since February, Norwich packed the midfield in a diamond formation and their fluency and higher tempo gave them the upper edge.

Grant Holt headed wide and had a shot blocked, while Jonny Howson tested Paul Robinson with a long-range shot.

But for all their possession and clever movement, they left gaps on the flanks which Blackburn eventually exploited.

Scott Dann was beaten to a header which whistled past the post and Yakubu almost scored a scruffy bicycle kick when he clipped Pedersen's knockback from a Hoilett cross.

Silly goals cost Norwich - Lambert

The Nigerian's effort was the cue for improvement, and two minutes later Rovers took an unexpected lead when Pedersen found Formica, who was unmarked at the back post.

Spurned on by their opener, Kean's side put further daylight between themselves and the visitors when Hoilett collected the ball on the left flank dribbled inside and unleashed a curling shot into the top corner.

And with Gael Givet back in the side, and looking commanding in defence after a reported fall out with the Rovers boss, his re-emergence will give Rovers hope they can avoid relegation.

Norwich boss Paul Lambert made changes on the hour mark and both substitute Wilbraham and Bennett were inches from scoring.

But, with 43 points, and clear of the relegation worries that still occupy Blackburn, they can bask in a season in which Rovers could have only hoped for.

Blackburn manager Steve Kean:

"Today was about the quality of Morten Gamst Pedersen and Mauro Formica which paid off. There were six or seven candidates for man of the match with Gael Givet and Scott Dann being fantastic.

"Performances like this with commitment and application, there is no reason why we can't get a result at any ground."

Norwich City manager Paul Lambert:

"It was a tough game for us but we didn't get going. It's been a long season for us and we gave away two silly goals despite having a lot of the ball in the first half.

"I can't fault the effort but the performance wasn't there. It's not many times I've said that this season."

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (6)

Blackburn

  • 01 Robinson
  • 05 Givet
  • 16 Dann
  • 18 Orr
  • 08 Dunn Booked (Mn Olsson - 62' )
  • 10 Formica
  • 12 Pedersen
  • 21 Ms Olsson
  • 35 Lowe
  • 23 Hoilett (Petrovic - 82' )
  • 24 Yakubu (Modeste - 76' )

Substitutes

  • 34 Kean
  • 03 Mn Olsson
  • 14 Petrovic
  • 15 Nzonzi
  • 09 Modeste
  • 20 Rochina
  • 25 Goodwillie

Norwich

  • 01 Ruddy
  • 02 R Martin
  • 03 Drury
  • 22 Ward
  • 33 R Bennett
  • 11 Surman
  • 14 Hoolahan (Pilkington - 59' )
  • 17 E Bennett
  • 24 Howson Booked
  • 08 Vaughan (Morison - 59' )
  • 09 Holt (Wilbraham - 66' )

Substitutes

  • 31 Steer
  • 25 Naughton
  • 04 Johnson
  • 12 Pilkington
  • 15 Fox
  • 05 Morison
  • 21 Wilbraham
Ref: Friend
Att: 23,218

Match Stats

Shots

9 12

On target

6 5

Corners

9 7

Fouls

8 13

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:05 Full time

Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.

90:00 +1:21

Aaron Wilbraham is ruled offside. Paul Robinson takes the free kick.

89:47

Steve Morison produces a cross, clearance by Scott Dann.

86:12

Andrew Surman gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Anthony Modeste. Scott Dann takes the direct free kick.

85:06

Aaron Wilbraham gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jason Lowe. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.

84:43

Radosav Petrovic takes a shot from 35+ yards. Save made by John Ruddy.

81:46

Direct free kick taken by Paul Robinson.

81:46 Substitution

Substitution Radosav Petrovic joins the action as a substitute, replacing David Hoilett.

81:46

Unfair challenge on Morten Gamst Pedersen by Andrew Surman results in a free kick.

80:21

Corner from the left by-line taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen, Header by Scott Dann from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.

79:42

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen, Anthony Modeste takes a shot. Blocked by Ryan Bennett.

77:16

Aaron Wilbraham gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Morten Gamst Pedersen. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.

75:05

Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.

75:05 Substitution

Substitution Ayegbeni Yakubu goes off and Anthony Modeste comes on.

75:05

Morten Gamst Pedersen fouled by Elliott Bennett, the ref awards a free kick.

74:28

Anthony Pilkington crosses the ball, clearance by Scott Dann.

73:06

Corner taken right-footed by Anthony Pilkington from the left by-line, Shot by Ryan Bennett from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.

72:48

Shot by Aaron Wilbraham from 18 yards. Brilliant save by Paul Robinson.

72:34

Morten Gamst Pedersen challenges Jonathan Howson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jonathan Howson takes the free kick.

71:07

Effort from inside the area by Anthony Pilkington misses to the right of the goal.

70:44

Marcus Olsson handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Russell Martin takes the free kick.

66:25

The official flags Ayegbeni Yakubu offside. John Ruddy takes the free kick.

65:52 Substitution

Substitution Aaron Wilbraham joins the action as a substitute, replacing Grant Holt.

63:17

Morten Gamst Pedersen takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Andrew Surman manages to make a clearance.

63:10

The ball is crossed by Marcus Olsson, Ryan Bennett makes a clearance.

61:58

Free kick awarded for a foul by Grant Holt on Paul Robinson. Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.

61:09 Substitution

Substitution Martin Olsson joins the action as a substitute, replacing David Dunn.

58:50

Corner taken left-footed by Andrew Surman from the right by-line, clearance made by Scott Dann.

58:16 Substitution

Substitution Anthony Pilkington replaces Wesley Hoolahan.

58:03 Substitution

Substitution Steve Morison comes on in place of James Vaughan.

57:57

The ball is swung over by Elliott Bennett, blocked by Marcus Olsson.

53:53

The ball is sent over by David Hoilett.

52:01

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen from the right by-line, clearance by Elliott Ward.

51:52

The ball is swung over by Mauro Formica, Adam Drury gets a block in.

49:48

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Adam Drury by David Hoilett. Andrew Surman restarts play with the free kick.

48:40

Assist by Marcus Olsson.

48:40 Goal scored

Goal! - David Hoilett - Blackburn 2 - 0 Norwich Goal scored by David Hoilett from outside the box to the top right corner of the goal. Blackburn 2-0 Norwich.

45:49

David Dunn concedes a free kick for a foul on Wesley Hoolahan. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Andrew Surman from right wing, Scott Dann manages to make a clearance.

45:01

The referee gets the second half underway.

45:00 +2:13 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.

45:00 +1:44

Elliott Bennett produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.

45:00 +1:28

Unfair challenge on James Vaughan by Morten Gamst Pedersen results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Elliott Bennett.

43:54

Free kick awarded for a foul by David Hoilett on Adam Drury. Free kick crossed left-footed by Andrew Surman.

41:45

Grant Holt concedes a free kick for a foul on Marcus Olsson. Paul Robinson restarts play with the free kick.

40:26

The ball is delivered by Morten Gamst Pedersen,

40:22

Assist on the goal came from Morten Gamst Pedersen.

40:22 Goal scored

Goal! - Mauro Formica - Blackburn 1 - 0 Norwich Mauro Formica fires in a goal from close range low into the middle of the goal. Blackburn 1-0 Norwich.

37:56

David Hoilett is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Adam Drury restarts play with the free kick.

37:31

Ayegbeni Yakubu takes a shot from inside the six-yard box that bounces off the post.

37:26

David Hoilett sends in a cross.

36:16

Russell Martin crosses the ball, Grant Holt produces a header from close range which goes wide of the left-hand post.

34:40

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen played to the near post, Andrew Surman manages to make a clearance.

34:22

Shot from 12 yards by Mauro Formica. Blocked by Adam Drury.

34:09 Booking

Booking Booking for Jonathan Howson.

33:39

Mauro Formica fouled by Jonathan Howson, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Paul Robinson.

32:46

Corner from left by-line taken by Andrew Surman.

32:39

Adam Drury sends in a cross, Gael Givet gets a block in.

31:30

Corner taken by Andrew Surman, Headed effort from inside the box by Ryan Bennett misses to the right of the target.

31:17

Wesley Hoolahan has an effort at goal from 25 yards. Scott Dann gets a block in.

30:58

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Andrew Surman from the right by-line, clearance by Scott Dann.

30:41

Effort from 30 yards by Jonathan Howson. Save by Paul Robinson.

29:02

Morten Gamst Pedersen takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance by Andrew Surman.

28:53

Mauro Formica takes a shot. Blocked by Adam Drury.

27:38

Corner from the left by-line taken by Elliott Bennett, Ryan Bennett challenges Scott Dann unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paul Robinson takes the free kick.

27:11

Free kick crossed left-footed by Andrew Surman from left wing, Scott Dann makes a clearance.

27:11 Booking

Booking David Dunn receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

26:58

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Elliott Bennett by David Dunn.

24:59

A cross is delivered by Adam Drury.

24:11

The ball is swung over by Grant Holt, save by Paul Robinson.

23:18

The official flags Ayegbeni Yakubu offside. John Ruddy restarts play with the free kick.

22:21

The ball is swung over by Russell Martin, clearance by Bradley Orr.

21:36

A cross is delivered by David Hoilett, save by John Ruddy.

18:56

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen, save made by John Ruddy.

18:33

The ball is sent over by David Dunn, Ryan Bennett manages to make a clearance.

16:57

Free kick awarded for a foul by James Vaughan on Gael Givet. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.

15:54

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Dunn by James Vaughan. Direct free kick taken by Paul Robinson.

14:16

David Hoilett concedes a free kick for a foul on Russell Martin. John Ruddy takes the free kick.

12:59

Shot from just outside the penalty area by Mauro Formica misses to the left of the target.

12:21

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Dunn by Grant Holt. Paul Robinson takes the direct free kick.

10:35

Ryan Bennett challenges Ayegbeni Yakubu unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen, clearance by Russell Martin.

9:23

Elliott Bennett crosses the ball, Scott Dann makes a clearance.

8:22

The ball is crossed by Andrew Surman, Scott Dann makes a clearance.

7:56

Drilled right-footed shot by Grant Holt. Paul Robinson makes a brilliant save.

7:13

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Wesley Hoolahan by Jason Lowe. Free kick taken by Elliott Ward.

6:15

Morten Gamst Pedersen takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Adam Drury.

5:19

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen, clearance made by Grant Holt.

5:12

The ball is crossed by Bradley Orr, clearance by Russell Martin.

5:01

Centre by Mauro Formica, clearance by Elliott Ward.

3:33

Elliott Bennett has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the target.

3:18

Grant Holt has an effort at goal from 18 yards. Blocked by Scott Dann.

2:14

The referee blows for offside. John Ruddy takes the free kick.

0:37

Corner taken left-footed by Andrew Surman, Grant Holt produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

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