John Eustace’s wait for a first win at Blackburn goes on after Preston battled back to claim a 2-2 draw in an entertaining Lancashire derby clash at Deepdale.

Eustace, whose first game in charge of Rovers ended in defeat at former club Birmingham, saw his side let a 2-0 lead slip but still dented Preston’s play-off aspirations.

All four goals came in the first half as Sammie Szmodics regained his place as the Championship’s top scorer before Sam Gallagher doubled the visitors’ lead.

But Robbie Brady’s 39th-minute strike and Emil Riis’ effort four minutes later secured Ryan Lowe’s hosts a point.

Eustace made two changes from the side which lost at St Andrew’s as John Fleck made his debut and Scott Wharton returned to the starting line-up, while North End remained unchanged from the side that beat Middlesbrough to earn a third successive win.

Blackburn arrived at Deepdale off the back of a turbulent few weeks but they quickly hit the front as star man Szmodics, who had already lashed an effort wide, opened the scoring after just seven minutes.

The 28-year-old overtook Plymouth’s Morgan Whittaker at the top of the second-tier scoring charts as he raced on to Gallagher’s flick on and coolly slotted beyond Freddie Woodman.

Down the other end, Liam Millar cut onto his left foot but could only tamely hit straight at Aynsley Pears.

Fleck’s debut lasted just 17 minutes before he was forced of with injury but Rovers were soon celebrating a second goal.

Gallagher sent the visiting fans into scenes of jubilation when he got in behind from Callum Brittain’s defence-splitting pass and converted with a neat flick in the 23rd minute.

It could have been three when Szmodics forced Woodman into a decent save after Brittain’s free-kick was cleared into his path.

But a four-minute burst saw the Lilywhites level before the break.

The first goal was a fine curling first-time finish from Brady, a stunning strike to open his account for the season.

And Riis scrambled home his third goal in as many games to draw the hosts level on the stroke of half-time.

Referee David Webb was jeered with chants of “you’re not fit to referee” from both sets of supporters after a break in play with an injury.

The momentum was all with the hosts after a scintillating end to the first half and Riis fashioned a chance for Brady with a cheeky backheel, but a pivotal Blackburn block kept the scores level.

Mads Frokjaer then smashed a 20-yard volley over as Preston continued to press.

Dangerous Danish striker Riis nodded an Alan Browne cross straight at Pears, who then produced an important stoppage-time save to keep out Browne’s header and help earn a point for his side.

New Blackburn boss John Eustace said he was happy with the work he did at Birmingham after his side were beaten 1-0 by his former club at St Andrew’s.

Andre Dozzell made the decisive breakthrough in the 77th minute to end City’s 388-minute drought to reward City’s dominance.

The dismissal of Eustace appeared harsh, as he was forced out having led the team to sixth place in the Sky Bet Championship.

Chief executive Garry Cook said Eustace’s ambitions were not aligned with the club’s.

Yet the 44-year-old’s replacement, Wayne Rooney, was sacked after winning just twice in 15 games as the club plummeted to 20th in the table.

“It was great to be back, I had 15 brilliant months here,” said Eustace.

“The most important thing was to not lose. That’s not a good feeling but I’m fully focused on Blackburn now and I wish Birmingham all the best.

“I have no hard feelings, it’s part and parcel of the job.

“If that wouldn’t have happened I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to be manager of Blackburn.

“I was very happy with the work I did, you could see the club grew and I left it in a much better position than when I came in.

“We were playing some really good football when I left so I was happy with the job I did.”

Asked if he was suitably ambitious, he answered: “I think results and performances showed that.”

As Eustace was talking about his time at St. Andrew’s, a supporter came into the media suite and shouted “They should never have got rid of you, John!”

Eustace replied to the assembled media: “Put that in your reports.”

Regarding the game, Eustace said: “It was disappointing. The lads battled really hard but we have to be better with the ball.”

Tony Mowbray’s side were good value for their first win in four matches, which saw them climb within a point of 16th-placed Rovers.

Marc Roberts hit the post and his namesake Tyler missed one-on-one chances in either half.

Eustace’s counterpart and former Blackburn manager Mowbray felt his team were good value for the win.

“It was an important, big, three points because you can’t keep having 23, 25 shots a game but keep getting beaten,” he said.

“We should have scored more goals and if we’d have got three or four it would have given us more confidence.

“I picked a team to show Blackburn that we were up for a fight because they can cut you open.

“Rather than the artists who can drag their foot over the ball, I played the grafters and chasers but the substitutes impacted the game pretty well too.”

Dozzell spared City’s blushes when he poked home after he and Adam Stansfield had shots blocked, before Cody Drameh’s cross fell back into his path off Kyle McFadzean’s foot.

New Blackburn boss John Eustace made a losing return to St Andrew’s as his side were beaten 1-0 by former club Birmingham.

Andre Dozzell struck the only goal of the Sky Bet Championship contest in the 77th minute to end City’s 388-minute drought and reward their dominance.

Tony Mowbray’s side were good value for their first win in four matches, which saw them climb to within a point of 16th-placed Rovers.

Marc Roberts hit the post and his namesake Tyler also missed two one-on-one chances for the hosts.

Eustace, who watched Saturday’s 3-1 win at Stoke from the stands, was back in the familiar surroundings after his sacking as City head coach in October.

Birmingham’s former Rovers boss Mowbray did not get the chance to enjoy any pre-match pleasantries with 44-year-old Eustace as the City manager was forced to take a seat in the stands, banned for receiving three yellow cards.

Koji Miyoshi blotted his copybook when he sized up a shooting chance after a Blues corner was partly cleared, slicing horribly wide.

However the Japan attacking midfielder got his next involvement right, threading through Tyler Roberts – only for the striker to steer the ball wide when clean through with only goalkeeper Aynsley Pears to beat.

Roberts’ namesake Marc went even closer to breaking the deadlock in the 35th minute. The towering defender, lingering upfield following a corner, clipped the outside of the post with a glancing header from Miyoshi’s hanging cross.

Little had been seen of Sammie Szmodics until the 22-goal Blackburn marksman lifted a rising effort narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box.

Szmodics forced John Ruddy into his first save when he tried to catch the veteran keeper out with a quick first-time effort which the former Wolves man palmed around the post.

Birmingham then wasted two chances in quick succession. After Marc powered a header over from close range from Dozzell’s free-kick, Tyler Roberts skied high and wide from six yards out after Pears completely mishit a pass to leave him one-on-one.

The hosts lost their momentum and Mowbray made a double switch, bringing Juninho Bacuna and Siriki Dembele on for Paik Seung-ho and Miyoshi.

Dembele flashed a rising angled effort over the bar after Tyler Roberts teed him up deep inside the box.

Dozzell spared City’s blushes when he finally poked home 13 minutes from time.

The scrappy goal came after Dozzell and Adam Stansfield had shots blocked before Cody Drameh’s cross fell back into his path off Kyle McFadzean’s foot.

Blackburn first-team coach Damien Johnson saluted an “outstanding” performance after they beat Stoke 3-1 to move away from relegation trouble.

Rovers went into the game with the worst form in the Sky Bet Championship, which resulted in Jon Dahl Tomasson leaving as boss on Friday and John Eustace now in the hot seat.

Johnson and fellow first-team coach David Lowe took the team for the game, with Eustace coming into the dugout in the second half, and he will have enjoyed the performance as they raced into a three-goal lead to shellshock their opponents.

Tyrhys Dolan’s close-range finish set Rovers on their way before the Championship’s top scorer, Sammie Szmodics, headed a second and Dolan’s composed finish put Blackburn in dreamland.

Former Blackburn striker Niall Ennis pulled one back before the break but Daniel Johnson saw his weak penalty saved just after half-time and Blackburn comfortably stopped the rot, registering a first league win since December.

Johnson praised Blackburn’s players for responding to the “difficult” last few days.

He said: “I’m not going to lie, it feels good. It’s been a difficult couple of days. Great credit to the players. It’s not easy for them but I thought they were outstanding today.

“Their concentration, their application, how they went about it, the togetherness they showed as you could see towards the end, was superb, so great credit to them.

“They did lots of good things. I think we showed two sides of the game today. Lots of good things in the first half and then we dug in.

“We knew that we’d find space on transition so there was an element of allowing Stoke to come onto us. I think at times in the game we could look after the ball better but when you’ve had a run of results like this, the important thing is you get three points.”

Stoke have won twice in the last 17 games and are only three points clear of the drop zone.

Steven Schumacher said: “The start is just not good enough. If you give a Championship team a 3-0 head start, then you’re doomed, because they don’t really have to do anything else in the game.

“That’s kind of what we did. We didn’t start the game well enough. They scored goals that were too easy to score and gave ourselves a mountain to climb.

“From the third goal onwards, I thought we looked better, we looked like a team. We were positive, we passed the ball forwards which we didn’t do up until they scored the third goal, and we won some tackles and some duels which is the bare minimum.

“We’ve got to show a bit more character, a bit more belief, a bit more bravery. More importantly, we’ve got to show a bit more fight.”

Tyrhys Dolan’s double helped Blackburn begin their new era with a 3-1 win over fellow strugglers Stoke to ease their relegation worries.

After a turbulent week that saw John Eustace replace Jon Dahl Tomasson as head coach, Blackburn put in an encouraging display, epitomised by scoring three goals in the first 37 minutes.

Dolan converted a seventh-minute opener from close range before Sammie Szmodics headed in his 22nd of the campaign 13 minutes later.

Dolan’s composed finish seemingly put the game beyond Stoke, but Niall Ennis marked his full debut after his deadline-day move from Blackburn by scoring his first for the club before half-time.

Daniel Johnson spurned a glorious chance early in the second half as his poor penalty was saved and, despite Stoke’s possession, Rovers’ defence deprived the visitors of any real opportunities to win their first league game since mid-December.

Steven Schumacher made eight changes for this clash but it made no difference in a woeful first half where the game was lost and Stoke are two places and three points above the drop zone after a fourth straight defeat.

Dolan gave the new era lift off in the seventh minute, but the architect was Callum Brittain whose sumptuous first-time cross put the chance on a plate for him to slot home from six yards at the far post, and Sam Gallagher went close to doubling the advantage in the 14th minute but slotted just wide.

Stoke failed to learn their lesson and were further behind in the 20th minute after Brittain was again given time to superbly cross and Ryan Hedges nodded across goal for Szmodics to thump his header into the roof of the net.

The away supporters were irate after Rovers scored a simple third in the 37th minute when a long ball was flicked on by Gallagher, sending Dolan racing clear on the right with just Daniel Iversen to beat and he made no mistake, burying his shot into the left corner.

Stoke had hope two minutes later when Bae Jun-ho’s flick-on found Ennis in the area and he showed excellent composure to step inside his man and find the left corner.

It gave the visitors some impetus and they carved out a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit further just after the break when Brittain hauled down Andre Vidigal in the area.

Johnson stepped up to take the penalty but Aynsley Pears guessed the right way and saved before Rovers cleared.

The visitors were in the ascendency and Ben Wilmot shot straight at Pears, but Blackburn displayed defensive solidity that has been missing to expertly see the game out.

QPR head coach Marti Cifuentes hailed an ‘important’ 2-1 win at Blackburn that bolstered his side’s chances of Sky Bet Championship survival.

Rangers came into this game with only one away win since September but deservedly put that statistic to bed with a two-goal haul in the space of three second-half minutes.

The 61st-minute opener came when Ilias Chair’s shot hit the woodwork and went in off Blackburn keeper Aynsley Pears for an own goal, but it was luck their performance merited and substitute Joe Hodge slotted a debut goal that doubled the advantage.

Sam Gallagher fired beyond Asmir Begovic to set up a grandstand finish but the Rs held on to stretch their unbeaten run to three.

They remain three points from safety but more teams – including Blackburn – will now be nervously looking over their shoulders and Cifuentes hopes this is a ‘turning point’.

He said: “Important win for us, definitely because we knew we were playing against a team that offensively they are one of the best teams.

“When they are in possession, they can create a lot of chances and I think we contained them well for first 70-75 minutes.

“In addition, a difficult place for QPR historically, it’s been a lot of years since the last victory. In this situation, where we are, every victory is so, so important with the results that happened today.

“It was not easy. I think small margins today, the goal of Ilias (Chair), a very brilliant action but today the ball rebounded and went in. Other days, unfortunately it’s been post and out.

“I’m a big believer that the small margins when you work hard, when you work in a humble way, starts to pay off. Hopefully this will be what this team will start to achieve because since my arrival, the team has been competing very well in all the games. Hopefully this can be a turning point.”

The Ewood Park atmosphere was mutinous towards the club’s owners and CEO after a sixth defeat in eight which leaves them five points off the bottom three.

Manager Jon Dahl Tomasson described the goals as ‘unnecessary’ and praised the fans for rallying behind his team.

He said: “We are disappointed to lose the game. I think actually we started really well. It was a good chance for Ben (Chrisene). Brilliant play, he should have scored that.

“I don’t think the level is the same as Monday when we really played well and in the end of the game, we scored a good goal but we created plenty of chances to score goals.

“We conceded two unnecessary goals of course where we should have done better. We knew they could be dangerous in transition where we lost balls where normally we shouldn’t lose balls.

“I think the lads and our fans showed great character. We almost got the draw. I think we had two or three good opportunities. Big chances to get the second.

“So all the credit to the players and actually also for the fans to stay behind the team but of course disappointed. We want to win games.”

QPR scored twice in three second-half minutes to boost their survival hopes with a 2-1 win at Blackburn.

QPR took a 61st-minute lead through an unfortunate Aynsley Pears own goal, which owed much to the magic of Ilias Chair, but it was the least they deserved and Joe Hodge’s assured finish seven minutes into his QPR debut doubled their advantage.

It was too much for Blackburn’s supporters, who vociferously protested against owners Venky’s and their CEO Steve Waggott before Sam Gallagher’s fourth of the campaign halved the deficit 17 minutes from time.

But the visitors held on for their first win on this ground since October 1999 and with Blackburn now only five points clear of danger after a winless run of eight, QPR may have dragged them into the relegation battle.

Benjamin Chrisene should have given Rovers a fifth-minute lead when he found space inside the box and switched onto his right foot but got his curling effort all wrong and missed the target.

QPR looked the most assured of the two sides though and Chair engineered space on the left soon after, cutting inside before unleashing a rasping shot that Pears tipped away.

They went even closer when a flowing move saw Reggie Cannon cross for Sinclair Armstrong at the near post but he put his first-time shot the wrong side of the post.

Rovers were toothless, though Joe Rankin-Costello forced Asmir Begovic into a low save before Armstrong’s shot from a narrow angle was tipped behind.

The visitors went close again two minutes after the restart when Chair whipped a dangerous cross to the back post that Steve Cook met but his header whistled just wide, before Armstrong missed a glaring chance when over-running the ball clean through, allowing Pears to smother.

QPR got the goal their performance deserved just after the hour and it was thanks to the game’s outstanding player in Chair, who jinked inside from the left and dummied before letting fly with a ferocious low 25-yard strike that clattered the post and rebounded in off Pears.

They doubled their advantage three minutes later and there was no luck about this one as Armstrong found Hodge’s perfectly timed run into the box and he had time to pick his spot, slotting the ball beyond Pears into the right corner.

The atmosphere was bordering on mutinous after the second goal but Blackburn rallied and grabbed a lifeline when Rankin-Costello chased his mis-hit shot and bundled the ball into the path of Gallagher who fired through the legs of Begovic.

Begovic produced a sprawling save to deny Gallagher, and Semir Telalovic poked over deep into added time, but QPR held on for a vital win.

Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson is relishing the prospect of his side hosting his old club Newcastle after Rovers came from behind to beat Wrexham 4-1 at Ewood Park in the FA Cup fourth round.

The League Two visitors were on for an upset when Andy Cannon put them in front in the 19th minute, bringing a huge roar from the 7,000-plus away fans in the ground.

But Blackburn responded in ruthless fashion with goals in quick succession just past the half-hour mark from Sammie Szmodics and then Sam Gallagher as goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo was punished for racing out of his area.

Szmodics, the Championship’s leading scorer this term with 16 goals who had bagged a hat-trick in the 5-2 third-round victory over Cambridge, then netted his second of the night just prior to the interval before Sondre Tronstad wrapped things up in the second half.

Former striker Tomasson – a Newcastle player in 1997-98 – said in his post-match press conference when asked about the fifth-round clash with the Magpies that had been set up: “It’s special.

“When I saw the draw, I was thinking about the Champions League game against Barcelona where we won it 3-2, I thought that could be nice if we were able to win against Wrexham, to see my former club here.

“We know how well Newcastle has performed. So I’m really pleased to see my old club coming here.”

On his team’s display against Wrexham, Tomasson said: “It was a good performance, and when you play the FA Cup it’s about winning.

“A game like this could be extremely dangerous, Wrexham are bringing on a Monday night more than 7,000 fans, they had a great run last season, beating Coventry, almost beating Sheffield United as well. The team have done a very good performance and we are pleased to be through to the next round.”

Sammie Szmodics notched a brace as Blackburn came from behind to see off Sky Bet League Two high-flyers Wrexham 4-1 at Ewood Park and set up an FA Cup fifth-round clash at the same venue with Newcastle.

The visitors, who won at Coventry and drew with Sheffield United in last season’s competition, were on for an upset when Andy Cannon put them in front in the 19th minute, bringing a huge roar from the 7,000-plus away fans who had made the trip.

But Blackburn responded in ruthless fashion with goals in quick succession from Szmodics and Sam Gallagher just past the half-hour mark to turn things around.

Szmodics, the Championship’s leading scorer this term with 16 goals who had bagged a hat-trick in the 5-2 third-round victory over Cambridge, then scored his second of the night just prior to the interval before Sondre Tronstad wrapped things up in the second half.

Securing cup progress was a welcome boost for former Newcastle forward Jon Dahl Tomasson’s men, who are currently 18th in the second tier and winless in their last seven league games.

Phil Parkinson’s Wrexham, second in League Two, return to their quest to make it back-to-back promotions in their high-profile resurgence under the ownership of actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

Szmodics had a good chance to put Blackburn ahead in the third minute but put his shot wide and moments later sent the ball past goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo from the right side of the box, but Wrexham skipper Ben Tozer was on hand to clear.

A couple of further efforts for the hosts from Jake Garrett followed before Wrexham began to exert some pressure, with Aynsley Pears gathering a Sam Dalby header and a Paul Mullin free-kick.

Soon after, there was jubilation in the vociferous away section as Red Dragons grabbed the lead when Cannon collected the ball from Dalby and fired past Pears.

And they went close to swiftly adding another as Pears parried Cannon’s drive, then did superbly to tip over James McClean’s follow-up attempt.

Having been rocked, Blackburn hit back with an equaliser in the 32nd minute, Szmodics slotting in from Gallagher’s cutback.

And two minutes after that they were in front as a miscalculation by Okonkwo was punished, the goalkeeper opting to race out of his area as Tozer was beaten by Gallagher, who was left with a simple task to slot into the net.

The hosts then extended their advantage in first-half stoppage time as Szmodics controlled Tronstad’s pass and stroked home, putting a finger to his lips as he celebrated in front of the away fans.

Tronstad added a goal of his own just before the hour mark when Gallagher attempted to shoot, the ball came to the Norwegian and his shot went in via a deflection off Elliot Lee.

With the game looking very much up for Wrexham, Lee subsequently tried his luck with a attempt from inside his own half that dropped wide, and substitute James Jones had a low shot saved.

Szmodics had a chance to complete another treble in the closing stages, but saw his strike saved by Okonkwo.

Huddersfield manager Darren Moore was “frustrated” after his side were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Blackburn.

The Terriers fell behind early on after Adam Wharton intercepted Jonathan Hogg’s pass before slotting home from 10 yards.

Huddersfield responded impressively and their talismanic defender Michal Helik brilliantly directed his near-post header into the far corner to notch his eighth goal of the campaign midway through the first half.

The visitors had plenty of chances to seal victory, the best missed by Jack Rudoni in the first half while David Kasumu fired wide when clean through in the second half.

Despite seeing their winless run stretch to four Sky Bet Championship games, Moore believes the victories will come.

He said: “I know they had a lot more possession but I thought we had the clearer-cut chances, certainly we feel like as a team we’re going away a little bit frustrated with the chances we created.

“We could have capitalised more. I don’t want it to seem like a downer but the hard bit was the boys getting into those areas and finding the composure. The last bit was the final conversion because they were clear-cut chances for us to go and score.

“The positives are I’ve been quite happy with the way the boys have been showing the performances over the last half dozen, seven, eight games, in terms of we’re talking about us winning games.

“I keep saying to them that as long as they keep applying themselves, those draws will turn into wins because you’re certainly in the ascendency in winning games as opposed to losing games. We have to keep going.”

It is seven games without a win for Blackburn, who failed to work Lee Nicholls enough in the Huddersfield goal.

Rovers boss Jon Dahl Tomasson felt that a first-half injury to Hayden Carter killed momentum but conceded his side did not create enough.

He said: “We are of course disappointed not to win the game. Huddersfield came with a very clear plan to sit back and rely on set-plays and transition moments.

“We know when a team sit back like that, it can be difficult to play through, with a lot of bodies behind the ball.

“I actually thought we started really bright. We scored an excellent goal, then I think with Hayden Carter, he got injured and it killed the momentum a bit and then we were playing too slow in that moment.

“We conceded a goal we shouldn’t have conceded of course, but all the credit to Huddersfield and Helik. He’s scored a lot of goals from set-pieces this season.

“The second half, I thought we dominated totally. We did a lot of good things until we came to around the box. What we’ve been really great at during this season is creating chances.

“I think with the possession we had, we didn’t create enough chances. I think we were lacking runs and were lacking quick play, instead taking too many touches around the box.”

Michal Helik’s eighth goal of the season gave relegation-threatened Huddersfield a 1-1 draw at Blackburn.

It was the least that Darren Moore’s side deserved after creating the better chances in this encounter between two of the Sky Bet Championship’s most out-of-form sides.

The Terriers gifted Blackburn the opener after Adam Wharton profited from a poor pass, but Helik’s towering header midway through the first half restored parity.

Huddersfield, who are now just three points clear of the drop zone, were guilty of missing opportunities to snatch victory through Jack Rudoni and David Kasumu.

Aynsley Pears returned in goal for Rovers, who have won just once in 10 league games, after a three-month layoff while Rhys Healey made his Huddersfield debut.

Blackburn took a seventh-minute lead when Wharton intercepted a terrible Jonathan Hogg pass to go clean through on goal and he confidently stroked into the right corner for his second goal this season.

Dominic Hyam directed a free header straight at Lee Nicholls soon after but the Terriers grew into the game and Healey forced a sharp low save from Pears in the 22nd minute.

But, from the resulting corner, the Terriers equalised through Helik who got up highest at the near post before glancing Sorba Thomas’ corner into the far corner from six yards.

Blackburn thought they should have had a penalty in the 37th minute when Sam Gallagher seemed to have his heels clipped by Brodie Spencer when chasing a Sammie Szmodics through ball but the referee waved away the protests.

It should have got worse for the hosts moments later when Josh Koroma seized on a poor pass to race clean through before squaring for Rudoni but he somehow slotted wide with the goal at his mercy.

Blackburn came out with renewed purpose but it was Huddersfield who created the better opportunities after soaking up the pressure and substitute Bojan Radulovic went close after cutting inside from the right but Pears smothered his shot.

They went even closer in the 76th minute, hitting Blackburn on the counter to release Kasumu clean through but the substitute dragged his shot wide of the left post with just Pears to beat.

Helik almost scored a spectacular second moments later when he met Kasumu’s cross on the volley from a tight angle but directed agonisingly wide.

Blackburn substitute Joe Rankin-Costello volleyed over in injury time but a point is the most they deserved after a lacklustre display.

West Brom boss Carlos Corberan was full of praise for striker Brandon Thomas-Asante after his two goals helped earn the Baggies a 4-1 win over Blackburn.

The hosts were three up inside 33 minutes thanks to a Tom Fellows effort, an own goal by Dominic Hyam and a Thomas-Asante strike.

Jake Garrett pulled a goal back for Blackburn after 60 minutes, but Thomas-Asante soon restored the hosts’ three-goal advantage.

West Brom cement fifth position, five points clear of sixth place, whilst Blackburn drop to 18th in the table and are winless in six league games.

Corberan, whose side strengthened their position in fifth, said of Thomas-Asante’s display: “Excellent, not only for the goals but the way he was linking the play and how he was helping the team build attacks.

“The most important thing with Brandon is his mentality and his physical condition to play and always be ready to help the team.

“The most important moment is every game he plays with us and today he was able to help the team with the goals that he scored.”

The afternoon saw the return of key players John Swift, Adam Reach and Jed Wallace for West Brom and Corberan was delighted to have the trio back after injury lay-offs.

“I liked a lot the contribution of Reach, I think he was perfect for the type of game we wanted to play today,” the head coach said.

“His contribution in defending was very important too.

“To have all your fullest squad is one of the key points in the Championship.”

Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson admitted it was a bad day at the office for his side, who have now conceded the most goals in the Championship

“We need to accept it was not a good day,” he said. “We knew coming here with the quality of West Brom it would be a tough task. I thought we started the game well, but I was disappointed in the manner we gave the goals away.

“We gave three set-piece goals away today. When Garrett scored an excellent goal in the second half we had a chance to get back in the game, but we conceded immediately.

“The only thing I was pleased with today was to give Sam Gallagher minutes who’s been out for four months.”

Tomasson feels his side are too easy to score against at the moment.

“When you look at the whole play, I thought we were just as good as West Brom, but games are won in each box in the way you defend,” he said.

“Are you winning your duels, are you winning your personal duels, the first and second contact, are you smelling danger all those things? Football is won in each box and we need to do better.”

West Brom further cemented their position in the Championship play-off places with a thumping 4-1 win over struggling Blackburn at The Hawthorns.

Tom Fellows opened the scoring after 12 minutes with a header before Brandon Thomas-Asante doubled the hosts’ lead on the half-hour mark.

An unfortunate own goal by Dominic Hyam three minutes later all but wrapped up victory for the Baggies before half-time.

Blackburn pulled a goal back after 60 minutes through Jake Garrett, but the visitors badly missed top-scorer Sammy Szmodics, out through illness.

And the host put the game to bed as Thomas-Asante struck his ninth league goal of the season after 63 minutes.

West Brom stay fifth, while Blackburn drop to 18th, 10 points above the relegation zone but winless in six league matches.

West Brom opened the scoring after Darnell Furlong’s long throw was not dealt with by the Blackburn defence.

After initial contact from Kyle Bartley at the front post, Fellows was able to head the ball into the net from a yard out at the back post.

John Swift volleyed over a chance for the second when he was found in behind the Rovers defence by a delightful Alex Mowatt pass.

Furlong then also found himself in behind but could not pick out Thomas-Asante for a clear chance on goal.

Thomas-Asante, though, only needed one sight of goal as, from 18 yards, he fired a low strike across goal and beyond the stretching arm of Leopold Wahlstedt.

A Hyam own goal put the hosts 3-0 up, the ball deflecting in off him after Wahlstedt was unable to collect Mowatt’s strike.

An opportunity to add a was passed up when a deep cross found Fellows, who took the ball down well but struck a left-footed shot wide.

In first half added time Fellows was presented with another good opportunity which he fired over.

Five minutes into the second half Blackburn had their best chance of the match when they caught West Brom playing out from the back.

Harry Leonard only had the goalkeeper to beat but scuffed his shot and it was an easy save for Alex Palmer to make.

Wahlstedt pushed away Fellows’ near-post shot before Palmer leapt across his goal-line to beat away a Sondre Tronstad effort.

The visitors pulled a goal back with half-an-hour remaining when Garrett showed neat footwork and a precise finish into the bottom corner to beat Palmer.

However, Thomas-Asante scored his second of the afternoon with a close-range finish to restore the Baggies’ three-goal cushion.

Jon Dahl Tomasson lauded “incredible” Sammie Szmodics after his first career hat-trick helped Blackburn defeat Cambridge 5-2 in the FA Cup third round.

United threatened to shock their Sky Bet Championship hosts and twice went ahead, first through Jack Lankester’s curling finish and then Sullay Kaikai’s emphatic volley. In between those goals, Szmodics swept home and he brought Rovers level again with a typically clinical strike.

The Championship’s leading scorer took his remarkable tally for the season to 19 in first-half stoppage time with a first-time volley from close range, showing the confidence of a player in the form of his life.

Arnor Sigurdsson’s close-range finish midway through the second half and Harry Leonard’s powerful late header rounded off the scoring, but the star man was Szmodics and Rovers boss Tomasson praised his performance.

He said: “The development of Sammie is great to see. He’s a team player, he’s a goalscorer. He’s very good in doing all the things we want, then of course scoring that amount of goals and also even getting assists.

“And still the good thing is, he can miss a chance and it doesn’t matter, he can go on. Great character and great to see him getting the ball with him at home.

“After Christmas last season, I think he’s been really good for Rovers and after the summer holiday, he’s been extremely good. He’s also added those goals.

“We always know he can score goals but he’s not used to playing a lot of games at this level first of all, he played with Peterborough but not a lot. The way he’s scoring goals, the confidence he’s playing with and the role he takes as one of the senior players is quite incredible.”

Cambridge manager Neil Harris was disappointed with the manner of the goals his League One side conceded.

He said: “The game went how we expected it to go. Sammie Szmodics is a top player. We didn’t help ourselves at times with conceding goals, individual errors again which have cost us and we have to cut them out because when you play against good sides, you can’t give them a leg up.

“In the first half, our shape was excellent, our press was excellent, we regained the ball and used it really well, scored two really good goals.

“But you can’t give goals to these teams. You can’t give opportunities in the box to these teams because they are just too clinical. That’s my only frustration is that we didn’t help ourselves.

“I’m pleased with some aspects of the game, pleased for the two guys who got on the scoresheet, but ultimately, if you score two goals away from home in the FA Cup you don’t expect to lose by three goals.”

Sammie Szmodics scored a first-half hat-trick as Blackburn avoided an upset by overcoming League One outfit Cambridge 5-2 in the FA Cup third round.

In the first meeting between the sides in exactly 31 years, Blackburn found themselves behind when Jack Lankester’s early curling finish put Neil Harris’ team in front.

Szmodics swept in an equaliser in the 23rd minute but parity was brief as Sullay Kaikai volleyed in his second of the season to put Cambridge ahead again.

Blackburn’s superior firepower was the difference, though, typified by Szmodics, the Championship’s leading marksman, who lashed in a second equaliser in the 37th minute before completing his hat-trick in stoppage time, volleying in his 19th of the campaign.

Arnor Sigurdsson’s seventh of the season midway through the second half, and Harry Leonard’s late header, ensured welcome respite from Rovers’ league form.

Cambridge’s aggressive start was rewarded in the sixth minute when Jubril Okedina picked out Lankester in the area and he cut inside onto his left foot before curling brilliantly into the top corner.

Szmodics went close 10 minutes later when Jack Stevens superbly tipped his shot away but Blackburn’s continued pressure eventually told when Szmodics confidently swept Hayden Carter’s near-post cross into the bottom corner.

United came roaring back and restored their lead in the 26th minute when James Brophy’s cross was cushioned by Lankester into the path of Kaikai who emphatically rifled home a volley from 12 yards.

Blackburn restored parity again in the 37th minute when Sigurdsson pounced on a loose pass before threading to Szmodics, who hammered a left-footed shot beyond Stevens from close range.

Szmodics still had time to complete his hat-trick before the break with the best finish of the lot, finding the bottom corner with a first-time volley to convert Callum Brittain’s pinpoint cross.

Andrew Moran’s left-footed shot cannoned off the crossbar just after the break, before Kaikai’s mazy run at the other end found Adam May who shot straight at Leopold Wahlstedt.

Stevens in the Cambridge goal produced another impressive sprawling save, this time to thwart Sigurdsson’s low, curling effort.

But the Iceland international could not be denied when Cambridge failed to clear their lines and Carter showed remarkable poise to find Sigurdsson six yards out.

Leonard somehow volleyed wide from close range but made up for it in the 81st minute, rising highest to head home Harry Pickering’s left-wing centre.

Sigurdsson forced a remarkable reflex save from Stevens late on, while Szmodics rattled the post, but that would have been harsh on Cambridge who battled valiantly.

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