Blackburn 2-0 Millwall: Relegation to League One looms for Neil Harris' side after late goals from Rudy Gestede and Jordan Rhodes condemn them to another defeat

  • Neil Harris' side look likely to be relegated from the Sky Bet Championship 
  • Goals from Rudy Gestede and Jordan Rhodes sealed the tie 
  • Millwall are now four points from safety with two games to play 
  • Blackburn are currently ninth after a strong finish to the season  

By Chris Wheeler At Ewood Park

Published: 21:02 GMT, 21 April 2015 | Updated: 21:11 GMT, 21 April 2015

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It looks as though Millwall will have to rely on their increasingly desperate fight to stay in the Championship being salvaged off the pitch after late goals from Rudy Gestede and Jordan Rhodes consigned them to defeat at Ewood Park on Tuesday night.

Neil Harris’s side remain four points adrift of fourth-from-bottom Rotherham with two tough final games to end the season, against promotion-chasing Derby and Wolves. Rotherham also have a game in hand as well as a significantly better goal difference.

Millwall’s best hope of extending their five-season stay in the Championship now hinges on a Football League disciplinary hearing to decide if Rotherham fielded an ineligible player, on-loan Farrend Rawson, against Brighton on Easter Monday.

Rudy Gestede (centre) scores the opening goal for Blackburn as he fires past the helpless David Forde

Rudy Gestede (centre) scores the opening goal for Blackburn as he fires past the helpless David Forde

The case is expected to be heard by a disciplinary commission within the next 10 days, with Rotherham in danger of being docked three points.

Even that might not be enough to save Millwall after losing what amounted to a must-win game. They were in until the 78th minute when Craig Conway’s cross from the right found its way through to Gestede in the 78th minute. The Benin striker scored a hat-trick against Nottingham Forest here on Saturday and took his 20th goal of the season well with a right-footed shot.

Millwall were desperately chasing a point in added time when Blackburn broke away and substitute Rhodes had the simple task of slipping the ball past David Forde with the goalkeeper stranded on the edge of his

The game had been postponed from earlier this month to accommodate Blackburn’s FA Cup quarter-final replay against Liverpool.

Defeat to Brendan Rodgers’s side and a disappointing sequence of three draws since that had seen Blackburn finally slip out of playoff contention left them with little to play for last night, but manager Gary Bowyer was still adamant that his team put up a fight.

The big striker bagged goal number 20 for the season as he continues his excellent form for Rovers

The big striker bagged goal number 20 for the season as he continues his excellent form for Rovers

MATCH FACTS

BLACKBURN (4-4-2): Steele 7; Marshall 5.5, Spurr 6, Kilgallon 6.5 (Lenihan 37, 6.5), Olsson 6; Conway 8, Spearing 6, Evans 6.5, Taylor 6 (Cairney 71, 7); Brown 6 (Rhodes 71, 7), Gestede 6.5. Subs: Eastwood, Henley, Williamson, O’Sullivan.

Scorers: Gestede 78, Rhodes 90+3

MILLWALL (4-2-3-1): Forde 6; Dunne 6.5, Nelson 5.5, Beevers 6, Harding 5 (Taylor-Fletcher 83); Bailey 5.5, Abdou 5; Gueye 5 (Cowan-Hall 61, 5.5), O’Brien 6.5, Woolford 6; Fuller 6.5 (Gregory 61, 6). Subs: Archer, Hooiveld, Martin, Powell. 

Booked: Cowan-Hall

Referee: Nigel Miller

Star man: Craig Conway

‘We’re fully aware of the challenge that lies ahead because two years ago we found ourselves in the exact same position going to Millwall when I was caretaker,’ Bowyer wrote in his programme notes.

‘We knew we had to win to stay up and they’re in a similar position at the moment. We’ve just got to make sure that we’re right at it because we know what to expect. They are going to be coming here fighting for their lives and we’ve got to make sure we match that.’

Sadly, the only thing Blackburn matched Millwall for in a dour first half was mediocrity in front of a half-empty Ewood Park.

Millwall did not really resemble a team scrapping for their lives, and Blackburn hardly had to rouse themselves to meet the challenge.

The visitors had the better of it and Aiden O’Brien had already volleyed well wide at the end of an impressive move before captain Alan Dunne went marginally closer when he curled a shot with the outside of his right boot past the far post from a tight angle.

Jordan Rhodes slots home the second in injury time to make Millwall's survival aspirations look impossible

Jordan Rhodes slots home the second in injury time to make Millwall's survival aspirations look impossible

Rhodes celebrated being named in the Football League team of the decade with the second goal

Rhodes celebrated being named in the Football League team of the decade with the second goal

Paul Taylor responded by drilling a low shot straight at David Forde from the edge of the box, but Blackburn almost gifted their opponents an opening goal after quarter of an hour following a failed one-two between Dan Harding and Ricardo Fuller. Ben Marshall tried to shepherd the ball out of play but Harding stole in and squared it for Martyn Woolford whose snap-shot was blocked.

Rovers suffered a blow when captain Matt Kilgallon limped off, forcing Bowyer to send on 21-year-old Darragh Lenihan for his debut, before both teams went closest to breaking the deadlock in the minutes before half-time.

Millwall’s opportunity again fell to Woolford, who was teed up by O’Brien on the edge of the box, and his low drive was well held Jason Steele.

Forde then had to be on his toes at the other end, diving to beat away a fierce, bending drive from Taylor when he cut in from the right touchline.

Neil Harris' side look almost condemned to relegation from the Championship with two games to still to play

Neil Harris' side look almost condemned to relegation from the Championship with two games to still to play

Fuller threatened again within five minutes of the restart, demonstrating that he still has a burst of pace at the age of 35 by racing past Tommy Spurr and firing just wide of the far post.

But Brown went even closer for Blackburn moments later as he met Craig Conway’s cross from the right with a firm header that beat Forde and came back off the bar.

Millwall responded when Blackburn were caught out by the bounce of Dunne’s long ball forward and substitute Paris Cowan-Hall was through on goal but Steele rushed off his line to make an excellent block.

But strikers like Gestede and Rhodes often only need one chance and, much to Millwall’s dismay, they took them.

Magaye Gueye (left) and Jay Spearing compete for the ball during Blackburn's win at Ewood Park

Magaye Gueye (left) and Jay Spearing compete for the ball during Blackburn's win at Ewood Park

 

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