What was the key to Blackburn's defensive success at Bournemouth?

Blackburn Rovers Goal Celebrations

Blackburn Rovers became the first team this season to prevent Bournemouth scoring at home in a 0-0 draw at the Goldsands Stadium, but nobody saw it coming.

The creditable stalemate saw Gary Bowyer's team record a first clean sheet in 12 games, and their first of 2015. With the free-scoring Cherries having notched 30 goals at home so far this season, nobody predicted they would draw a blank against a Rovers side that had picked up only three wins on the road this season.

Rovers' achievement was all the more impressive in light of the news that Irish defender Shane Duffy will be forced to miss the rest of the season following knee surgery, and Blackburn lined up on Saturday with Matthew Kilgallon and Bolton loanee Alex Baptiste as the latest centre-half partnership.

In truth, Bournemouth dominated possession and the stats show that it was as much a case of chances missed for Eddie Howe's promotion-chasers, as it was a resolute defensive display by Rovers.

The Cherries had 15 shots on goal, with midfielder Marc Pugh failing to add to his eight goals so far this season when he fluffed an early chance. Yann Kermorgant was also guilty of two missed chances in the closing stages, drawing a point-blank save from Blackburn 'keeper Jason Steele before crashing a powerful header against the bar at the death.

It has proved to be a frustrating campaign for central defender Kilgallon, but he has fought back from injury to become a regular starter in 2015, and with Duffy sidelined, will now be hoping to build on only Blackburn's sixth clean sheet of the Sky Bet Championship season and form a consistent partnership with Baptiste. Manager Bowyer will be looking to take something into next season after another inconsistent and frustrating campaign for the Ewood Park faithful.

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