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MATCH REPORT: TOWN 2 BLACKBURN 0

15 March 2016

Murphy double on his birthday takes Town to the brink of the Play-Off places

Daryl Murphy celebrated his birthday in style with a brace to take Town to within a point of the Play-Offs. 

The striker, who turned 33 today, buried a penalty on 66 minutes after he had been fouled as he attacked a corner, then seized on a pass from Luke Varney five minutes from time to seal the win. 

Murphy carried the main threat for Mick McCarthy’s side throughout and could have had a first-half opener if his goalbound strike had not hit Freddie Sears six yards out. 

Town made two changes to the side that went down at Cardiff at the weekend, Jonathan Douglas and Brett Pitman coming in for Ben Pringle and Kevin Bru. 

Murphy warmed Jason Steele’s hands with a 25 yarder that the ‘keeper beat away as Blues began with a three pronged attack, Pitman operating just off Freddie Sears and Murphy.

It needed the agility of Bart Bialkowski to keep out Rovers opening the scoring on eight minutes though, the ‘keeper palming away Simeon Jackson’s deft flick that was destined for the bottom corner.

The Polish stopper was in action seconds later, tipping over Elliott Bennett’s free-kick from 40 yards that beat everyone and looked to be on its way in. 

Douglas headed wide from Jonas Knudsen’s cross, then at the other end Hope Akpan fired over from the edge of the box after a neat move.

Knudsen’s cross was cleared by Grant Hanley at full stretch, Pitman then seeing his drive punched to safety by the diving Steele.

Douglas almost weaved his way to goal after Sears tried to set him up, Bialkowski beating out Matt Grimes’ effort in an even first 30 minutes. 

Murphy’s shot looked destined to give Town the lead until it hit Sears six yards out,  Sears then going down in the box but referee Iain Williamson not interested in the penalty shouts as the half drew to a close goalless. 

Murphy again went close with an explosive left foot strike from the angle of the box, the ball beating Steele but also the far post as Blues pressed for an early breakthrough in the second-half. 

Luke Hyam almost found Pitman as the Rovers defence opened up, Jackson firing high and wide as the visitors responded. 

Sears had shot blocked after Knudsen found him 25 yards out, Chris Brown off target for Rovers after good work by Adam Henley as the points hung in the balance.

Varney replaced Pitman in Town’s first change, Sears then sending a free-kick into the wall and from the resultant corner, Murphy was hauled back and referee Williamson pointed straight to the spot, the Republic of Ireland international doing the rest with an excellent penalty.  

Rovers made a double change for the last 15 minutes, Jordi Gomez and Tony Watt on for Grimes and Jackson, Blues also replacing Cole Skuse with Kevin Foley.

Watt found the sidenetting as Rovers searched for an equaliser but it was Town who sealed the game five minutes from time, Varney the architect with a run and pass that found Murphy and the frontman cut inside Hanley and buried his shot in the net. 

The win takes Town to eighth in the table, a point from the top six with Rotherham at home on Saturday. 
 
Town: Bialkowski, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Skuse (Foley 75), Douglas, Hyam, Pitman (Varney 63, Digby 90), Sears, Murphy. Subs not used: Gerken, Bru, Pringle, Toure. Booked: Douglas. 

Blackburn: Steele, Henley, Spurr, Hanley, Duffy, Akpan, Grimes (Gomez 74), Evans (Lenihan 46), Bennett, Brown, Jackson (Watt 74). Subs not used: Raya, Conway, Ward, Marshall. Booked: Evans.
Att: 16,488









 









 
 



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