Blackburn Rovers 2-3 Birmingham City

Lee Novak

Lee Novak scored twice for Birmingham as they held on to beat Blackburn in a five-goal Championship thriller.

Blues went 3-0 up within 36 minutes, with Lee Novak scoring from close range and then with a 30-yard effort, before Chris Burke punished a defensive error for their third.

Jordan Rhodes gave Rovers hope with a header and then lofted the ball over Darren Randolph to set up a nervy end.

They almost equalised in injury time as Scott Dann's header hit the post.

For Birmingham, who are now unbeaten in nine league games, it was a first win at Ewood Park since 1968 as the Blues moved to within three points of 12th-placed Rovers, who had been unbeaten in four games.

Ruben Rochina made his first start since the opening day for Blackburn and almost had the first goal early on when he dragged his shot wide.

He was made to pay when Dan Burn squared for unmarked Novak to tap the ball home. The former Huddersfield striker then added a second from distance six minutes later.

Rhodes hit the post for Blackburn before they gifted Birmingham a third. Goalkeeper Simon Eastwood's poor clearance fell to Burke, who found space to fire home from the edge of the box.

After looking out of it at half-time, Blackburn were given hope when Rhodes headed home Ben Marshall's cross from close range. The Scotland international then lobbed Randolph from Dann's long ball six minutes later to reduce the deficit to a goal.

And, had Dann done better in injury time with his header, they would have rescued an unlikely point.

Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer:

"I didn't think we were bad in the first half to be honest.

"I think Birmingham might have got in our half about three times and scored three goals. The level of performance first half was decent.

"We were happy enough at how we were with the ball, but they were poor goals from our point of view.

"The second half was absolutely outstanding and I've nothing but pride for them because we could quite easily have collapsed and died and showed no fight but this group of players don't know that and it's full credit to them because we turned that mentality around very quickly in a short space of time.

"On another day we might have got a point out of it."

Birmingham manager Lee Clark:

"To come away from home and win any match is fantastic.

"The first-half performance was a terrific away performance. We contained Blackburn and restricted them to minimum chances and scored some terrific goals on the break ourselves and could have scored a couple more so we're absolutely delighted.

"There were a few anxious moments but I've just said to the players if there were prizes given out in the division for heart, desire, commitment, passion, pride in the shirt and playing for the fans and club, they'd be running away with the division.

"Towards the end, the players to a man, when all those crosses were coming in - were different class."

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Leicester2315351448
2Derby2313551944
3Burnley2312831744
4QPR2312741143
5Nottm Forest2310941039
6Ipswich23986935
7Leeds231058835
8Brighton23986735
9Reading23977234
10Blackpool23887-232
11Huddersfield23878531
12Blackburn23878131
13Watford23797630
14Wigan22868130
15Middlesbrough23788529
16Bournemouth238510-1029
17Birmingham23779128
18Bolton23689-526
19Charlton235810-823
20Millwall235711-2122
21Doncaster235612-2221
22Sheff Wed223109-919
23Yeovil234514-1817
24Barnsley233713-2116
View full Championship table

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