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  • Newcastle 3-1 Blackburn: Ba hat-trick, Olsson sent-off

    Demba Ba secured his first hat-trick in Newcastle colours as the Magpies swept aside ten-man Blackburn Rovers 3-1 in the Premier League.
    Ba scored with his feet and two headers within the hour, to heap more misery on Blackburn who had David Hoilett's first-half effort registering as scant consolation.

    Steve Kean's men came into this afternoon's match buoyed by last weekend's 4-3 dramatic victory over Arsenal and the knowledge that they had won their five previous Premier League visits to St James Park. However, hope of another positive result was quickly extinguished as Newcastle began in spirited fashion.

    From the opening moments, Newcastle received plenty of joy from attacking down the Blackburn left, as Gael Givet failed to close down his opposing winger - Gabriel Obertan - on numerous occasions.

    Two notable chances in the 13th and 22nd minutes saw Leon Best and Jonas Gutierrez respectively blaze over and head wide, from untroubled Obertan delivieries.

    The Magpies were not to rue these missed opportunities, however, as Ba delivered the breakthrough for the home team in the 27th minute.

    Best drew Christopher Samba out of position before delivering the ball into the Senegalese striker from the left flank. Ba proceeded to control with his back to goal, before turning and firing a curling effort past Robinson and into the Blackburn goal. However, Rovers only had themselves to blame, as Scott Dann should have got much tighter to Ba to prevent his initial control-and-turn.

    With the visitors unsettled, Newcastle doubled their lead just three minutes later. A long delivery sent deep into the Blackburn box saw Steven Taylor head the ball towards Ba, who smartly looped his header beyond a flailing Robinson.

    Although Rovers offered little going forward - Yakubu cutting a particularly isolated figure as Martin Olsson and Hoilett failed to adequately support in attack - they were handed a lifeline through the latter's sweetly-struck effort in the 37th minute.

    Ryan Taylor sloppily conceded possession in his own half of the field, and that allowed Olsson to cross from the left and cleverly pick out Hoilett, who took a touch before rifling the ball into the roof of the net from just inside the Newcastle penalty box.

    Blackburn began the second-half with similar purpose - Hoilett flicking the ball onto the top of Tim Krul's crossbar just past the 50th minute.

    But the wind was to be truly taken out of Rovers' sails, as Ba completed his hattrick moments later.

    Cheick Tiote cut in from the left, before delivering the ball to Ba who had moved towards the back post. With some work still to do, Newcastle's summer signing sent a looping header beyond Robinson, whose attempts to claim he was pushed by an on-rushing Best failed to gain the referee's sympathy.

    In response, Steve Kean sent on Jason Roberts and Ruben Rochina to give his team much needed attacking guile, but all hopes of a comeback were dashed as Olsson was given his marching orders in the 71st minute for two bookable instances of dissent.

    It meant that Rovers were to endure an uncomfortable final 20 minutes, as the Magpies controlled possession and the tempo of the game - even sending on Hatem Ben Arfa for his first run-out since his horrific leg break last October.

    And it was to be the Newcastle faithful who would produce the biggest cheer at the end of the match, their team now firmly entrenched within the top half of the table, while the problems continue to mount for a subdued Blackburn Rovers side.
    Liam Graf / Eurosport

    Team Line-up:

    Newcastle United: Krul, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Obertan, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez, Ba, Best. Subs: Harper, Guthrie, Ben Arfa, Lovenkrands, Perch, Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi

    Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Givet, Dann, Hoilett, Lowe, Nzonzi, Olsson, Formica, Yakubu. Subs: Bunn, Grella, Petrovic, Rochina, Vukcevic, Roberts, Hanley
    Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).


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