Joe Rafferty is not the first to player to be sent off against Blackburn this season and will not be the last, according to Tony Mowbray after his side’s 3-0 win over Preston.
Goals from Adam Armstrong, Ben Brereton and Tyrhys Dolan secured Rovers their first victory over their Lancashire rivals in five years after the hosts, like previous opponents Wycombe, Cardiff and Coventry before them, were reduced to 10 men.
The decisive moment came a minute before half-time when Rafferty was sent off for fouling Sam Gallagher in the box, with Armstrong opening the scoring from the penalty spot.
Brereton and Dolan then struck on 53 and 76 minutes to seal the result and Mowbray believes the explosiveness of his players is the reason Blackburn’s opponents keep getting in trouble.
”We’re on the way to being a decent team and hopefully today is the start of that,” he said.
“I think we know we’re capable of performances like that. They’ve been coming.
“The team that we picked got the job done and we were reasonably comfortable from the start. With total respect to Preston, it was a game where we came here to win.
“We wanted to play on the front foot and at home they have found it tough so we tried to capitalise on that, and we did.
“The sending-off helped. I don’t think it’s a coincidence other teams have had players sent off against us. Our explosiveness on the break causes problems and they end up bringing our players down.
“Sam Gallagher is a huge, fast 6ft 4in animal and I don’t think it was a contentious decision, I think it was the right one. It was a pretty desperate lunge [from Rafferty] really.”
Preston, who were winless in five at Deepdale before Saturday’s victory over Sheffield Wednesday, struggled to gain a foothold and manager Alex Neil admitted it was always going to be an uphill task.
“We’ve found it difficult at the moment because of our personnel and lack of balance at the back. We’re a transition team at the moment,” he said.
“Their goal comes from us having the best chance of the half. Joe doesn’t get across and make his challenge early enough.
“It’s hard enough applying the pressure on Rovers with 11 men, never mind 10.
“What I didn’t want to do is be too aggressive and leave ourselves exposed because at the moment we lack Ben Davies and Andrew Hughes, who help us in transition and with mobility.
“Some of the players made noises that they want to get up and get after it but they couldn’t get after it with 11 men.
“My task sometimes is to protect them as much as possible and I’ll take all the flak for that, which is normal, but I do believe if we had gone after the ball it would have been more damaging for us.”