With the international break over, it was back to premier league action for our international stars, with the derby game against Bolton at the Reebok the main agenda. Ince made several changes. Robinson returned into goals for the luckless Brown, Oijer slotted into right back, Tugay and Warnock held the midfield, with Villanueva playing on the flank, and Jason Roberts being partnered up front by the man they call God, Robbie Fowler.
In a slow, typical derby day encounter, both teams struggled to find their men with their passes, with loose balls going astray left right and centre. Tugay was pulling the strings for Blackburn, trying to release Roberts, who found himself offside on several occasions. Rovers almost found themselves a goal down via a Matt Taylor free kick. Taylor whipped in a swerving free kick, which was missed by all, leaving Robinson to pull of a spectacular save, tipping the ball wide of the post.
Nifty footwork gave Rovers a good chance, Fowler combining well with Roberts, with a pass knocked back to Emo, who could only blast over the goal….The game started to open up, with Bolton starting to find their way through the middle of the park. However thats as far as they did get, with Samba and Nelsen proving to be the brick walls we know them to be,not giving the strikers the slightest of space.
As the half crept past, flashes of brilliance were shown by Carlos Villanueva, with a snap left foot striker striking the crossbar. ROvers best chance was to follow, with Brett Emerton showing us his prowess on the right flank, whipping in a delightful ball across the goal mouth. Jason Roberts had the perfect chance to show why he deserves a starting spot, but his glancing header dissapointedly drifted wide of the goal from 6 yards out.
The half slowly fizzed out, with Rovers fans shaking their heads at the Roberts miss.
The second half started in the same fashion as the first, slow, poor passing and loose tackles. Jason Robert must have breathed a sigh of relief when Andy O’brian missed an even clearer chance, not even striking his header, let alone getting it on target. Derbyshire came on for Villanueva who looked worn out.
Roberts was given another chance to find the back of the net, but couldnt even get a shot on. A delightful chip over the top by Robbie Fowler put Roberts in space, but instead of taking a first time strike, Roberts tried to take control of the ball, with no luck.
Keith Andrews came on for Robbie Fowler, whilst Benni Mac came on for Jason Roberts. The substition almost paid instant dividends, with a delightful cross by Danny Simpson instincitvely flicked on by Benni Mac, who could only find the other side of the post. Benni looked dangerous, but could not find a goal the away fans were looking for
0-0 At the Reebok
Paul Robinson 8
Really only needed to make 1 save, and what a save it was. Came of his line well, distrubuted well, well done Robbo
Danny Simpson 7.5
A couple of excellent tackles and good positioning from the youngster. Also looked to push on and support Emerton
Chris Samba 9.5
Great game from the big man. A solid rock, nothing got past him, and thats the way it should be
Ryan Nelsen 10
The Sasman has never given a 10 rating before, but heck, there it is. Nelsen absolutely owned the Bolton strikers, shutting them down time after time. Took control of the back 4, and led by example.
Andre Oijer 8
Playing out of position at Left back, the Dutch international looked at home, shutting down Kevin Nolan time after time
Chased down every single ball, passed well, just couldnt thread the miracle ball we become accustomed to
Steven Warnock 6.5
Really did look out of position, whether he was playing in the middle or at left mid, time to drop back in to left back
Carlos Villanueva 7
Lost the ball a few times early in the first half, but his game did improve as the game went on. Unlucky hitting the cross bar
Brett Emerton 8.5
Great game from Emo. Hit the flank well, should have had 1 assist with Roberts striking wide. Had 1 effort on goal which he would rather forget
Robbie Fowler 7
Quiet game from Robbie, i think he should of got involved more often, and got much closer to JR. 1 delightful throughball, but apart from that, back to the bench.
Jason Roberts 7
Tried, tried and tried. But as we know by know, his finishing ability just doesnt convince me. We need goals, and he had 2 chances. Derbyshire would of scored, RSC would of scored, heck Benni Mac could of scored, but Roberts keeps us biting our nails. Works hard, but finding it hard to find the net.
No real impression
From what i saw in the 10 minutes he had, I want him playing more regularly. If he is back to fitness, and as sharp as he was last night, then he will be back to his best in no time
I think we have seen enough to say Warnock is not a midfielder. Get him back at left back, and get a midfielder in the middle of the park, whether it be Andrews, Mokoena, Emerton, anybody, just make it a midfielder
Good to see him back in action. Would of been icing on the cake of he managed to find the net, but it wasnt to be.
Middlesbrough at Ewood Park.
Boro are coming of a 5-0 spanking to league leaders, Chelsea