Rhodes double extends Town's poor run at Ewood ParkTown’s miserable run at Ewood Park continued as Jordan Rhodes haunted Blues once more.
Town had not won at Blackburn in the League since 1991 and that record looked likely to be extended as early as 15 minutes into the game.
By that time Rhodes had struck twice - his first from the penalty spot, the second an excellent header. It took his tally to five goals in four home games for Rovers against Blues, who he left in 2009 and proved the difference between the two teams.
Town made two changes from the side that drew with Bristol City last weekend, the injured Ryan Fraser and illness victim Jonas Knudsen replaced by Larsen Toure and Jonathan Parr.
Toure was prominent in the opening five minutes, almost getting on the end of Freddie Sears’ cross, then winning a corner that was cleared by Grant Hanley.
Luke Chambers’ trickery won a free-kick that was headed over by Daryl Murphy, the skipper showing his more accustomed defensive side to prevent Craig Conway getting in.
Rovers had a penalty claim for handball turned down by referee Andre Marriner on 11 minutes but seconds later Toure was judged to have fouled Hope Akpan and Rhodes made no mistake from the spot.
The Scotland international extended Blackburn’s lead five minutes later, guiding his header into the net from a corner, giving Dean Gerken no chance.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent a free-kick into the wall as Blues looked to make in-roads into the game, Parr’s cross cleared by Akpay.
Tommy Smith was alert to stop the danger from Rhodes, Adam Henley doing well to stop Maitland-Niles finding Parr inside the Blackburn box at the other end.
Chambers got in the way of Craig Conway’s strike after Rovers broke, Hanley heading wide from the resultant corner.
Conway sent a shot wide of Gerken’s right hand post, Jason Steele off his line quickly to gather from Toure’s cross, the ‘keeper then getting down well to save from Murphy’s low drive in the last effort of the first-half.
Town started the second-half positively, Sears forcing a corner, then Steele holding firm from Christophe Berra’s effort.
David McGoldrick replaced Toure on 52 minutes in Town’s first change, Rovers then enjoying a flurry of activity around the Blues’ goal, Markus Olsson showing a great touch with a chip that just evaded Ben Marshall at the far post, Hanley denied by Chambers.
Brett Pitman came on for Maitland-Niles as Mick McCarthy shuffled his pack, McGoldrick releasing Sears with a simple but effective pass that forced a corner, the former Nottingham Forest striker heading over from the flag-kick as he looked to make an immediate impact in the game.
Rhodes was a coat of paint away from his hat-trick on the hour, his right foot effort smashing against the woodwork, then Sears was denied by Steele’s feet after a terrific run.
Steele palmed Chambers’ ferocious strike from 30 yards to safety as Town pressed for a lifeline but it took the feet of Gerken to keep Blues in the game, the ‘keeper denying Henley from close range.
McGoldrick showed a lovely touch to lose his man but Hanley was in the right place to prevent him finding Murphy, the Rovers skipper heading over at the other end as he looked to seal the win for the hosts.
Gerken produced a wonder save to keep out Rhodes on 80 minutes, the ‘keeper at full stretch to tip away the header before Town made a final change, Tommy Oar on for his Championship debut.
Parr almost got in during the final moments but it was too little, too late for Town as Rhodes’ early brace proved decisive.
Blackburn: Steele, Henley, Hanley, Duffy, Olsson, Lawrence (Williamson 89), Akpan, Evans, Conway, Marshall, Rhodes. Subs not used: Raya, Spurr, Taylor, Petshi, Lenhan, Delfouneso. Booked; Evans, Henley.
Town: Gerken, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Parr, Skuse, Douglas, Maitland-Niles (Pitman 58), Toure (McGoldrick 52), Sears, Murphy (Oar 80). Subs not used: Bialkowski, Malarczyk, Emmanuel, Bru. Booked: Toure, Maitland-Niles, Berra.
Att: 12, 672