Wed, Jan 04, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Peter Crouch brace brings Rovers back down to earth

AFP, London

Blackburn Rovers were brought down to earth following their away win over Manchester United at the weekend after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Stoke City at Ewood Park, Peter Crouch scoring twice for the visitors.

Blackburn looked to have got off to a dream start, only for Christopher Samba’s early effort to be ruled offside.

Stoke then went ahead with Crouch netting his 100th league goal from close range after Blackburn failed to deal with Dean Whitehead’s chip forward.

Crouch then doubled Stoke’s lead with his second of the match on 45 minutes to leave Rovers staring at their eighth home defeat of the season.

David Goodwillie scrambled one back in the 69th minute to give Rovers hope, but the home side were unable to find an equalizer.

Aston Villa’s feelgood factor from their win at Chelsea was also shattered, with newly promoted Swansea City scoring a 2-0 win at Villa Park.

Swansea went ahead after only four minutes, Nathan Dyer punishing some slack defending from Stephen Warnock to dart forward and finish past Brad Guzan.

Former Villa old boy Wayne Routledge then doubled Swansea’s lead two minutes after the restart, punishing a poor clearance from Guzan after Danny Graham’s shot crashed back off the post.

Queens Park Rangers captain Joey Barton was hero and villain at Loftus Road as Rangers crashed to a 2-1 loss to Norwich City, a defeat that edged Neil Warnock’s side ever closer to the relegation zone.

Barton shot Rangers ahead on 11 minutes, drilling in a low finish from Clint Hill’s cross, but his joy turned to despair on 36 minutes, when the midfielder was sent off for an apparent head butt in a confrontation with Bradley Johnson.

It got worse for Rangers moments later, Anthony Pilkington netting his fifth goal of the season to level it for Norwich. The knockout blow from Norwich came seven minutes from time, substitute Steve Morison grabbing the winner to end a desperate rearguard action from Rangers.

Barton later accused match officials of being “conned” into sending him off.

“Well feel for the officials, they’ve been conned. Admitted to me at HT they never saw it. I was pulled back 1st, then kicked 2nd,” Barton wrote on Twitter shortly after the final whistle.

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