It has been quite some time since Blackburn Rovers produced a performance such as this.
Back at the start of this season, ruthless free-scoring wins such as this had threatened to become a regular part of Rovers’ campaign, and while that ultimately hasn’t happened, this will at least be particularly welcome for Tony Mowbray and co. as they look to go into a big summer for the club on a high.
In truth, they were helped considerably here by a dismal Huddersfield defensive performance that allowed Rovers to rediscover their touch in front of goal – having scored just 13 goals in the run of two wins from 17 games going into this one – and leave the Terries still not assured of their place in the second-tier for the 2021/22 campaign.
Falling behind has been a problem of Blackburn’s throughout the course of the season, so they will have been glad to be gifted the opener inside ten minutes.
Adam Armstrong found Ben Brereton with a good ball over the top, and although Ryan Schofield saved well from a tight angle, the Huddersfield ‘keeper then undid that good work by completely missing his punch from the resulting Joe Rothwell corner, leaving Armstrong with perhaps the simplest of his 23 goals so far this season, as the Rovers top scorer nodded in from two yards out.
In a lively opening 15 minutes that saw plenty of attacking intent but little clear chances, Rovers would have the next sight of goal, Brereton firing straight at Schofield from just outside the area.
Moments later, the Terriers nearly gifted their hosts another, Rothwell robbing Keogh inside the visitor’s area before finding Armstrong, who for someone chose not to shot, inside sliding it to Ben Brereton who could only find the side-netting when he should have done better.
Brereton however, would not have to wait long to make amends, and he would make no mistake when the chance came to do so.
Breaking down the left-hand side, Sam Gallagher produced an excellent run in to the Huddersfield area, where Brereton was on hand to smash home from just outside the six-yard box for his sixth of the campaign to double Blackburn’s advantage.
That second goal would seemingly bring Huddersfield into life in the game, the Terries pressing forward as they looked for a route back into the match. But with the exception of two Juninho Bacuna free-kicks, one of which hit the wall and one of which drifted well off-target, the Terriers struggled to get a shot away as the game hit the half-hour mark.
Josh Koroma would then send a tame header comfortably off target, before Rovers almost extended their lead even further. Amari’i Bell, back in at left-back for the first time in almost two months, produced an excellent run and cross to seemingly put it on a plate for Armstrong, only for the striker to lose his footing and allow Huddersfield the time to clear.
But on the stroke of half-time, the Terriers would find a way back into the game. Koroma did well to retain possession and get to the byline inside the Rovers area, before firing the ball across the face of goal and into the path of Blackburn right back Ryan Nyambe, who could only turn it into his own net to halve the deficit for the visitors.
Yet having halved the host’s lead just before the break, Huddersfield found themselves facing a two-goal deficit again shortly after it.
Although the Terriers had Blackburn pinned in their own half for the opening five minutes of the second period, they were unable to make the breakthrough, and would be swiftly and ruthlessly made to pay for that.
Breaking over halfway, Lewis Travis did well to win and then take a quick throw-in for Rovers, freeing Brereton in behind the Huddersfield defence, and pulled across goal for Armstrong to tap home his second of the match.
Minutes later, Armstrong would turn provider as Rovers really started to enjoy themselves, winning possession in the corner of the Huddersfield area, before laying it off to Gallagher on the edge of the area, where the striker blasted an effort into the top corner to deservedly get himself on the scoresheet.
Having got his assist, Armstrong then attended to the issue of completing his second hat-trick of the season, Rovers again cut through their visitors, Brereton playing in Rothwell who drove into the area before rolling it to Armstrong, who had the simple task of turning in his 25th goal in all competitions this season to make it 5-1 to Blackburn.
By that point there was still half-an-hour to play, and Rovers did look like they fancied more. Armstrong tried an effort from distance that Schofield just tipped over, before substitute Tyrhys Dolan was unable to take advantage of a poor pass out from the Huddersfield ‘keeper as the Terriers continued to make life hard for themselves.
One positive for Huddersfield was a first goal of the calendar year for Koroma, who marked his recent return from injury with an excellent finish from the edge of the area, with ten minutes to go, which by that point, was little more than a consolation for the Terries, who are still not mathematically certain of their place in the Championship for next season, although it would take something remarkable to see them drop into League One in the coming weeks.