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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 October 2007, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Blackburn 4-2 Reading
By Jamie Lillywhite

Benni McCarthy
McCarthy formed a deadly partnership with Santa Cruz
Two goals from Benni McCarthy helped Blackburn to an impressive victory.

Three strikes in 14 first-half minutes put Rovers in command, McCarthy firing in the opener from a narrow angle.

With the home side playing some neat football, Roque Santa Cruz finished off an intricate move, quickly followed by a 30-yard thunderbolt from Tugay.

As Blackburn faded, Kevin Doyle twice headed in from close range either side of McCarthy drilling in a penalty after substitute Matt Derbyshire was fouled.

Reading had never previously won at Ewood Park and it quickly became apparent that unfortunate record was not going to change in this fixture.

After a low-key start, Royals keeper Marcus Hahnemann had to keep out long range efforts from Christopher Samba and David Bentley but it was not long before Rovers took the lead.

Brett Emerton's deep cross from the right was headed back across goal by Santa Cruz for McCarthy to volley in acrobatically at the far post.

Some intricate one-touch build-up play allowed David Dunn to thread a pass through to Santa Cruz who drilled a low shot through Hahnemann.

With Reading offering little in attack it was the home side who looked most likely to score again, and it came in the form of another memorable strike from Turkish midfielder Tugay.

The 37-year-old fired a swerving 30-yard effort that dipped late, although Hahnemann would have been disappointed not to get a touch on the ball in an awkward-looking effort.

606: DEBATE
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Reading clearly needed to get something back before the break, and Andre Bikey spurned a golden opportunity six yards out when he headed a neat cross from Dave Kitson straight at Brad Friedel with the goal at his mercy.

Indeed there might have been another for Rovers before the interval, with Samba heading a David Bentley corner wide when unchallenged at the far post.

Blackburn's impressive strikeforce combined well again in the early seconds of the second half when a neat lay-off from Santa Cruz found McCarthy in space but his 20-yard effort, although slightly deflected, was straight at Hahnemann and held by the goalkeeper.

Reading boss Steve Coppell, who had watched the first half from the stand with increasing disenchantment, brought on England Under 21 striker Leroy Lita at the interval and his 20-yard strike was smartly pushed aside by Friedel.

With Blackburn unable to maintain the tempo Michael Duberry headed against the bar for the visitors and a lunging Steve Hunt was just unable to divert Ibrahima Sonko's header into the net two yards out.

Coppell's men deservedly got on the scoresheet when Doyle brushed off the attentions of the Rovers defence to nod in.

After McCarthy's penalty following a trip by Ibrahim Sonko negated any hope of a dramatic comeback, Doyle gave the scoreline respectability with another close-range header.


  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
    "We played some great stuff, especially in the first half, with some excellent attacking play.

    "It's always hard coming out again and our intensity dropped but apart from that we were excellent.

    "There's a lot of confidence in the squad."

  • Reading manager Steve Coppell:
    "It's me, it's my fault. I chose the wrong way of playing, 100%.

    "I fiddled around with the team and the consequences were all too evident.

    "At half-time we changed to a more familiar shape and did a lot better."


    Blackburn: Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Ooijer, Warnock (Khizanishvili 54), Bentley, Savage, Kerimoglu, Dunn (Pedersen 66), Santa Cruz (Derbyshire 77), McCarthy.
    Subs Not Used: Brown, Mokoena.

    Goals: McCarthy 18, Santa Cruz 22, Kerimoglu 32, McCarthy 82 pen.

    Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Duberry, Shorey, Bikey (Lita 46), Harper, Fae (Doyle 64), Rosenior (Gunnarsson 46), Kitson, Hunt.
    Subs Not Used: Federici, Ingimarsson.

    Goals: Doyle 80, 90.

    Att: 19,425

    Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).



    SEE ALSO
    Live - Premier League
    20 Oct 07 |  Premier League
    Saturday's football photos
    20 Oct 07 |  Football


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