Blackburn 2 Barnsley 1

Blackburn 2 Barnsley 1: Gomes steals winner as hosts stay top of Championship

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UPDATED:

21:11 GMT, 18 September 2012

Nuno Gomes struck a late winner for Blackburn, his fourth goal in as many games, to keep Steve Kean's side on top of the npower Championship.

The 36-year-old former Portugal international, a free summer signing from Braga, snatched all three points for his side with a close-range finish in the 85th minute to maintain Blackburn's 100 per cent home record.

But it was cruel on Barnsley, who
were the better side for long periods and took a deserved first-half
lead through former Chelsea midfielder Jacob Mellis.

On target: Gomes came off the bench to score the winning goal

On target: Gomes came off the bench to score the winning goal

Jordan Rhodes maintained his
impressive goalscoring since his 8million move from Huddersfield with
an equaliser against the run of play on the stroke of half-time.

It was Rhodes' third goal in as many
appearances for Rovers but the home side were fortunate to go in level
at the break, while the visitors appeared good value for the point they
had wrenched from them in the closing stages.

Defenders Grant Hanley and Martin
Olsson, midfielder Mauro Formica and striker Ruben Rochina all returned
to Blackburn's starting line-up, while Barnsley were unchanged from the
side that drew with Blackpool on Saturday.

Rhodes to success: The 8m signing scored his third goal in as many appearances

Rhodes to success: The 8m signing scored his third goal in as many appearances

Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson
was forced into a sprawling early save to keep out Mellis' strike from
the edge of the penalty area and Tomasz Cywka fired in two long-range
drives as Barnsley signalled their intentions.

The home side responded when Hanley
headed Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner over the crossbar in the 15th
minute and Rhodes flashed a shot from inside the area just wide soon
after.

Rochina's 20-yard effort was
routinely saved by Barnsley goalkeeper Ben Alnwick, but it was Robinson
who had to perform acrobatics when turning aside Barnsley striker Craig
Davies' goalbound shot from outside the area in the 24th minute.

Visiting defender John Stones and
forward Chris Dagnall both threatened in quick succession before Mellis
gave Barnsley a deserved lead in the 32nd minute.

Dagnall slipped the ball inside from
the right into the area and Mellis finished in style, crashing the ball
into the top corner from 12 yards.

Barnsley were good value for their
lead and midfielder Stephen Dawson spurned another chance in the 38th
minute, but against the run of play Blackburn equalised on the stroke of
half-time.

Pedersen flicked on Bradley Orr's
free-kick into the area and Rhodes was quickest to react, pouncing on
the loose ball to sweep home a similar right-footed finish high into the
roof of the net.

Barnsley held the edge after the
restart. Rochina blazed over the crossbar but at the other end visiting
striker Dagnall went close with a header before goalscoring chances
dried up.

Marlon Harewood replaced Davies while Rovers manager Steve Kean sent on Nuno Gomes for Rochina with 24 minutes remaining.

Teenager Stones was forced off
injured in the 73rd minute before Harewood dragged a shot from the edge
of the area wide and Rhodes' effort from an identical position was held
by Alnwick.

Barnsley midfielder Kelvin Etuhu, on
for Dagnall and up against his older brother Dickson in the Rovers'
midfield, was just off target with a 20-yard shot, while Mellis was
wayward from even further out.

But just as the visitors looked set
to claim a point, Nuno Gomes popped up in the six-yard box to steer home
a cross from countryman Fabio Nunes with five minutes left.