Blackburn Rovers 1 Newcastle United 0: Shock defeat sees club lose top spot

Newcastle United suffered a seventh Championship defeat at Ewood Park this afternoon.

Marvin Emnes and Isaac Hayden
Marvin Emnes and Isaac Hayden

A goal from Charlie Mulgrew gave Blackburn Rovers a 1-0 win over Rafa Benitez's side, who are now second in the league table.

The home side were indebted to goalkeeper Jason Steele, who made a number of saves before Mulgrew's intervention.

Brighton and Hove Albion now lead the division by two points following their win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Mulgrew had also scored the only goal of the game in November's meeting between the two clubs at St James's Park.

After a goalless first-half punctuated by a number of chances for Benitez's side, United, backed by almost 7,000 fans at Ewood Park, pressed on in search of an opening goal.

Dwight Gayle and Ciaran Clark had goals disallowed for offside and handball respectively, and Newcastle couldn't make their chances count.

And Mulgrew stepped up when Jack Colback clumsily brought down Marvin Emnes in the 73rd minute.

The defender curled a low free-kick around the wall and beyond goalkeeper Karl Darlow.

United manager Benitez – who left striker Aleksandar Mitrovic at home on Tyneside – handed Daryl Murphy is Championship debut late in the game.

But Murphy and his fellow substitutes couldn't conjure up an equalising goal.

But there was to be no way back for Newcastle, who take on Birmingham City in the FA Cup on Saturday.

BLACKBURN ROVERS: Steele; Nyambe (Evans, 63), Greer, Mulgrew, Williams; Conway (Gallagher, 42), Akpan, Lowe, Feeney; Emnes (Brown, 90), Graham. Subs: Raya, Stokes, Mahoney, Bennett.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow; Anita (Murphy, 86), Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Hayden, Colback (Perez, 75); Ritchie, Diame, Gouffran (Atsu, 84); Gayle. Subs not used: Sels, Yedlin, Lazaar, Mbemba.

Goal: Mulgrew 74

Bookings:Lowe 53, Dummett 64, Colback 73

Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire)

Attendance: 18,524 (6,943 Newcastle)