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Crouch strikes again at Ewood

An early goal from Peter Crouch proved decisive at Ewood Park as a fifth Premier League away win of the season was recorded at the home of Blackburn Rovers.

An early goal from Peter Crouch proved decisive at Ewood Park as a fifth Premier League away win of the season was recorded at the home of Blackburn Rovers.

Following our FA Cup exit at Fulham on Sunday, it was a performance of considerable grit and character as the team were forced to battle against a home side not short on confidence.

Heurelho Gomes made a vital contribution with big saves and a strong all-round game, with William Gallas a dominating force in front of him and Jermaine Jenas likewise in advance of him.

Just three minutes were on the clock when a wand-like waft of Rafael van der Vaart's left foot delivered the ball onto the head of Crouch, who craned his neck and re-directed past Paul Robinson and into the bottom corner.

It was a case of history repeating itself as Crouch scored twice at Ewood last season.

Blackburn rallied with a couple of dangerous low centres, one in particular from Martin Olsson that simply required a forward player to be in place to tap home.

Crouch was called upon to clear a goalbound shot from Junior Hoilett, the same player forcing Gomes into a superb save moments later. Robinson pumped the ball high into the area, which was punched away by the goalkeeper, but Hoilett shot into the ground and the ball flew up and goalwards before an athletic tip away by the Brazilian.

David Dunn then let fly from the edge of the area with a shot that even Gomes might have struggled to get to, but it was thankfully just wide. Dunn again shot wide on 37 minutes after being teed up by Jason Roberts following a period of pressure from the home side.

There was an increase in creativity at the other end as half-time neared, where both Crouch and Defoe could have added to the advantage if a little more weight was put on the final balls in approach.

Gomes made a sharp save at the beginning of the second half after Mame Diouf burst into the area. Van der Vaart had half a chance to score when Vedran Corluka fizzed in a low ball.

Jermain Defoe should have extended the lead shortly before the hour after a darting run from Aaron Lennon resulted in him being presented with a clear chance inside the area. His effort was good, but Robinson was equal to the task and denied him with a strong block.

Robinson next pulled off an excellent one-handed save to thwart Lennon when the little winger took aim with a powerful drive from the edge of the area - his shot took a slight deflection.

Gomes then made an excellent one-handed save low to his left to turn away a Hoilett piledriver, saving again at point-blank range from Diouf moments later.

The substitute Morten Gamst Pedersen smashed in a free-kick from the edge of the area that Gomes did brilliantly to foil, such was the power.

The game became a little fragmented as the clock ticked towards full-time, which was no bad thing considering Rovers were attempting to build up a head of steam and get back on level terms.

It did seem like a night when Gomes was not going to be beaten, but it took the excellent Jenas to divert a Christopher Samba effort over the bar during a spell of heavy late pressure.

Gomes then made his final save from Keith Andrews in the final seconds of added time and it was job done.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Robinson; Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Olsson; Andews, Dunn (Gamst Pedersen, 67), Jones (Nzonzi, 65), Hoilett; Roberts, Diouf (Benjani, 81). Unused: Bunn, Kalinic, Grella, Hanley.

Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Bassong, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto; Van der Vaart, Jenas, Palacios, Lennon; Crouch, Defoe (Sandro, 76). Unused: Cudicini, Pletikosa, Khumalo Woodgate, Kranjcar, Pavlyuchenko.

Goal times: Spurs: Crouch, 3.05.

Referee: Mr A Marriner.

Attendance: 23,253