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4-3
18 July 2020 Venue Ewood Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Previews

🔜 Ahead of the game | Away campaign ends at Ewood

A preview of our trip to Blackburn

17 July 2020

Our last road trip of the season is a long one – a hefty trip to the north west to face Blackburn Rovers this Saturday in a 3pm kick-off.

The final away day is usually a well-attended game, for the atmosphere as much as anything else; this year, we won’t be able to celebrate Inflatables Day in the usual fashion. (Although, we’d encourage you to get involved in #RelocateInflate – see below!)

Neither the Royals or Rovers have a game-changing target to aspire to – the promotion-places are agonisingly out of reach now, with two fixtures remaining for each side.

But that’s not to say it won’t be an entertaining affair. Quite the opposite – these ‘playing for pride’ fixtures often bear witness to some fascinating encounters and entertaining games.

And we could end the afternoon just one point shy of our hosts, and threaten to leapfrog them on the final day and potentially make it a top-half finish… some of the incentives on offer this weekend.

Fixture News

📺 Rovers return available to stream live on iFollow

17 July 2020

iFollow

In case you weren’t aware, here’s a nudge to remind all of our supporters that this trip to Blackburn can be streamed live, around the world, using iFollow.

Season Tickets holders were sent promo codes for iFollow ahead of the restart to watch all of our remaining games live – watch on your phone, tablet or computer. For more information about iFollow promo codes for Season Ticket holders, click here.

Meanwhile, all non-Season Ticket holders have the option of buying a £10 Video Match Pass for iFollow, to catch just this fixture… click here to purchase your Match Pass.

What's on

Fixture News

🦩 Don't let our tradition fade... make it Inflatables Day in your own home!

16 July 2020

It’s not debatable, make it inflatable.

We know that we can count on our fans to ensure that a much-loved doesn't fade away, just because this one is behind closed doors...

Wherever you're watching from, make sure you dig out your inflatable beach balls, flamingoes, bananas, palm trees or whatever you have - set them up around your living space to get in the mood for what would usually be our Inflatables Day!

And one supporter will win a signed shirt - tweet a pic using the hashtag #RelocateInflate for a chance to win! Find out more by clicking here.

Pre-match chat

Manager Mark Bowen: “We’ll prepare as well as we can for Blackburn, and put demands on the players there to go and get a result – like we’ve done in our last two away games.

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“I’ve got to be careful that we don’t just go through the motions in the next two games. That’s not good enough for the fans watching, and not good enough for the club.”

Midfielder John Swift: “Blackburn are a good team – they’ll put us under a lot of pressure, like Middlesbrough did. Hopefully we can cope a bit better – get the ball down and play. We went away from that a bit against Middlesbrough.

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“When we played them at our place, we ended up losing the game. They’ve got some good players in their team. But we’re just focusing on us really. If we can tighten up our performance, play like we were before Middlesbrough, and keep our away form as it is – I’m sure we can come away with three points.”

Reminder

A polite reminder to all of our supporters that no unauthorised access at all will be permitted to any of our home or away fixtures while games remain behind closed doors, so supporters must not travel to stadia on matchdays. All supporters have the opportunity to watch via iFollow.

We can’t wait to see you all soon – but for now it’s important that when we play, please stay away.

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Match Reports

📝 Match report | Royals comeback in vain as Rovers nick late winner

Entertaining end to our away travels in 2019-20 but Blackburn take the points

18 July 2020

Attacks were on top at Ewood Park but having come from behind to draw level, the Royals fell foul of a late winner from Sam Gallagher in our final away game of the season.

On a wet surface, Blackburn began the better and it took a timely clearance from Tom McIntyre to prevent Ben Brereton's low cross picking out a Blackburn body in the middle in the opening minute of the match.

But he wasn't to be denied a moment later, cutting inside from the right and passing the ball home with a cool left-footed finish that handed the hosts the lead.

And before you knew it, Rovers had a second. Adam Armstrong finding the space to shoot from the edge of the Royals box with only 6 minutes played and arrowing low beyond Rafael's dive and into the bottom right corner for 2-0.

Yakou Meite had an opportunity to pull one back in a bizarre opening ten minutes - Olise's cross dropping for the Ivorian but his first time effort was scuffed into the ground and bounced harmlessly up and over the crossbar.

And the visitors did pull one back soon after. Rinomhota won a free kick 25 yards out Swift took aim and struck a fabulous set piece past the Blackburn wall and beyond the dive of Christian Walton in the Rovers' goal. The ball nestled in the bottom left corner and Reading had responded.

Richards got a shot away after Olise had supplied the ball to feet, but his effort was delfected and skidded behind for a corner. Swift took and McIntyre met it but he couldn't direct the ball on target.

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Armstrong scurried free at the other end as Tony Mowbray's men quickly passed their way into an attacking position, but this time the forwards sweetly struck drive whistled over the bar.

McIntyre blocked a fierce shot from Rothwell with his face on the half hour and after treatment he was taken off, replaced by Liam Moore at the centre of defence who also took the armband from Swift as he entered the pitch.

Blackett was adjudged to have fouled in earning the space to connect with a deep cross from the right, while Armstrong at the other end skied high into the stand after cutting in from the left flank. 

But as three minutes of injury time were declared, it took a fine save from Rafael to deny Brereton a second - Rovers countered in numbers and Armstrong found Brereton in space on the right side of the box. He bore down on goal but Rafael was off his line to parry his stabbed effort wide of the near post with an arm.

The half ended with a testing Olise cross that floated into the grateful Walton's arms. 

Half-time | Blackburn 2-1 Reading

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A nice exchange of passes down the right almost presented an opportunitt to Andy Rinomhota - Chris Gunter cutting the ball back for the midfielder but he couldn't control the ball to pull the trigger.

Armstrong was proving a constant threat but as he scuttled across the edge of the area, he was tracked by Swift who got something on the Rovers forward's shot to take the sting out of it for Rafael.

The home side were pressing to restore their two-goal cushion but some good defending by Moore saw out a threatening cross from the touchline on the left. From the resultant corner though, Rovers did make it 3-1 - Rothwell taking aim from just inside the box and Moore's attempts to head it clear only ending in the defender deflecting the strike past Rafael and inside the right post.

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Reading responded quickly. A triple substitution saw Obita, McCleary and Baldock come onto the pitch and two of them combined to pull a goal back. Obita was allowed space on the left and his cross into the box was met by the head of Baldock. Still with a lot to do, the striker glanced the ball brilliantly inside the near post with Walton's dive in vain.

And incredibly, Reading were back level with 23 minutes left of the match. Baldock and McCleary won the ball back and Baldock scampered towards the byline down the right side of the box. He dinked a lovely cross up for Meite to rise to and Meite did well to muster the power and precision to beat Walton with a header that squeezed inside the left upright for 3-3!

McCleary won a free kick in an identical position that Swift scored our opener, but this time the wall did its job. The ball rebounded to Obita to struck a sweeping effort first time but it sailed over the bar.

Olise was a whisker away from giving the Royals a lead with a quarter of an hour remaining - he cut onto his left foot and arced an effort goalwards. It took a slight deflection and skimmed off the outside of the left post to hand the Royals a corner.

Somewhat against the run of play though, Blackburn nicked the winner. A deep swirling cross to the far post found substitute Gallagher who launched himself at the ball and headed past Rafael to make it 4-3.

Seven minutes of added time gave Mark Bowen's men hope of another comeback and Osho connected with an Olise free kick before Meite headed the loose ball wide under pressure from close range.

Jack Vale nearly added another when he struck the crossbar with a sweet effort from 12 yards out, but as Baldock's failed overkick was hacked clear and McCleary's follow-up drive sailed high and wide, the curtain was brought down on an end to end seven-goal affair. 

Full-time | Blackburn 4-3 Reading

Blackburn: Walton, Nyambe, Johnson (Davenport 70), Armstrong (Chapman 77), Rothwell (Vale 77), Brereton (Gallagher 70), Holtby (Buckley 70), Carter, Lenihan (c), Travis, Rankin-Costello.
Unused subs: Leutwiler, Bennett, Magloire, Downing.
Goals: Brereton 2, Armstrong 6, Rothwell 56, Gallagher 87
Yellow: Davenport

Reading: Rafael, Blackett (Obita 58), Gunter, Morrison, McIntyre (Moore 34), Richards (McCleary 58), Rinomhota, Swift (c) (Osho 82), Olise, Méïté, Pușcaș (Baldock 58).
Unused subs: Walker, Miazga, Araruna, Boyé. 
Goals: Swift 14, Baldock 63, Meite 67

Referee: Mr T Robinson

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