Blackburn Rovers 0-3 Bournemouth: Solanke & Billing shine in Cherries victory

Dominic Solanke has now scored 29 Championship goals in 44 appearances this season

Dominic Solanke’s 30th goal of a prolific season and a double from Philip Billing kept Bournemouth on track for promotion to the Premier League and put an end to Blackburn’s play-off hopes.

The Cherries were equally impressive in their win and will go into the fixture full of confidence thanks to a clinical attacking display at Ewood Park.

Solanke shone throughout and teed up Billing, who fired the ball home from inside the box, and a victory routine was sealed when Billing slotted in his second from close range with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Huddersfield beat Coventry 2-1 and can still mathematically sneak into the automatic promotion spots, but need to win their final game, hope Forest beat Bournemouth, both sides lose their final game, while the Terriers must also overturn a huge goal difference.

Bournemouth will be sure of securing automatic promotion if they beat Forest in midweek, while two draws from their final two games will also be enough to take them back to the Premier League.

The Cherries were good value for their half-time lead against a side who did not manage an attempt on target and never looked in serious danger against a Rovers side who realistically had to win to keep alive their slim play-off chances.

Solanke was involved in much of the away side’s most dangerous moments, finding Billing who saw his early shot blocked before the same duo combined neatly to put the Cherries ahead when Billing put Solanke through and the former Liverpool striker finished coolly.

The lead should have been doubled soon after when Jaidon Anthony’s fierce strike crashed back off the bar following another cute pass from Solanke.

Bournemouth continued to remain on top after the break, although Ben Brereton Diaz did force keeper Mark Travers into a decent save after working his way into the box.

But, after Jefferson Lerma had an effort cleared off the line and Solanke went close, the visitors did go further ahead thanks to two goals in 10 minutes from Billing to seal a result which keeps them in prime spot in a thrilling promotion race.

Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray: “It’s ok running, chasing and tackling, but sometimes you play against better teams. We’ve already beaten Bournemouth this season, I get that, but they do have some really high-quality players.

“We had some chances and they had some chances to score. We didn’t take ours and they took theirs.

“The more you try to attack to win a game, you leave yourself more vulnerable and I think that’s what happened today.

“Against the quality of Bournemouth, they punished us today, but I couldn’t question the desire of our team. We needed one of our chances to go in.

“Mid-February we were sitting second in the league and it’s obviously frustrating we’ve missed out on the play-offs with a game to go. I feel as if I’m leaving them with some talent in that squad and some assets there and hopefully they can continue to grow.”

Bournemouth boss Scott Parker: “Overall, it was a day that went to plan in every aspect.

“We knew Blackburn would have to come at us. They needed a result with the position they were in.

“We needed to be solid and diligent and all that side of the game, which we showed. We also knew if it opened up, we needed to be clinical. And we were definitely that as well.

“We needed every single player one pulling in the right direction and that has certainly been the case for large parts of the season. It was a high-pressure game. The result was key. Performance is secondary at this part of the season. But we got a result and we got a performance. We were deadly in our moments.

“I’ve been in football for a long time and there’s only limited teams that get to a point where they have opportunities to be successful. We have that opportunity, we need to embrace that, play with a freedom. I thought we did that very well.”

Line-ups

Blackburn

Training 4-2-3-1

  • 1Kaminsky
  • 26Lenihan
  • 25van HeckeBooked at 52mins
  • 16WhartonBooked at 16mins
  • 3Pickering
  • 27Travis
  • 8RothwellSubstituted forDolandid 60′minutes
  • 19HedgesBooked at 40minsSubstituted forPoveda-Ocampodid 60′minutes
  • 21BuckleyBooked at 48mins
  • 9GallagherSubstituted forDeckdid 68′minutes
  • 22Brereton Diaz

Substitutes

  • 5Ayala
  • 10Dolan
  • 13Pears
  • 20Edun
  • 23Deck
  • 30Poveda-Ocampo
  • 42Zeefuik

Bournemouth

Training 4-2-3-1

  • 42Traverse
  • 15To Smith
  • 2PhillipsBooked at 3mins
  • 5Kelly
  • 33ZemuraBooked at 87mins
  • 8Lerma
  • 4L Cook
  • 10ChristieSubstituted forMephamdid 75′minutes
  • 29billing
  • 32AnthonySubstituted forDembeledid 63′minutes
  • 9SolankeSubstituted forLowedid 83′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Woodman
  • 6Mepham
  • 12Brady
  • 18Lowe
  • 21Moore
  • 22Pearson
  • 37Dembele

Referee:
Robert Jones

Waiting:
21,396

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