Blackburn ‘kept on believing' as they responded to setback to beat Reading

Blackburn celebrate Ryan Hedges' winner (Ian Hodgson/PA)
PA Sport Staff

Jon Dahl Tomasson was proud that promotion-chasing Blackburn did not panic after Reading’s equaliser as Rovers secured a 2-1 win in the Championship.

Ben Brereton Diaz’s superb finish gave the hosts a second-minute lead and they threatened to run riot but were denied by a combination of the woodwork and Joe Lumley saves.

They were punished for not finding that second as Cesare Casadei’s first senior goal in the 68th minute brought the Royals level.

But just as it looked like Blackburn could drop points, Ryan Hedges coolly slotted in an 82nd-minute winner before Reading’s Mamadou Loum saw red for an apparent headbutt on Sam Gallagher.

Rovers moved up to fifth after their fifth win in their last six, and Tomasson was delighted with his team’s spirit after conceding the equaliser.

He said: “I’m really pleased with the win. At this stage of the league, every win feels more important.

“(It was) great to bounce back after our game against Stoke.

“The first goal was excellent. Great football, great transition moment and a great finish.

“We probably should have scored a couple more goals in the first half with those chances, even if I thought we played too slow in the first half. I was not happy with the speed of the game.

“You know you can always concede a goal when you’re only 1-0 up and we conceded a goal.

“When we conceded the goal, the boys kept on believing, the crowd was behind the team and a great effort from the lads in that way.

“They showed great spirit and togetherness, and great football with all those moments we had. We probably could have won it 6-1 today.”

The Royals stayed 16th and although they have scored their first away goal of 2023, they have lost their last six on the road.

And boss Paul Ince was frustrated at the “stupid” Loum dismissal.

He said: “I thought the lads were really good but disappointed with Mama.

“He played really well, he was outstanding and we looked a better team with him in it.

“He’s a natural six so to have him back and playing the way that he was at the start of the season, I’m thinking great. But then to do that stupidity, he let himself down.

“It kills you because we’re at the business part of the season and now we’re going to lose him for three matches, which is, for me, selfish.

“And I love Mama, but you just can’t do that. There’s no getting away from it, it was a red card and in the 85th minute, you can’t be doing that.

“He’s let everyone down and he knows that. I’ve been in situations when I’ve let people down and you know it but it affects the team.

“But overall, a very good performance.”