Following their defeat to Fulham at the weekend, Blackburn Rovers returned to winning ways on Tuesday night in emphatic style, with a 3-0 win over Hull City at Ewood Park.
Three goals in seven second-half minutes were enough to secure all three points for Tony Mowbray’s side, with Darragh Lenihan, Adam Armstrong and Dominic Samuel all on the scoresheet in a game they largely dominated.
That result has lifted Rovers to eighth in the Championship table, three points off the play-off places – albeit having played a game more than some of those around them – meaning there is plenty to be optimistic about for Mowbray and co. from this latest performance.
Here, we take a look at three things we learned about Blackburn from that victory over Hull.
Big moments for Dominic Samuel and Ben Brereton
While Adam Armstrong’s effort – more on that later – may have been the pick of the goals in this win, you feel it was Dominic Samuel’s strike that will have been the most popular.
Having been restricted to just a handful of appearances since tearing his ACL at the start of last season, the striker ended his wait for a goal when he clinically pounced on an error from Hull ‘keeper George Long to net his first competitive strike since Rovers’ 3-3 draw with Crewe in the FA Cup in December 2017.
Not only will that goal have been a huge sense of relief for Samuel, but the fact he showed the calmness and composure to round a defender before stroking his effort past Long suggests he still has the ability to play his part between now and the end of the season – when his current contract expires – and potentially beyond.
An honourable mention should also go to Brereton, who pressed brilliantly to force the error from Long that let Samuel in. The 20-year-old, often maligned during his time Ewood Park, was perhaps unlucky not to get himself on the scoresheet when he robbed the ball from Long only to be brought down by the Hull ‘keeper, although his encouraging efforts on Tuesday suggest that more chances to turn his form around at Ewood, and that should at least, give him plenty of confidence looking ahead.
Do you remember where Blackburn finished in each of their last 14 league seasons? Find out here:
Rovers may have been using Danny Graham wrong recently
For the first time in 2020, Danny Graham was named in a starting lineup by Tony Mowbray, with intriguing results.
With Graham on the pitch, Rovers had an attacking outlet to aim for at the top end of the pitch right from the off, and it certainly helped them to take the game to Hull, with Armstrong and Elliott Bennett both squandering efforts to put their side in front in the first half after being teed up by the veteran striker.
Usually, when Graham is brought on late in games, opposition sides are in the mindset of having something to hold onto, making it more justifiable to sit back, thus restricting the impact Graham can have, and this showing makes you wonder if Mowbray will have to reconsider his approach with the ever popular figure amongst the club’s fans.
The Blackburn attacker appeared to show on Tuesday that he no longer has the legs to go 90 minutes in a game, but if Rovers continue to give him his outings at the start of games as they did against Hull, it has the potential to give them control in games earlier on – something they should have taken with those aforementioned chances – before the pace and desire of the likes of Brereton and Samuel is introduced later on in games, with the view to giving those tiring opposition defences something different to think about.
Adam Armstrong does it again
Adam Armstrong is fast becoming a regular feature in these pieces, but with the man nicknamed the ‘Angel of the North’ around Ewood Park continuing to star for Tony Mowbray’s side, it is almost impossible to ignore those contributions here.
Not for the first time this season – for the fourth time in fact – Armstrong came up with an absolutely stunning strike from outside the area to help his side establish a lead in Tuesday’s night’s encounter, highlighting the confidence – and indeed importance – he has to Blackburn Rovers right now.
It wasn’t just his latest goal of the season contender that caught the eye on Tuesday night either, with the 23-year-old’s tireless running and willingness to shoot helping to keep Hull under the cosh throughout the entire 90 minutes, once again highlighting how well Armstrong has coped since being thrust into the limelight with the challenge of carrying his side’s main attacking threat since the loss of Bradley Dack back in December, a role you now can’t see him wanting to give up anytime soon.