To say yesterday was a rollercoaster of emotions is an understatement. That first half was comfortably the worst I have seen us play in Alex Neil’s time in charge. We were woeful, could barely string one pass together, nevermind 2 or 3. I considered doing a double ratings piece, one for the first half and one for the second but decided against it.

However, credit where it’s due and Alex Neil seemed to hold his hands up and accept his mistake and made the necessary change to the side at 29 minutes with Gally departing and Jayden Stockley coming on. I’ll come to him in a bit, don’t worry. But, it’s a change that ultimately worked and paid off as we ran out, deserved 3-2 winners.

Declan Rudd

Another okayish performance from Dec. It would be incredibly harsh to criticise him for the own goal and the second, as good a finish as it was, he did just see to wave an arm it. He did, at times through the game, look far too rooted to his line as he often does.

One instance in the second half, Darnell Fisher went off at him for not coming out of his 6-yard box to claim a ball and I think he bought himself the freekick later on in the half too.

Rating – 6

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Darnell Fisher

Darnell for me was 1 of 2 players in the first half who could have gone off with his head held high. He was up and down all the time on his side and was often the only outlet or option we had out wide.

In the second half, we saw the Darnell that we have come to love. He was brilliant and again, was constantly an outlet for us on the right side of the pitch and was solid as ever in his defensive duties too.

Rating – 7

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Patrick Bauer

In a rather uncharacteristic way, Bauer was beaten in the air by Sam Gallagher for Blackburn’s first goal. I think it is safe to say he wasn’t at his best in the first half yesterday but he absolutely was back to the Bauer we’re used to in the second half with a commanding performance. He was brilliant in the final 45. Kudos to you, big man.

Rating – 7

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Andrew Hughes

I mean, I won’t beat about the bush. His debut filling in at LCB for us wasn’t exactly off to the greatest of starts. He also looked to have picked up an injury and could have gone off but Neil stuck with him and he saw the game out okay in the end. I think Bauer taking more command in the second half certainly helped him.

Rating – 6

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Joe Rafferty

Another okay, if unspectacular performance from Raff. He struggled at times with Armstrong in the first half but other than that, he was okay. He’s regularly putting in okay performances out of position but now Hughes is getting more minutes under his belt, I suspect we could start to less and less of him. However, as I said, I think he did okay yesterday.

Rating – 7
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Ben Pearson

Again, he was one that clearly wasn’t at the races in the first half. In the second half though, we saw the Ben we have become so used to seeing over the seasons.

Rating – 7

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Paul Gallagher

I thought he was harshly taken off at around the 30-minute mark. I didn’t think he wasn’t particularly bad, certainly no worse than maybe a handful of others on the pitch but in the end, the change paid off.

As far as giving him a rating, it’s hard to judge him on a 30-minute showing in which the rest of the XI were awful too.

Rating- N/A

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Alan Browne

Honestly, I couldn’t work him out in the first half and I was surprised that when the change came, he wasn’t the one sacrificed but it was clearly tactical to keep him on the pitch. However, he won the penalty that got us back level in the game and he also got the assist for Tom Barkhuizen’s superb third goal so you could say he proved his worth in the end.

Rating – 7

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Daniel Johnson

DJ was his cool self for the penalty to bring us back level in the game. He looked better when he was moved higher up the pitch, specifically in the second hald and was involved in the build-up to the first goal.

Rating – 7

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Sean Maguire

As I mentioned, I thought Darnell was one of 2 players who could have held their heads high at half time and I thought the diminutive Irishman was the second. He was every in the first half, constantly moving and looking to be an option off the ball. At times he was even dropping back into his own half to move play and try and get us further up the pitch. A good performance from Seani overall and an assist for Barky to boot, too.

Rating – 7

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Tom Barkhuizen

Tom, as the rest of the XI on the pitch, was nowhere near it in the first half and he even said after the game that Alex Neil gave the team a ‘rollicking’ and that it was one the team deserved. He wasn’t wrong.

However, Barky loves a goal against Rovers. The first goal, he was in the right place, at the right time and finished the move off with a nice cushioned header into a pretty much empty net. The second goal, well. As my Blackburn supporting mate said, if Messi or Ronaldo had scored it, it would have been all over the internet.

Rating – 9

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Substitutes

Jayden Stockley

Now, this post is coming late in the day. We will be recording the podcast tonight and asked for fans to give us some things that they would like to hear us talking about and obviously, Stockley has been brought up quite a lot. We’ve not beaten about the bush in the past when it comes to Jayden, simply because, he has not been good enough when he has played and we aren’t the kind to fanny around a topic. In fact, Tom Barkhuizen even said yesterday after the game that he thought Jayden’s performance against Rovers was his best since he joined the club. I don’t think we’ve spoken out of turn in the past. We will say things as we see them and the same goes for when someone plays well, as Jayden did yesterday for 45 minutes.

He took a while to get into the flow of things when he came on but in the second half, he was brilliant. He had a hand to play in all 3 goals. The first, he won the header down to DJ who played the ball through to Darnell who crossed to the back post. Goal 1 in the bag. The second, he put Adarabioyo under pressure and looked to get a slight touch on Rudd’s ball for Browne to run through on and we won the penalty. The third, he chested the ball down into Alan Browne’s path who laid it on a plate for Barky to finish.

So yes, he played well. For 45 minutes. We will be going into more detail about Stockley’s performance in the podcast but we have always said there will be games that suit him and games that don’t this season. Yesterday was one of those but, one swallow does not a summer make, as the saying goes. However, well done Jayden. You certainly impressed and long may it continue.

Rating – 8

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Brad Potts

Pottsy wasn’t really on the pitch long enough at the end to influence the game in anyway so it would be unfair to give him a rating here.

Rating – N/A

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