Blackburn Rovers moved level with second-placed Fulham last night as they battled well to secure a crucial 2-1 home victory against relegation strugglers Barnsley, currently sitting just one point off the top of the table.
Joe Rothwell’s opener in the 24th minute looked set to set up a comfortable evening for Tony Mowbray’s men who were the clear favourites coming into this tie, but Carlton Morris’ equaliser in the first minute of stoppage time for the visitors gave them the platform to secure a much-needed point or three in their quest to retain their Championship status.
Unfortunately for them, Ben Brereton Diaz’s expertly-placed shot in the bottom right-hand corner midway through the second 45 sealed the three points for the hosts at Ewood Park, maximising pressure on both Bournemouth and the Cottagers as well as Valerien Ismael at West Bromwich Albion after moving above the Baggies in the table earlier in the month.
Quiz: Did Blackburn Rovers do these 22 things in 2021?
Despite conceding just before the interval, Scott Wharton and captain Darragh Lenihan both stepped up to the plate superbly yet again to keep the Tykes at bay in the latter stages of the game, two performances that could end up being crucial to their chances of securing their spot in the top six as Rovers extended their unbeaten run to eight games.
Conceding just three times in over 720 minutes of league football, the defence has been key to that run of form and particular praise must be devoted to Lenihan who has led his young squad extremely well as they deal with big expectations.
Were the Lancashire side’s fans all in agreement that the Irishman played well last night though? Were there any major criticisms of the 27-year-old’s display?
We take a look at how many supporters reacted to the central defender’s performance after yesterday evening’s home clash.
— ChaddyRovers (@BRFCfan4life) December 29, 2021
Absolute warrior 💪🔵⚪️ https://t.co/gOZ3rE9RtL
— Jake Willacy (@jakewillacy) December 29, 2021
Great performance leading all the way 💪
— Craig Ashcroft (@r18crg) December 29, 2021
An absolute legend, my captain! The single most important thing for rovers right now is to get this man signed up to a new deal. He is an inspiration at the moment. 10/10 every game
— adam hilling (@HillingAdam) December 29, 2021
@darragh_lenihan well deserved too👏👏👏
— Paul Marcroft 💙 (@markers19570) December 29, 2021
In the form of his career
— White Boy Rick (@rupewhyte) December 29, 2021
This guy is ridiculous 🤌🏼👊🏼
— Dean Wilburn (@Wilbs19) December 29, 2021
SIGN THE TING SKIPPER! 🖊🔵⚪️
— Crisis Moss (@mosstoboy) December 29, 2021