Blackburn win pushes Burnley closer to relegation
BURNLEY: Blackburn pushed bitter rivals Burnley closer to relegation from the Premier League as David Dunn's controversial penalty secured a 1-0 win at Turf Moor on Sunday.
Dunn struck from the spot midway through the first half after referee Mike Dean ruled that Martin Olsson had been fouled by Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen even though there appeared to be minimal contact.
That debatable decision settled the first top-flight derby between these two old enemies at Burnley since the 1965-66 season and left Brian Laws' team still waiting for a first win over Blackburn since 1979.
Burnley's prospects of extending their stay in the top-flight beyond a single season look bleak as the second bottom side are three points adrift of safety after their eighth successive match without a win.
"When you look at it in the cool light of day it's clear it's not even a penalty," said Laws, who replaced Owen Coyle when the latter left for Bolton earlier this season.
"Olsson's took a dive, he's conned the referee, the referee's not in a great position and he's given the penalty which was very harsh and left us with a mountain to climb.
"If the referee thought it was a penalty by the goalkeeper then you either send him off or book him.
"I'm not blaming the player, but I'm disappointed because we want to see honesty and we want to see the referee get the correct decisions."
After beating Burnley 3-2 earlier this season, Rovers were looking to do the double over their neighbours and they made a fast start.
Rovers dominated possession in the early stages, with Norwegian midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen firing wide from long range before Jason Roberts was denied by a brave save from Jensen.
Blackburn thought they had taken the lead in the 18th minute but Olsson was ruled offside after controlling and firing past Jensen.
There was more controversy as Sam Allardyce's side went ahead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute.
Olsson broke into the box and cut inside Jensen, who had rushed out to meet him.
There seemed to be little contact between the two players but Olsson tumbled to the turf and Dean pointed to the spot.
Dunn, who was born just a few miles from Blackburn, stepped up to drive the penalty confidently past Jensen for his third goal of the week.
Dean's penalty decision had infuriated the Burnley fans and he made himself even more unpopular in the 39th minute as Christopher Samba brought down Wade Elliott on the edge of the area.
Samba was booked and Clarets fans cried out for a penalty but Dean only gave a free-kick.
Rovers had a chance to extend their lead when Michel Salgado found space to shoot but the former Real Madrid defender failed to hit the target.
Burnley started the second half with more urgency and Steven Fletcher was almost quick enough to take advantage when Nzonzi underhit a back-pass, but Rovers goalkeeper Jason Brown came out to clear.
The Clarets finally tested Brown in the 54th minute as Martin Paterson turned and fired from distance.
Allardyce's team still looked dangerous on the break and Olsson drilled a shot against the bar, with replays showing the ball was close to crossing the line before it bounced to safety.