You do not always get what you deserve in football and Blackburn Rovers certainly did not deserve to lose this as Ryan Fraser scored the only goal from the only quality attacking move Newcastle United put together.
For the majority of this Carabao Cup tie, Fraser looked like someone who had not played a competitive game since March. A fraction too late to close players down, a little loose with his control, a fraction off with his passing, and noticeably slow to catch his breath after a sprint.
It was to be expected. Having taken the controversial decision not to play for Bournemouth when the season restarted after lockdown because he was out of contract and did not want to risk an injury that could scupper a lucrative free agent move to Newcastle; Fraser was bound to be rusty.
Not that his team-mates had any excuse. Newcastle could barely string two passes together for most of the first half as Blackburn looked by far the more accomplished of the two teams.
And then, suddenly, out of nothing, Newcastle scored. Joelinton held the ball up – something he had struggled to do all evening - and passed it on to Miguel Almiron, who produced a delicious diagonal through ball for Fraser to run on to.
The Scotland international timed his run perfectly, galloping clear before squeezing a shot under goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski. It was the only impressive thing Newcastle did in the first half, but it was a lovely goal and offered a glimpse of what Fraser will add when he is fully fit.
"The only bit of quality we had was the goal from Ryan Fraser,” admitted Newcastle manager Steve Bruce. “I would be disappointed if I was in Tony's [Mowbray’s] shoes after losing that game."
Blackburn’s manager had every reason to feel aggrieved. His team dominated possession and territory, but did not take their one clear chance, Lewis Holtby side-footing wide after excellent work down the right from Ryan Nyambe.
Blackburn continued to look dangerous and it took a good save, in his first appearance for his home town club since arriving on a free transfer from Motherwell, from Mark Gillespie to keep out a stinging shot from Amari’i Bell.
Newcastle rarely got out of their half. When they did create a three-on-one break, it was ruined by the unimpressive Joelinton, failing to pass to either Sean Longstaff or Almiron and then shooting tamely at Kaminski.
Rovers, though, could not find a goal, Derrick Williams stabbing the ball over with 10 minutes remaining and hooking a shot high in stoppage time.
“There was a lot of really good play, but ultimately football is about sticking the ball in the net,” rued Mowbray, who fears Lewis Travis has also damaged his knee ligaments, adding a costly injury to insult.
Newcastle United (4-3-3): Gillespie; Yedlin, Krafth, Clark, Manquillo; Fraser (Murphy 58), Barlaser, Longstaff; Ritchie (Atsu 80), Joelinton (Saint-Maximin 73), Almiron.
Subs not used: Darlow, Lascelles, Hayden, Hendrick.
Blackburn Rovers 4-3-3): Kaminski; Nyambe, Lenihan, Williams, Bell, Travis, Holtby (Buckley 73), Rothwell, Dolan (Chapman 72), Brereton, Rankin-Costello (Armstrong 61).
Subs not used: Davenport, Wharton, Bennett, Fisher.
Referee: Jarred Gillett