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Blackburn lost 0-1 to Charlton
( 2003-10-21 10:06) (soccernet.com)

Hermann Hreidarsson's brilliant diving header sent Blackburn tumbling to their fourth Barclaycard Premiership defeat at Ewood Park this season.

The Icelander swooped to meet Paolo di Canio's 33rd minute corner and fire home his first Charlton goal as the Addicks soared to seventh place in the table with the 1-0 triumph.

Dean Kiely's brilliant fingertip save to deny David Thompson in the 65th minute sealed Alan Curbishley's side's smash and grab success and heaped the pressure on Rovers boss Graeme Souness.

Speculation about Souness and the vacant manager's job at Tottenham refuses to disperse but the Scot will be wise to concentrate on his current position.

For all their territorial superiority Rovers struggled to find their way through Charlton's solid back line and were frequently flat-footed at the back as the visitors threatened a breakaway second.

Rovers were booed off on a chilly night which suggested that - already eliminated from the UEFA Cup - their season is in danger of coming off the rails.

Andy Cole had returned to the Rovers line-up but despite Blackburn's early dominance he was provided with few chances to make an impression.

Souness' five-man midfield pushed the visitors back and Thompson had the first chance in the fifth minute when he was played through by Cole's flick-on but saw his shot blocked by Hreidarsson.

The visitors' only early chance of note was created by the always dangerous Claus Jensen, who whipped in a fine 13th minute cross from the right which narrowly evaded Jonatan Johansson in front of goal.

Brett Emerton was Rovers' biggest threat in the first period and he dribbled through the Charlton defence in the 15th minute only for his final touch to let him down and allow Kiely to gather.

Cole mis-headed a dangerous Barry Ferguson free-kick in front of goal then Vratislav Gresko fired straight into the keeper's arms.

Charlton had barely been over the halfway line for 20 minutes but when their chance came they seized it.

Graham Stuart's 33rd minute shot was deflected behind by Andy Todd to give the visitors their first corner.

Garry Flitcroft neglected Hreidarsson in the box and he produced a dramatic dive to fire di Canio's set-piece past Brad Friedel.

Kiely denied Steven Reid an equaliser six minutes later by diving low to his left to turn the defender's long-range shot around the post.

And moments later Cole charged clear and lashed a left-foot effort into the side-netting.

Matt Jansen's half-time introduction in place of Flitcroft seemed to be a change for better for Rovers as the striker was soon involved in the action down the right flank.

But Charlton came closest to extending their lead in the 49th minute when Martin Taylor's clearance fell to Radostin Kishishev who hammered a right-foot shot inches past Brad Friedel's right-hand post.

And di Canio blazed a speculative long-range effort over the bar as the visitors began to visibly grow in confidence.

For all Rovers' possession they were fashioning little and the Ewood Park fans became more frustrated.

The visitors still looked dangerous on the break and Scott Parker stole into the right side of the Rovers box before forcing Friedel to parry his rising shot.

Rovers came close in the 65th minute when Gresko's cross from the left was headed goalwards by Thompson only for Kiely's fingertip save to deny him.

And substitute Dino Baggio shot inches wide of Kiely's right-hand post with six minutes left from Paul Gallagher's cross.

Cole headed another Gallagher cross over the bar from point-blank range in the dying seconds as Blackburn pressed in vain.

 
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