By: Hibernian Media on 08 Jul, 2018 17:55
Hibernian lost out 2-0 against Blackburn Rovers in Paul Hanlon’s testimonial match on Sunday afternoon at Easter Road Stadium.
It was a game of two halves as the hosts dominated the first half, both in terms of possession and chances created.
Two goals early in the second half from Craig Conway and Willem Tomlinson earned a victory for Tony Mowbray’s side, as Hibernian’s pre-season comes to an end with our UEFA Europa League campaign beginning on Thursday evening against NSI Runavik.
The two sides lined up before the game with Paul Hanlon the last to walk out onto the turf, with the born and bred Hibee, who is also a product of the Club’s Youth Academy, was afforded his own standing ovation from all four stands and both sets of players before kick-off.
Hibernian were on top after starting brightly, forcing a number of corners, with Jayson Leutwiler forced into a good save after four minutes.
John McGinn’s corner was headed back out wide to the midfielder and his delivery found the on-rushing David Gray who saw his side-footed volley parried away by the goalkeeper.
As is often the case in pre-season there was not much in the way of intensity, but Hibernian kept control of the ball and dictated the play.
Flo Kamberi battled hard to keep the ball alive and in Hibernian’s grasp, which led to a chance for John McGinn as the midfielder’s stinging drive was tipped over the bar by Leutwiler from distance.
Blackburn also fashioned a few opportunities, but Davenport’s cross and volley were saved by Adam Bogdan.
Hibernian perked up again towards the end of the half as Oli Shaw went close to opening the scoring moments before half-time when his shot was saved by Leutwiler.
At half-time, Hibs made two subs while Blackburn fielded an entirely different side in the second half as they made all eleven changes in one fell swoop.
The introduction of key players such as Charlie Mulgrew, Conway, Bradley Dack, Peter Whittingham and Tomlinson had the desired effect for the visitors from Lancashire as they raced into a two-goal lead within eight second half minutes.
49 minutes were on the clock when the scoring was opened – and it was done so in style.
Conway eased himself into space and was able to curl the ball into the top corner beyond the reach of Laidlaw from 18 yards out.
Blackburn were on the front foot and almost two in front within 60 seconds of opening the scoring as Mulgrew’s free-kick rattled off the frame of the goal.
Unfortunately for Hibernian, it was to be 2-0 with 53 minutes gone. The ball was worked to Tomlinson who was saw his first effort saved by Laidlaw, but it fell kindly back to him and he swept it high into the net.
Despite the setback, Lennon’s side did not wilt and almost pulled a goal back on two separate occasions as Kamberi and Shaw both forced saves from Andrew Fisher before the hour mark.
Swiss forward Kamberi had another two opportunities within the space of a minute, but both bounced wide of the target.
Hibernian kept their foot on the ball and the introduction of Stevie Mallan, signed on Friday from Barnsley, allowed the midfielder to showcase some of the talent that persuaded Lennon to lure him back north of the border.
At the end of the game, Paul was able to receive his own rendition of ‘Sunshine on Leith’ from the Hibernian supporters and his own personal standing ovation from the fans and both teams – fitting for a player who has given so much to the Club he supports.
Hibernian: Bogdan (Laidlaw, 45), Gray (Whittaker, 72), Stevenson (Mackie, 74), Hanlon, McGregor, Bartley (Martin, 74), McGinn (Slivka, 62), Ambrose (Boyle, 45), Kamberi, Shaw (Murray, 72), Swanson (Mallan, 62).
Blackburn Rovers: Leutwiler (Fisher, 45), Bennett (Graham, 45), Bell (Mulgrew, 45), Lenihan (Platt, 45), Wharton (Williams, 45), Travis (Nyambe, 45), Evans (Smallwood, 45), Rothwell (Conway, 45), Butt (Tomlinson, 45), Nuttall (Whittingham, 45), Davenport (Dack, 45).
Referee: Gavin Duncan.