Crouch brings up century as Stoke down Rovers


Peter Crouch brought up his century of league goals here on Monday as his double saw Stoke beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 and bring the hosts back down to earth after their fine win over Manchester United at the weekend. Crouch – who has fallen out of favour with England coach Fabio Capello – struck in the 17th and 45th minutes to take his tally to 101 league goals and kept Stoke eighth in the table. Scottish striker David Goodwillie did reduce the deficit but Rovers could not grab a share of the points and remain second from bottom three points adrift of safety. They could go bottom if Bolton beat Everton on Wednesday.
Rovers had started the brightest of the two sides – boosted by a draw at Liverpool and then the 3-2 win over United at Old Trafford on Saturday – with wantaway Congolese international defender Chris Samba hitting the bar and then having a goal ruled out. Stoke made them pay for that as Crouch did well to tuck away Dean Whitehead’s perceptive pass over the Rovers defence and the former Portsmouth and Spurs striker added a second when he converted Matt Etherington’s cross on the stroke of half-time.
Rovers fought back in the second-half with former Dundee United star Goodwillie halving the deficit and then the hosts went close to levelling but Jonathan Woodgate did well to block leading scorer Ayegbeni Yakubu’s goalbound shot.
Rangers bounce back but Hoops stay out in front: Rangers got over their Old Firm derby defeat disappointment with a 3-0 win over Motherwell at Ibrox to remain two points behind Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League. In a rare start David Healy fired Rangers into a first half lead before Sone Aluko netted his first goal for the club ten minutes after the break. Stephen Craigan then turned Lee Wallace’s shot into his own net in the 73rd minute to round off a comprehensive victory against third-placed Well.
“I must admit it’s been a great start to 2012,” Rangers manager Ally McCoist said, though his men still trail Celtic by three points. “I thought the application, skill and football we played was very good and I was really pleased,” the Rangers manager said. His Motherwell counterpart Stuart McCall was hugely disappointed with his side’s performance.