A brace from championship-form forward Ben Brereton was unsuccessful as Huddersfield Town doomed the Blackburn Rovers to their first loss outside the campaign.
Alex Vallejo’s first goal of the season and a brace from Danny Ward improved Carlos Coberan’s outfit on points with the Rovers after 10 games.
An absent Darragh Lenihan described the situation the Rovers find themselves in, depending on a core of players as the defensive weaknesses of a young team became evident.
Despite all of their injuries, they continued to fight – which you can’t take away from this team – and on two occasions they fought to restore parity only to be undermined by their vulnerability.
In an unassuming start, Huddersfield made his first opening in the first minute as Danny Ward walked away, but the hosts missed a glorious opportunity soon after as Danel Sinani hung on to a missed clearance from Ben Brereton and searched the fans behind the 12-meter goal.
The Rovers started to come out on top from a possession perspective, but it was Huddersfield who continued to shape the breathtaking opportunities, with Carlos Corberan’s side capitalizing on a dazed Ryan Nyambe as Lewis O ‘ Brien was banging on the woodwork.
Nyambe’s night ended prematurely as the right-back was visibly unable to continue after receiving a blow to the head while challenging Josh Koroma and with his departure came a change in form. Tyler Magloire’s introduction set up three center-backs with an inducted rear wing system, pushing John Buckley down the right flank.
This briefly stemmed the wave of attacks from Huddersfield and the Rovers began to carve out opportunities for themselves, Brereton closing in with a thunderous effort from a distance. And yet the hosts quickly had their first game as Vallejo progressed forward, latching on to Sorba Thomas’ pass and hitting a curling effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the D.
Rovers waited for an immediate response as Brereton rushed into the penalty area, his inability to control the ball diminishing his chances before hitting Tyrhys Dolan, whose shot was blocked. The forward was in the thick of the action as half-time approached, hailing Buckley’s cross to head for the hands of Lee Nicholls.
A disconcerting second-half opening saw Rovers increasingly responsive to blocking as Sinani was played, delivering a low shot at the near post from Kaminski that the Belgian was equal to.
While the Terriers persisted with a deep defensive line, it was incumbent on the Rovers to be inventive and Joe Rothwell took responsibility for himself. The 27-year-old pushed his way through the Huddersfield defense, slaloming one after the other before returning the ball to where Brereton was hiding, the forward displaying a calm header to convert at close range .
Scenes of jubilation quickly turned into a picture of desperation as Huddersfield resumed his lead immediately after, an inviting cross from the flank towards Ward saw the forward knock down Magloire and beat Kaminski.
If we know anything about this team of Rovers it’s that they won’t back down without a fight and the inspired Brereton was here again, displaying exquisite control with the outside of the boot to charge towards the goal. and a reckless sliding challenge from Naby Sarr was enough to convince referee Jeremy Simpson to award a penalty. Brereton duly stepped up and adamantly converted.
The momentum shifted in favor of the Rovers, but their defensive vulnerability remained as Huddersfield sought to expose Magloire and Buckley’s flank, a successful formula given the chances created.
Kaminski had to be on the spot twice to deny Huddersfield’s advances and just as Mowbray’s side appeared to be in control of the proceedings, they were defeated by a combination of individual defensive errors as Ward went unmarked for the lead in his second goal of the game and the winner from Huddersfield.
An injured Rovers will have to heal his wounds and count the cost of the battle as he travels to Blackpool on Saturday. Here’s how they rated.
Thomas Kaminski – 6
Two important saves to keep Rovers in the game at 2-2. Had little help preventing the third. Distribution was a problem in the first half; didn’t give Brereton or Gallagher much of a chance.
Ryan Nyambe – 6
Surprised, he was able to continue as he collapsed to the ground following a collision with Koroma. He looked very uncomfortable as he trudged through the tunnel.
Hayden Carter – 6
I would have liked to see how he grew in the game within a stable half-back, but that’s football. Won a few important headers, but was a pin in a rambling defensive unit.
Daniel Ayala – 6
Found it necessary to cover more ground as a result of his partner’s absence and this was revealing in the end goal when he was pulled away from his man, making up for a lack of trust in others.
Harry Pickering – 5
Increased focus on what he could contribute to the offense compared to recent encounters, but struggled to execute the final move. Looked jaded in the second, guilty of lack of focus contributing to their second and third goals.
Lewis Travis – 6
Took the captain’s armband and showed some leadership when the Rovers tackled tough situations. I tried to keep the team on the attack.
Joe Rothwell – 7
Thinking back to the first half it was obvious that Rovers needed him to take more advanced positions and he proved exactly why with a dazzling run to create Brereton’s first. Worried to see him leave with an injury.
John Buckley – 6
Moved to right-back and his flank delivery posed a nuisance to the Huddersfield defense in the first half. Restricted in his offensive entry from there and yet he gave everything from a defensive position in a relatively unknown position.
Sam Gallagher – 6
Has struggled to muster too much impact, even though he occupied unexplored positions. Has shown great application even though opportunities were lacking.
Tyrhys Dolan – 6
He sought to give Huddersfield food for thought with his move, but they were quick to invade him, acknowledging the danger he poses. Run out of steam in the second half.
Ben Brereton – 8
Lively, energetic and ruffled with many feathers all over. Always played on the turn with the intention of moving the Rovers forward. Rewarded with a double as he leads the championship standings.
Tyler Magloire – 4
A very difficult evening for the central defender who received a valuable lesson for the second goal and his positioning was developed for their third. Dragged by Ward’s cunning fox as Huddersfield went after him in the second half.
Ian Poveda – 4
The first action was to carelessly concede possession and that set the standard from there. A missed five-yard pass to Travis while searching for an equalizer epitomized his tough start. He has a lot to prove.
Leighton Clarkson – 6
Again, a quality snippet with an incisive pass that almost got Brereton through but couldn’t keep it going during his cameo.
Reda Khadra – 6
Shiny feet but struggling to muster the explosive spark the Rovers waited for against tired legs.
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