Blackburn 1-0 Huddersfield: Brereton Diaz scores to seal important win for Rovers
Ben Brereton Diaz’s first-half strike gave Blackburn a vital 1-0 win over bottom club Huddersfield and closed the gap on leaders Burnley to two points.
The Sky Bet Championship’s joint top-scorer lit up a forgettable first-half 10-minute period before the break by holding off two defenders and hammering a 12-yard strike into the left corner for his fifth in as many Ewood Park games.
Despite dominating the opening half, Blackburn were far from convincing and had Jack Rudoni been more clinical the visitors would have left with a point.
Blackburn held on to win their sixth consecutive home game for the first time since the 1994-95 season to move back up to second, setting up a mouth-watering derby clash between the top two next week.
Huddersfield remain bottom and are yet to win away, despite encouraging signs here.
Sam Gallagher returned from injury for Rovers, who made three changes after defeat at Coventry. Huddersfield welcomed back Sorba Thomas from suspension and handed a first Championship start to Will Boyle.
The Terriers frustrated the hosts for large parts of the half with a disciplined defensive performance but were ultimately undone by a long ball by Harry Pickering that sent Brereton Diaz clear on the left in the 35th minute and he showed great strength to shrug off two defenders before cutting inside and expertly whipping the ball emphatically into the left corner.
It almost got worse for Huddersfield before the break when a delicate Ryan Hedges pass set Gallagher clear but Boyle made a goal-saving tackle and, from the resulting corner, Lewis Travis blasted over from 25 yards.
Rovers started the second half on the front foot and Daniel Ayala’s effort was blocked after the defender met Tyler Morton’s corner as Blackburn looked to kill the game off.
But the visitors should have equalised in the 53rd minute when a Duane Holmes cross found Rudoni in acres of space six yards out but his connection lacked power and Thomas Kaminski easily saved.
Lee Nicholls kept his side in it moments later with a fine double save. First, he produced a smart low stop to deny Brereton Diaz after he was released by Gallagher, and after Huddersfield failed to clear, Morton’s piledriver was parried away.
Huddersfield rallied and Danny Ward’s cross was cleared off the line by Callum Brittain before Michal Helik glanced a header just wide.
It forced Rovers into a defensive change and they were indebted to Kaminski 16 minutes from time when he tipped over a rasping strike from substitute Brahima Diarra.
Rudoni dragged wide in the final minute before Brereton Diaz saw a close range effort saved.
Rovers held on and all eyes turn to Turf Moor next Sunday.