Blackburn boss Hughes: Sunderland made it difficult

Blackburn secured a scarcely deserved 1-0 win at home to struggling Sunderland but finally kept a clean sheet for the first time in 16 Premier League games.

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A dismal first half in which the swirling wind made for a less than enthralling encounter came to life in the second period when two penalties and a sending off decided the three points.

Sunderland were awarded the first penalty after 52 minutes after referee Rob Styles adjudged Christopher Samba had barged over Daryl Murphy.

But for the second successive game Rovers big American goalkeeper Brad Friedel saved from 12 yards, easily smothering Dean Whitehead's weak effort.

Within four minutes Rovers had their opportunity from the spot after Samba's fierce shot hit Danny Higginbotham's arm. Benni McCarthy made no mistake with a powerful finish.

Sunderland's chance of salvaging a point were extinguished on 71 minutes when Rovers old boy Dwight Yorke was dismissed for two yellow card offences.

Blackburn have now halted three successive home defeats but boss Mark Hughes knows his team will need to improve their performances if a top six finish is to be achieved.

"Both penalties were correct decisions," admitted the Blackburn boss.

"Thankfully we converted our penalty and Sunderland didn't convert theirs.

"We've taken the three points in difficult conditions for both sides. In fairness to Sunderland they prevented us from playing our passing game in the first half.

"They probably feel aggrieved they didn't get something out of the game but sometimes, as we have found out, you don't always get what you deserve.

"Three games, seven points, we feel we are now back on track."

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