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Full-time: Blackburn Rovers 2 Birmingham City 3
A SPIRITED second-half fight back could not stop Rovers from seeing their longest unbeaten run of the season come to an end as they finished 2013 in defeat.
Gary Bowyer’s side, unbeaten in their previous four matches, found themselves three goals down at half-time to in-form Birmingham.
Lee Novak punished poor defending in the 12th minute and scored a wonderful second from 30 yards six minutes later.
Jordan Rhodes hit the post before Chris Burke took full advantage of a terrible mistake from goalkeeper Simon Eastwood in the 36th minute to extend Lee Clark’s side’s lead.
Rhodes reduced the deficit in the 66th minute by heading home a Ben Marshall cross.
And Rovers’ top scorer did it again six minutes later when he raced on to a ball over the top by Scott Dann before lifting the ball brilliantly over Darren Randolph to take his tally for the term up to 15.
Birmingham became more and more entrenched in their own half.
But after Dann missed a glorious chance to equalise, they hung on for a win which stretched their unbeaten run to nine games.
Rovers boss Bowyer said: “We could quite easily have collapsed and died but this group of players don’t know how to do that and that’s full credit to them because we turned that mentality around very quickly in a short space of time and on another day we might have got a point.
“But at the same time we could even have won it. It was a crazy game.”
For a full report and reaction see tomorrow’s Lancashire Telegraph.
Rovers: Eastwood, Henley, Dann, Hanley, Spurr, Lowe, Williamson (Gestede 46), Cairney, Rochina (Judge 66), Marshall (Taylor 88), Rhodes. Subs: Kean, Kilgallon, Campbell, Olsson.
Booked: Williamson, Lowe.
Goals: Rhodes 66, 72.
Birmingham: Randolph, Caddis, Bartley, Burn, Robinson, Adeyemi (Reilly 34), Lee, Burke (Lovenkrands 88), Shinnie (Ferguson 76), Novak, Zigic. Subs: Doyle, Mullins, Brown, Gray.
Booked: Zigic, Novak.
Goals: Novak 12, 18, Burke 36.
Referee: Scott Duncan.
Attendance: 14,344 (1,000 away).
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