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Blackburn take advantage of slip-ups to close in on play-off places

Blackburn moved to within three points of the Sky Bet Championship play-off places following a clinical 2-0 win over Charlton at The Valley.

Tony Mowbray’s side cruised to a half-time lead with goals from John Buckley and Tosin Adarabioyo and then held out comfortably with a confident second-half display to take advantage of most of their promotion rivals dropping points.

The contrast with a Charlton side who appear increasingly as if they will be involved in a fight to save their second-tier status could not have been greater.

The home side threatened initially, with Lyle Taylor and then Tomer Hemed sending in low shots which were both saved by Blackburn goalkeeper Christian Walton.

However, the visitors quickly assumed control. Charlton were grateful to referee Andy Davies for his interpretation of a tussle between Dominic Samuel and Jason Pearce in the 18th minute.

It appeared the Blackburn striker had out-muscled Pearce and been bundled over from behind until the official instead gave a free-kick in Charlton’s favour.

If Pearce was fortunate on that occasion, his anticipation and desperate lunge saved a clear opening for Buckley in the 27th minute when his outstretched leg cut out an Adam Armstrong pass.

The reprieve was temporary. Three minutes later, 20-year-old Buckley, making only his fourth league start for Blackburn, skipped inside two challenges before driving in a shot which clipped the leg of David Davis on its way into the net.

As dynamic as Charlton had been in winning at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night, they were lacking in sharpness here as Blackburn defender Adarabioyo drifted in unmarked to volley home a Stewart Downing free-kick seven minutes before half-time.

Taylor responded with a close-range header which Walton acrobatically tipped over, but the game could have been over as a contest had Downing found the unmarked Armstrong at the other end.

With his side being over-run in midfield, Charlton manager Lee Bowyer dispensed with centre-back Pearce in favour of midfielder Matt Smith at half-time.

An early Taylor free-kick stung the hands of Walton, but with the home side chasing the game following the news that the bottom three were all winning away from home, that opened up gaps at the back.

The lively Armstrong almost exploited the open space but after cutting inside, he ballooned a shot high and wide.

With greater intensity on the pitch and a sense of urgency off it, Charlton spent much of the second half pressing for a route back into the match without creating any clear-cut opportunities.

Bowyer made a curious substitution with 20 minutes remaining. Ineffective in the first half, Aiden McGeady was just beginning to find gaps between the Blackburn defenders and dancing his way through challenges when he was taken off in favour of Macauley Bonne.

Taylor curled another free-kick just over the crossbar and Josh Cullen forced Walton to arch his back and tip away a fine effort, but the defeat leaves Bowyer’s side with an anxious wait for relegation rivals Luton to arrive at The Valley next weekend.