Jon Dahl Tomasson enjoyed a winning start to his Blackburn reign with an impressive 1-0 win over QPR in the Championship.
The Dane’s new captain Lewis Travis settled a tight contest with a stunning strike in the 34th minute after Rovers endured a nervy start against another side playing under the guidance of a new head coach in Michael Beale.
QPR rattled the woodwork early on and manoeuvred the ball around confidently, but once Rovers went ahead they rarely looked back, outrunning and outworking the visitors in a game that saw little in the way of clear-cut opportunities.
Blackburn’s Ben Brereton Diaz tested Seny Dieng without joy while Ilias Chair struck the side netting early in the second half, but Beale’s men did not hit the target during the 90 minutes and former Malmo coach Tomasson will have been encouraged by this start.
Callum Brittain made his Rovers bow while Jack Vale was handed a first senior start. QPR gave debuts to new signings Jake Clarke-Salter and Kenneth Paal.
The early exchanges were cagey but the visitors almost broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion 18 minutes in when the ball fell to Osman Kakay 25 yards out and he hammered a ferocious shot goalwards that cannoned off the crossbar.
This started a spell of dominance for QPR who may have felt hard done by in the 27th minute when John Buckley escaped a second yellow card for pulling back Olamide Shodipo when he was set to propel an attack.
Rovers made the most of that fortune. Brereton Diaz’s first-time shot was deflected wide but the hosts went ahead after the resulting 34th-minute corner was cleared and found Travis, who controlled and whipped an unstoppable 25-yard effort over Dieng.
Tomasson’s men came alive and Brereton Diaz saw his thunderous drive tipped over by Dieng.
QPR almost equalised in the first minute after the restart as Thomas Kaminski’s pass found Chair but he fired into the side netting from 12 yards, while at the other end Brereton Diaz charged into the area before seeing Dieng produce a smart save to repel his effort from a narrow angle.
Chances were at a premium but Rovers looked fitter and pressed the visitors, whose passing game deserted them and they ran out of ideas.
George Thomas’s wayward strike 10 minutes from time summed up QPR’s second half and though Brereton Diaz lashed just wide late on, one goal was enough to get the Tomasson era up and running.