Blackburn made it two wins in three with an emphatic 4-0 victory over woeful Peterborough in the Sky Bet Championship.
Tony Mowbray’s men were home and dry by half-time after a three-goal, first-half blitz put them out of sight of their beleaguered visitors.
From the moment Harry Pickering headed Rovers into a 16th-minute lead on his 150th career league start, the game had an air of inevitability to it.
Blackburn exposed the league’s worst defence twice more before the break, through a tap-in from Ben Brereton Diaz and Darragh Lenihan’s free header.
Brereton Diaz emphatically made it four in the 60th minute to record his 16th goal of the season as Blackburn moved within a point of the play-offs.
It was a worrying performance from Darren Ferguson’s side and it is easy to see why they are in the bottom three. Their defensive issues are well documented but they also spurned two glorious chances at the start of the second half. They have now lost nine of their 10 away games.
Tyrhys Dolan was recalled in place of the injured Ian Poveda, one of four alterations, while Posh made one change, drafting in Jonson Clarke-Harris in place of Jorge Grant.
The hosts took the lead in the 16th minute through an unlikely source. John Buckley curled in a superb cross that was met by Pickering, who timed his run to perfection before looping a powerful header over the despairing dive of David Cornell from 12 yards.
The visitors responded well and only a terrific Scott Wharton block denied Sammie Szmodics an equaliser after neat build-up play in the 34th minute, but they pressed the self-destruct button a minute later. Nathan Thompson dithered and was robbed by Dolan who squared for Brereton Diaz to tap into the empty net.
And the hosts ended the game as a contest 10 minutes later when Joe Rothwell’s pinpoint free-kick put the ball on a plate for Lenihan and he planted his back-post header beyond Cornell.
Posh rang the changes at the break and to their credit, came out fighting. Clarke-Harris somehow directed a Szmodics cross wide from close range, and in the 50th minute, the former was put through on goal but fired his shot too near Thomas Kaminski.
But once again, they were the architects of their own downfall as Rothwell intercepted a poor pass on the hour and fed Brereton Diaz who surged forward and buried the ball into the roof of the net for his fourth in three games.
Peterborough’s miserable night was summed by when Clarke-Harris directed a free header straight at Kaminski from six yards out.
What the managers said…
Blackburn’s Tony Mowbray: “I think it was important that we got the intensity right, that we got the adrenaline levels right. It was a game that if you don’t approach it with the right mentality, they can be banana skins for you. Really pleased with the attitude and the approach, and the desire and commitment of the team. We scored some good goals, we worked extremely hard. Delighted for the goalkeeper and defence that they kept a clean sheet. It was a good professional performance. We got the balance right between aggression and composure.
“What is good about this football team at the moment is that we have some amazing human beings who love football. They want to learn, ask questions, watch all of their clips. They are brilliant kids. They want to learn and get better. It’s great to work with them and see them improving. It’s an exciting young team. Made of the right stuff.”
Peterborough’s Darren Ferguson: “Very disappointing result. Very disappointing performance. Something has to change. You’re very much in the game, and then first goal, the boy runs across our centre-half and heads it in. Second goal is a stupid mistake, whereas the other ones, I’ve seen before. Third goal, set-piece. You’re well in the game, we nearly equalised at 1-0, and then 2-0 and then before you know it, 3-0. And you’re seeing the same thing. A set-piece goal.
“I thought we started the game well but I’m repeating myself. Another game we haven’t scored a goal. Another game we haven’t kept a clean sheet, another away loss. They’re stacking up now, so obviously something has to change, in particular away from home, for us to start climbing the table. This is the thing, you can set up, tactically do A, B and C, but you can’t concede goals like we are doing. We’re suffering at the moment.”