Blackburn Rovers came out on top after a five goal thriller at Ewood Park in the eagerly anticipated East Lancashire derby.

It was the first time the teams had met in the top flight since 1966, but Rovers had to come from behind to secure their third win of the season.

Burnley had taken the lead early on through Robbie Blake’s strike, but fell apart defensively as Rovers roared back to lead 3-1 at half-time. A spirited late show almost got the Clarets an undeserved point, but Chris Eagles’ goal was too little too late.

Local lad David Dunn equalised ten minutes in and Brian Jensen, making his 250th start in goal for the visitors, made a critical error for Rovers’ second goal, allowing Franco Di Santo the simple task of nodding into an open goal from five yards.

The Clarets had started by far the brighter team and deservedly opened the scoring. It came from a Rovers throw in deep in Burnley territory. Andre Bikey beat his man by the corner flag before picking out Wade Elliott in the centre circle with a fine aerial pass. Elliott brought it down superbly and freed Blake on the left wing. Rovers stood off the veteran and he advanced on goal and came inside to thump a curling shot into the corner, although Rovers’ goalkeeper Paul Robinson’s positioning was suspect to say the least.

But the lead lasted just a few minutes. The hosts worked the ball well down the left channel and then Morten Gamst Pedersen crossed low into the area for di Santo, who did brilliantly to lay the ball back to Dunn, who made no mistake from ten yards, finishing coolly into the far corner to bring the teams level.

And Burnley never recovered from that blow. A nothing ball in from a free kick caused panic in the Burnley six yard box as Jensen thought about coming before staying at home. Chris Samba nodded it back across goal and Jensen then did come, but ran into his own defender Stephen Jordan before collapsing in a heap. Graham Alexander had the chance to clear but headed tamely in the air straight to Di Santo, who couldn’t believe his luck to nod in the simplest of goals, his first in English football.

And that goal proved crucial as Rovers took control, working the ball swiftly down the flank to El Hadji Diouf and into Dunn, who constantly got in behind the Clarets midfield unchecked.

The third goal came just before half-time and killed the game off. Pascal Chimbonda raided down the left flank and somehow got past Steven Fletcher before placing a calm finish past Jensen into the far corner. It was heartbreaking for Burnley, for whom their early lead was soon slipping from memory.

The Clarets tightened at the back for the second half but Rovers soaked up their pressure and Burnley were unable to find the killer pass, giving possession away cheaply often in the final third. Burnley skipper Steven Caldwell had a good chance from a corner cleared and Graham Alexander and Wade Elliott both saw firm shots at goal blocked, but no clear chances were created.

Burnley boss Owen Coyle threw on attacking trio Steven Thompson, Chris Eagles and Kevin McDonald to try and get the visitors back in the game, but only Eagles made any tangible impact, converting Jordan’s low centre from eight yards in stoppage time.

Rovers defended the inevitable grandstand finish stoutly and held on for a deserved win, leaving Coyle to ruminate on his side’s fifth straight away defeat and wonder how they look so unrecognisable from the team with the 100% record this season at Turf Moor.

For the hosts, bragging rights are secured until the teams meet again in March, but Rovers still sit below Burnley in the league table, in twelfth, with Burnley clinging on to the final spot in the top half.

This report was written for FansOnline Burnley.

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