The game was all square at half time at Ewood Park this afternoon with Newcastle looking much improved from hteir performance last week against Liverpool at home. They probably just shaded the first half from Blackburn Rovers.
Newcastle had more of the play but Blackburn had the better chances.
Blackburn’s best chance came after 15 minutes when Santa Cruz found himself straight through in the center but then put a weak shot by Given’s right hand post. The Paraguay International should have done better, and it was a let off for Newcastle.
Faye seemed to have a knee problem after 24 minutes and had to be replaced with Stephen Carr coming on at right back for his first appearance since late August. Habib Beye was switched to center-back with Rozehnal.
Newcastle were quite solid in the first half and were picking up the loose balls and looked much better organized than last week.
Barton then put a beautiful cross field ball through to Martins on the right and Martins almost got clean through, but was dispossessed. Oba Martins was causing the Blackburn defense some problems with his speed, and Smith was challenging for every ball up front.
Just before the break Shay Given came out of his box and passed the ball out this his left, but Newcastle lost possession and Bentley seemed to have a free shot on goal. However he ut the ball wide of Newcastle’s right hand post, when it looked easier to score, as Given scrambled back. It was the second let-off for Newcastle and some poor defending by the Magpies.
Certainly Sam Allardyce can be pleased with this first half performance from his team but it’s any body’s game and Newcastle will need to show a little more attacking spirit to get all 3 points.
Martins then scored Newcastle’s first goal a minute after the restart, when he headed home from Geremi’s free kick.
BLACKBURN ROVERS: Friedel (c), Emerton, Ooijer, Samba, Warnock, Bentley, Tugay, Mokoena, Dunn, McCarthy, Santa Cruz.
Subs: Brown (GK), Savage, Pedersen, Reid, Roberts.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Given, Rozenhal, Barton, Martins, N’Zogbia, Milner, Smith, Geremi (c), Beye, Butt, Faye.
Subs: Harper (GK), Carr, Enrique, Emre, Viduka.