Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Charlton Athletic Player Ratings: solid Smallwood

9 for Smallwood – rovers.co.uk

In a well-drilled performance of efficient pressing, clinical finishing from Blackburn saw them to a 2-0 victory over a one-dimensional Charlton side. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Rovers

David Raya – saved one-on-one from Reeves before half-time and also stopped the midfielder’s curling effort from just outside the box shortly after the break. Dealt with the bread and butter work with ease and exuded confidence, which spread throughout the team. 9

Ryan Nyambe – showed Marshall onto his weaker right foot in the first half hour, then stopped DaSilva in his tracks in the second half. Didn’t offer quite as much going forward as he is capable of and some of his decision making in possession might have been better. 7
Paul Downing – looked composed in possession in possession in the first half. Didn’t put a foot wrong, although he was examined surprisingly rarely after the interval. Without criticizing Downing, the clean sheet was largely to do with Charlton’s sideways play and the defensive work completed by those in front of him. 6
Charlie Mulgrew – on one rare occasion when Williams was beaten, he was first to the near post for a swift clearance. His 30th minute free-kick found its way through via a deflection off Best, but his aerial ability was left untested after the break. 7
Derrick Williams – untested by Clarke in the first half hour and roundly kept Marshall in his pocket after the winger moved to the right. Rarely broke forward, but didn’t need to once Blackburn took the lead. 8

Corry Evans – a solid performance in which he was quick to close down Aribo, Marshall, DaSilva or any player who tried to run into the final third. A tad limited in possession but for the job at hand, he was perfect. 8
Richie Smallwood – always quick to put challenges in and provided the defence with excellent protection. The only question is whether Evans and Smallwood partnership will give Blackburn enough creativity in future matches, especially when they don’t get ahead in the first half. 9

Craig Conway – endured a quiet start as the discipline of Charlton’s wide men restricted the amount of possession he could receive. Grew in influence after the opener as space opened up and he posed a threat on the break in the second half. 6
Bradley Dack – arguably Blackburn’s brightest attacking player prior to the opener, always full of intent in the transitional phases of play. After spraying the ball out wide on 18 minutes, he couldn’t quite connect with the return ball. Faded after the break. 6

Dominic Samuel – showed plenty of energy, but not quite as ruthless as we have seen earlier in the season and was taken off just before the hour mark along with Antonsson. 5
Marcus Antonsson – pressed the left channel well and put in an inviting cross just before the first half’s midway point, but his teammates couldn’t get a touch. Might have had better games in terms of what he does with the ball. 6

Joe Nuttall (on 59) – chased lost causes and combined well with Graham for the second goal in injury-time. 7
Danny Graham (on 59) – always happy to chase back a centre-back when they moved into the opposing half and his work rate was rewarded when he scored the second with a back-post header. 8
Willem Tomlinson (on 68) – slotted into the four-man midfield with minimal fuss and put in a solid defensive shift. 6

The Addicks

Ben Amos – let in the only two shots on target he faced and could have been more commanding of his area for both goals. 3

Chris Solly – looked solid enough but limited in terms of what he can do with the ball. The academy graduate has been a professional at the Valley for eight years now and some feel his career is stagnating. 4
Ezri Konsa – picked out one or two nice crossfield balls and rarely let Antonsson get beyond him, although he might have done better for the second goal. 5
Jason Pearce – a welcome return from injury, always looking up for the fight. Accused of fouling Samuel in the box midway through the first half but the referee waved away appeals. Struggled with the pace of Nuttall in the closing stages. 6
Jay DaSilva – didn’t get forward as much as he likes to in the first half due to the compact nature of Charlton’s system. The absence of a natural left winger in the second half meant he took on the baton more and tried to provide width, but couldn’t quite link in with his teammates. 5

Joseph Aribo – one lively run in the second half but he didn’t do that kind of thing often enough. Struggled to impose himself on the game and it may be that Charlton missed the bite of Ahmed Kashi. 3
Jake Forster-Caskey – some good passes into wide areas and was keen to do his fair share of defensive work in the first half. Sometimes he needed to be more adventurous in his passing after the break – he showed he has a diagonal ball in his locker. 5

Billy Clarke – didn’t make the biggest impression in his 27 minutes on the pitch. Fired over from just outside the box fifteen minutes in, before being taken off due to another injury. 3
Ben Reeves – linked up well with the main striker in flashes, combining with Best for a presentable chance before half-time, but his effort lacked power. Forced another save from Raya shortly after the break with a curling effort. 6
Mark Marshall – struggled to get the better of Nyamba in the early stages, then Williams when he moved to the right. Spent too much time threatening to burst beyond his opposing full-back but rarely put his money where his mouth is, mainly due to his insistence on using only his left foot. 2

Josh Magennis – suffered from a lack of support early on. When he moved into a wide left role, he didn’t look at home. Needs to be getting on the end of crosses, not stuck in wide areas playing five-yard passes. 3

Leon Best (on 27) – something of a pantomime villain due to his forgettable previous spell. Less forgettable was his own goal within three minutes of entering the fray, although he did flick the ball on for Reeves big chance. 3
Karlan Ahearne-Grant (on 78) – one run from deep in the right channel but he was crowded out. 4