Blackburn Rovers 1, Crystal Palace 0

Blackburn silenced their critics with a victory which should confirm their Premiership status for next season, while Crystal Palace are still staring at the Championship abyss.

Blackburn silenced their critics with a victory which should confirm their Premiership status for next season, while Crystal Palace are still staring at the Championship abyss.

Mark Hughes' Rovers are now 11 points clear of the relegation zone where only goal difference separates Palace from propping up the table following Norwich's stunning late win at home to Newcastle.

It was a dominant display from a Rovers side heavily criticised for their "bully boy" performance against Arsenal in their FA Cup semi-final defeat on Saturday, but with only Morten Gamst Pedersen's 45th-minute winner to show for their superiority.

There was perhaps the expectation this would not be the most sophisticated of matches, particularly from Blackburn's perspective after what unfolded at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

If Blackburn were to win over their detractors then they needed a footballing display, and for the most part that was achieved, but for the lucky Robbie Savage.

After being booked for a challenge on Mikele Leigertwood in the 29th minute, the midfielder perhaps should have been given a second yellow less than 10 minutes later when he brought down Wayne Routledge five yards outside the area.

Savage's tackle was naive at best, and although it was directly in front of referee Philip Walton, he showed leniency and instead only awarded a free-kick which Andy Johnson drove into the wall from 22 yards.

Unsurprisingly, the prospective villain turned hero right on the stroke of half-time by providing a delightful free-kick from just inside the Palace half and deep into the area.

On the receiving end was Pedersen, sliding the ball home from close range for his eighth goal of the season.

Blackburn then controlled proceedings, firmly putting behind them the disappointment of that cup defeat and creating the chances they failed to muster in Cardiff.

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Stuart Rayner
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