A brace from Sam Szmodics helped ten-man Blackburn Rovers move up to tenth in the Championship table as they beat Norwich City 3-1.

Rovers raced into an early lead against their out-of-form hosts with Tyrhys Dolan netting his second of the season after only eight minutes. The forward collected Joe Rankin-Costello's pass and drove in the box, firing in at the near post.

A mutinous Carrow Road were already restless when Szmodics then added a second after only a quarter of an hour. He was put through by Andrew Moran and tidily netted his eighth of the season.

Rovers controlled the rest of the half with Norwich's home fans baying for David Wagner's head. The game should have been over as a contest five minutes after the break when Szmodics converted Moran's volleyed cross to make it three.

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But Blackburn had to play the final 40 minutes a man-light after Scott Wharton was shown a straight red card. The defender lunged for a loose ball as last man but Onel Hernadez beat him to it and the referee rightly sent him off.

Norwich chucked men forward to try and salvage something from the game but Rovers have a vice-like grip at that stage. Although they had to work harder than they might have liked, they saw the game out with relative comfort.

The clean sheet disappeared in stoppage time though as Gabriel Sara turned in from close range after a cross was parried into his path. A minor annoyance in an otherwise fruitful afternoon for Rovers.
Jon Dahl Tomasson made five changes from the midweek defeat at Chelsea, restoring the bulk of the team that lost to Swansea. It was two alterations from their last Championship match, with Andrew Moran and Adam Wharton coming in.

Sam Szmodics was passed fit to start, meaning a slight reshuffle to the pack. Joe Rankin-Costello moved to the right side to play with Callum Brittain to accommodate Wharton alongside Sondre Tronstad.

David Wagner's first game in charge of Norwich was against Blackburn in January, a 1-0 FA Cup defeat. After a run of one win in nine before kick-off, Rovers were hoping to light the fire under him on bonfire night and increase the pressure.

It might be a few days late but Norwich's start was befitting of something you'd have whipped out for Halloween as Rovers race into an early lead. Just eight minutes were on the clock when Dolan latched on to a great pass from Rankin-Costello and fired into the roof of the net.

It was great movement from the forward to find space between the centre-backs and his first touch put him in the clear. Even at 1-0, the home crowd began to turn on their own players.

They were even more unhappy when Blackburn doubled their advantage with 15 minutes on the lock. Moran picked out Szmodics, who had evaded the defence, and he slotted past George Long for his eighth of the season.

That second was immediately met by deafening boos from Carrow Road. 'You're getting sacked in the morning," was sung at Wagner, with Norwich fans hoping Rovers would be his last as well as first opponents as their boss.

The mutiny continues with cries of 'sack the board' and 'Staurt Webber, it's time to....', you can probably imagine the end of that sentence. All the while, Rovers continued to strut their stuff and move the ball around with confidence.

Szmodics almost added a second as Rovers went back-to-front in four passes but he didn't get enough on his shot from close range. Another swift break saw the ball fed to Callum Brittain on the edge of the box but a heavy first touch allowed Shane Duffy to get a crucial block in.

The game then slowed to a low-tempo crawl, with Rovers content in their shape at 2-0 whilst Norwich lacked the confidence and guile to open them up. However, the home side did start to finally show some signs of life.

Norwich's best route was down their right, Rovers' left, with Jack Stacey getting beyond Moran. He pulled it back to Onel Hernandez, who wrapped a powerful shot just wide of Leopold Wahstedt's post. 

If Rovers ended the half a little sloppy, they soon put things right in the second half and killed the game as a contest. It was another quick goal, with Szmodics adding his second of the season.

It was a lovely pass out wide from Dolan to Moran, who crossed first time on the volley for Szmodics to tap in at the back post. The forward had just kept himself onside to end the game as a contest.

So, with almost a half to go, Rovers were sitting pretty. You know what could be the only thing to derail them? A red card.

They never do it easy, do they? Only a few moments after going 3-0 ahead, they were reduced to ten men as Wharton was sent off.

A loose pass from Rankin-Costello allowed Hernadez to latch on to the loose ball and he raced through on goal. Wharton tried to slide tackle him, didn't get the ball and was sent off as the last man.

So although they were 3-0 up and in command, Rovers had 40 minutes to navigate with only ten players. Norwich put the pressure on with Wahlstedt having to do well to keep out Christian Fassnacht's header from close range.

The second half was an attack vs defence training exercise, with Norwich seeing plenty of the ball but they did not have the necessary guile to open Rovers up. 

That was until stoppage time when Norwich eventually found a way through. Sara was on hand to score two minutes into stoppage time from close range after a cross was parried into his path.
The win means Rovers have now taken maximum points from four of their eight Championship away games. Only three teams, Southampton (16), Ipswich Town (17) and Leicester City (21) have taken more this season.

It was also a third successive Championship win away from home for the first time in almost two years. The last time they did that was under Tony Mowbray in a six-match winning run around Christmas 2021.

Wharton's suspension only adds to the crisis at centre-back with Dom Hyam and Hayden Carter on the injury list ahead of next Friday's derby against Preston North End. The international break follows that and it can't come soon enough to help Rovers recover some players.