By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
At Ewood Park
Blackburn Rovers 0
Newcastle United 2 (Dann og 12, Obertan 90)
Newcastle United bounced back to winning ways with a 2-0 win away at Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League on Wednesday night.
An early own goal from Rovers defender Scott Dann looked to have been enough to settle the contest, before substitute Gabriel Obertan put the seal on the victory in stoppage time.
But it wasn't plain sailing by any means, and United were on the back-foot for large parts of the contest. They had goalkeeper Tim Krul to thank for an outstanding penalty save just before half-time, which would have surely changed the complexion of things.
However, the Magpies were stubborn in defence and held firm before Obertan wrapped things up.
Some early Newcastle pressure and a neat passing move in the sixth minute led to Leon Best and Shola Ameobi combining inside the box. The latter appeared to have wriggled away from his marker Dann, but as fired a left-footed shot goalwards the centre-back managed to make a last ditch tackle to avert the danger.
The same player rose highest to connect with Taylor's free-kick minutes later but was unable to divert his header on target.
Before this match, Blackburn hadn't kept a clean sheet all season and that miserable record continued in the 12th minute when United opened the scoring in fortuitous fashion.
Jonas Gutierrez fed Taylor 30 yards out, and the midfielder's low strike seemed pretty tame until it took a wicked deflection off the heels of Dann, ending up in going past the wrong-footed Robinson.
Rovers attempted to respond immediately and defender Gael Givet had two bites of the cherry from a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner. The first was blocked on the line by Danny Simpson, before Givet fired the loose ball well wide.
Dunn sent a speculative, bouncing volley well over the top, but Radosav Petrovic wasn't too far away with a shot from distance after Krul had punched clear a corner. And Junior Hoilett suffered the same fate, cutting in from the left to curl inches wide.
The hosts continued to dominate and only a fine, sliding block from Fabricio Coloccini on 27 minutes denied striker Anthony Modeste a goal on his full debut, and Pedersen then drove a deflected free-kick off target two minutes later.
It was almost an own-goal a piece in the 38th minute as Newcastle came within a lick of paint of gifting Blackburn an equaliser. Another Pedersen corner was contested at the near post, and Best somehow headed off his own crossbar with Krul stranded.
And they missed arguably the best chance of all to level a minute before half-time - from the penalty spot. Simpson was adjudged to have bundled over Modeste inside the area, and referee Phil Dowd had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Up stepped Dunn, but Krul guessed correctly, diving full-stretch to his left to beat away the midfielder's penalty and then block the rebound from Givet too. It was the eighth penalty United have conceded this season, but Krul's second spot-kick save following his heroics against Chelsea and Frank Lampard in December.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew introduced James Perch at the interval, replacing Hatem Ben Arfa, as the visitors reverted to a more tradtitional 4-4-2 formation. Perch took up a role in the middle of the park alongside Danny Guthrie, with Ryan Taylor shifting out to the right flank as they looked to control the game more.
But the second period started quietly and there was only a Guthrie long-range effort - straight at Robinson - and a wayward Ameobi shot which either team had to show for their endeavours in the early stages.
Modeste should have done much better when he broke clear of the United defence on 67 minutes. However, the French forward rushed his strike, sending a left-footed half-volley harmlessly wide when he had plenty of time to compose himself and close in on goal.
And Krul was called into action immediately after, doing brilliantly to claim Dann's header at point-blank range after the centre-back had met a Pedersen free-kick.
Rovers manager Steve Kean made a couple of attack-minded changes, bringing Ruben Rochina and Mauro Formica into the field of play, and with ten minutes remaining, the home side thought they had levelled when Formica rippled the net with an effort. Fortunately for Newcastle though, it was the side-netting after he had reacted first to a deflected shot which fell kindly at his feet inside the area.
The hosts pushed everything forward in search of an equaliser and Givet saw a close range drive blocked by Perch. It was wave after wave of attack and Modeste stung Krul's palms from distance, but the Magpies put the result beyond any doubt in stoppage time.
Substitute Obertan pinched possession inside his own half and swapped passes with Peter Lovenkrands before racing clear of the home defence. The winger then kept a cool head to slot past Robinson into the far corner and seal the victory.
Blackburn Rovers (4-5-1): Paul Robinson (c); Jason Lowe, Scott Dann, Gael Givet, Martin Olsson; Morten Gamst Pedersen, Radosav Petrovic (Mauro Formica 66), Steven Nzonzi, David Dunn (Ruben Rochina 78), Junior Hoilett; Anthony Modeste
Subs not used: Mark Bunn, Adam Henley, Grant Hanley, Simon Vukcevic, Jordan Slew
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Ryan Taylor (Gabriel Obertan 89), Danny Guthrie; Hatem Ben Arfa (James Perch 46), Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best (Peter Lovenkrands 77); Shola Ameobi
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Mehdi Abeid, Dan Gosling
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)