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Blackburn 1-0 Luton: FLW reports as Armstrong strikes late to head Rovers back into the play-off mix

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While Blackburn Rovers would probably prefer to return to some of the emphatic, eye-catching and all-round more comfortable victories they enjoyed at the start of this season, they are unlikely to complain all that much if they are to continue to keep winning ugly between now and the end of the season, if that is to keep them in the race for promotion all the way through.

Once again Rovers were made to work incredibly hard for the win by a Luton Town side who will probably feel they deserved at least a point for this one, either for their performance, or the late decisions that went against them.

But when you have someone as clinical as a peak Adam Armstrong on your side, the chances are you are going to get the ball in the back of the opposition net at least once in 90 minutes, and that was enough for Rovers this afternoon.

It was a bright start from the hosts, who quickly got on the front foot in the early stages, but were unable to test Simon Sluga in the Luton goal, with top scorer Armstrong taking an unusually long time to get a shot away when played through one on one, allowing Tom Lockyer to get back and make a good recovering challenge inside the area.

Moments later Armstrong would not be so hesitant about shooting, but fired well over from 20 yards after being teed up by a neat backheel from Harvey Elliott on the edge of the Luton box.

Elliott himself would be next up to try his look, curling over from the edge of the area after a lovely touch to control an excellent cross-field ball from Joe Rothwell.

Luton however, were starting to come into this, and Blackburn ‘keeper Thomas Kaminski had to be alert to deny Jordan Clark at point blanc range with his legs after a teasing cross from Harry Cornick, before the flag went up for offside.

Sluga would have to do similar moments later, getting down well to deny Ben Brereton on the volley after a header down from Armstrong inside the area.

But while both sides continued to show an attacking intent as the half drew to a close – Everton loanee Jarrad Branthwaite producing one outstanding tackle inside the area to prevent Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu getting a shot away for Luton – the lack of a final decisive ball was a distinctive feature, and it was little surprise that to see the opening 45 minutes end without a breakthrough for either team.

It would be similar story at the start of the second half, as, with the exception of an Armstrong shot straight at Sluga from a tight angle and a Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall free kick that went well over – both sides continued to struggle to trouble the opposition ‘keeper.

Perhaps not entirely satisfied with what he was seeing from his side, Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray made four substitutions at once, and as the game approached its final stages, three of that quartet almost combined to produce the opener.

Bradley Dack won the ball back from a loose pass deep in the Luton half, before playing him Sam Gallagher, and his pass across the face of goal made its way to Tyrhys Dolan, only for Martin Cranie – himself just on for the seemingly injured Matty Pearson in the Luton defence – to produce a brilliant block to deny the 18-year-old.

Never the less, the pace and trickery of Dolan on the wings looked to be causing problems for the visitors, with the 18-year-old did well to fashion an opportunity for himself on the edge of the area, but could only fire some way over.

Up the other, Luton would continue to look threatening through the likes of Cornick and Clark out wide, but despite getting plenty of balls into the they would struggle to get a shot away to really test Kaminski, who was once again a dominant force within his own area for the hosts.

Even so, this was a game that was starting to look increasingly open, and with five minutes of normal time remaining, Rovers would take full advantage, as the fourth of that quartet of Mowbray substitutes, Lewis Holtby, fired a ball towards the back post, where Gallagher was on hand to head back across goal for Adam Armstrong to head home from close range to put his side in front with his 18th goal of the season.

There was still time for more drama however, as a Luton free kick caused havoc inside the Blackburn box, and after Barry Douglas cleared one effort of the line, Cornick was on hand to smash it into the back of the net only to be flagged offside, much to the fury of the visitors.

That however, was enough to see Rovers over the line, and them a big three points that puts them to within three of the top-six places, and right back into the race for the play-off places.


UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, been writing for Football League World since March 2019. I've previously worked for the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Opta, among others.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Blackburn 1-0 Luton: FLW reports as Armstrong strikes late to head Rovers back into the play-off mix

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