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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 December 2007, 15:30 GMT
Derby 1-2 Blackburn
By David McIntyre

Blackburn celebrate David Bentley's winner
Bentley caused Derby problems throughout the match
David Bentley netted a first-half winner for Blackburn to condemn bottom club Derby County to another defeat.

Derby went ahead when Giles Barnes' lay-off found Matt Oakley, who shot through keeper Brad Friedel's legs.

Friedel then saved Steve Howard's penalty after Ryan Nelsen was adjudged to have fouled Kenny Miller.

Roque Santa Cruz tapped in an equaliser after keeper Lewis Price parried Benni McCarthy's shot. Bentley then fired in from 25 yards and later hit the post.

The victory was Blackburn's first in six matches and came after boss Mark Hughes left Robbie Savage out of his squad because of a tight hamstring after completing a suspension.

Rovers still had more than enough for rock-bottom Derby, despite the Rams going ahead completely against the run of play on 27 minutes.


Blackburn had been dominant up to that point and Cruz was denied an early goal when his near-post header from Bentley's corner was hacked off the line by Tyrone Mears.

McCarthy - back in the Rovers starting line-up after a four-game absence - turned and fired straight at Price, before Cruz again thought he had put his team ahead.

Cruz headed Bentley's left-wing delivery into the net but his effort was ruled out because the cross had curled out of play.

Derby were barely able to get out of their own half before scoring with their first attack of the game.

Mears found space on the right and drilled the ball into the area, where Barnes' deft touch set up Oakley for his third goal of the season.

Derby were given a chance to double the lead when Nelsen brought down Miller, but Friedel dived to his right to keep out Howard's resultant penalty.

Friedel's save proved to be crucial as six minutes later, Blackburn were ahead.

McCarthy brought down Bentley's right-wing cross and when Price managed to parry the South African's close-range shot, Cruz was presented with an empty net and made no mistake.

It was the in-form Santa Cruz's eighth goal in five matches.

Blackburn celebrate
Blackburn celebrate Roque Santa Cruz's equaliser

Then Bentley pounced on a loose ball and fired into the bottom corner to seal the points for Rovers.

Derby, already without a number of players, had to replace the injured Dean Leacock with Benny Feilhaber at half-time but made a spirited start to the second period.

Feilhaber had a shot pushed away by Friedel, who also dived at the feet of Miller after the striker failed to control Eddie Lewis' threaded pass.

But Rovers always looked dangerous and Price had to save with his legs to deny McCarthy after he had been picked out by Bentley.

Price tipped over a header from Cruz, who then had an effort cleared off the line by Oakley as Blackburn continued to push for a third goal.

Bentley came close to getting it when his right-foot shot beat Lewis but came back off the woodwork.

Defender Claude Davis missed Derby's best chance of an equaliser when he headed substitute Jon Macken's 87th-minute cross wide of the target.

The defeat was Derby's seventh at home this season and leaves them eight points adrift at the foot of the Premier League.

  • Derby manager Paul Jewell:
    "We're not good enough - it's as simple as that. Some of the things that go on on the pitch among this group of players just beggars belief at times.

    "The sooner we can try and get some people in here to try and eradicate that, or certainly improve on what we've got, the better team we'll be.

    "We're bottom of the league, don't score goals, concede unbelievably bad goals, and you get punished in this league."

  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
    "We showed great character. It was a great response from us after going behind.

    "We're delighted with that win. It's been a decent period for us over the last week or so.

    "We've shown great courage in coming back and if we had taken our chances we would have won more comfortably."

    Derby: Price, Mears, Davis, Johnson (Fagan 58), McEveley, Barnes, Oakley, Leacock (Feilhaber 45), Lewis, Howard, Miller (Macken 79).
    Subs Not Used: Hinchliffe, Teale.

    Goals: Oakley 27

    Booked: Lewis

    Blackburn: Friedel, Emerton, Khizanishvili, Nelsen, Warnock, Bentley, Tugay (Dunn 90), Mokoena, Pedersen (Olsson 83), Santa Cruz, McCarthy (Derbyshire 87).
    Subs Not Used: Brown, Berner.

    Goals: Santa Cruz 39, Bentley 42

    Booked: Nelsen, Mokoena, Warnock.

    Att: 30,048

    Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)

    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Blackburn's David Bentley 8.34 (on 90 minutes).

  • Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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