Date: 20th January 2007 at 7:52pm
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It was another case of away day glee for Mark Hughes and his troops as Rovers overcame a sloppy City side clearly missing the influence of their star midfielder.

The game got underway in clear conditions and Rovers taking control early on.

Shabani Nonda had a great opportunity in the second minute but scuffed his effort. The chance came from a wickedly whipped ball into the box from the right by David Bentley. Man City`s ‘keeper, Nicky Weaver came but only flapped at the ball and it proceeded to race through to Nonda but he couldn`t react quickly enough.

Rovers maintained a lot of the early possession, stroking the ball around calmly with Tugay, as ever, heavily involved. City seemed content to play a long ball game and, but the red Rovers kit, you`d have thought they were the away side.

However, despite Rovers` domination with the ball they couldn`t create any clear openings. Tugay was looking ominous with enthusiastic support out wide from Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Bentley.

Midway through the half the Man City defence was sliced open by an immaculate ball from Tugay. Benni McCarthy was the intended target but he was denied by a wonderful last ditch challenge from Micah Richards.

Richards, having affected the game at one end, almost turned the game at the other. From City`s second corner, Richards charged through the Rovers defence like an express train and thumped a header towards goal. Bentley was on hand to clear from the line but play was stopped when it became clear Andre Ooijer had suffered a bad injury.

Brett Emerton came on in the 35th minute to replace Ooijer who appears to have broken his ankle.

That effort on goal stirred the home support who had only mustered muted disapproval of their side`s performance so far.

It looked as though City were coming into the game more but with Tugay, Gamst and Bentley looking threatening Rovers still had options.

It was through the combination of two of them that Rovers crept ahead in the 43rd minute. Bentley nudged the ball beyond his marker and curled a deep cross into the centre of the goal, met emphatically by Gamst whose bullet header flew past Weaver.

The half ended with Rovers in control of a lacklustre game. Pearce needed to inspire his troops and with the addition of a cavalry comprising of the rapid Beasley and flowing haired Samaras, the onslaught began.

City rallied early in the second period forcing Rovers back. With the away troops firmly encamped in their territory it was the attackers of City who fashioned a number of openings.

Samaras arrowed a swirling drive from the edge of the area just wide but it was another Gamst sucker-punch that all but ended the game.

Gamst won a free-kick just outside the area but the angle favoured the right foot. Not to be deterred the Norwegian whipped a vicious drive around the wall and past Weaver to make it two nil.

A comeback looked futile, even more so after Friedel expertly denied City`s best player, Darius Vassell, twice, the first a wonderful reaction save from Vassell`s volley inside the six yard box.

With the game stretched and the clock ticking down substitute, Matt Derbyshire cheekily put the icing on the cake. A hoofed ball forward was chased down by the young Englishman and he evaded his man before sliding the ball through Weaver`s leg from just inside the by-line.

Rovers dominated the game from start to finish but City looked weary from their mid-week cup exploits. It wasn`t a great game but it was an accomplished away performance from Rovers who have now scored ten times in their last three away fixtures. If only we didn`t have to play Arsenal otherwise it would be seven straight wins.

Player Ratings

Friedel 7
Made some great blocks and was accomplished as ever in his 99th consecutive Premiership start.

Ooijer 6
Unfortunate injury not only ended his involvement today but could do for the rest of the season.

McEveley 8
The kind of assured display that we need to see from him. Always had the potential and on the evidence of tonights game it looks as though he is now fulfilling it.

Khizanishvili 7
Solid through out.

Henchoz 6
Fairly solid. His lack of pace was highlighted by Vassell.

Bentley 7
Some excellent link up play and what a cross for the opening goal.

Gamst 9
Brilliant. This is what we want to be seeing.

Tugay 8
Absolute magician on the ball.

Savage 8
Put in a captain’s display. Looked invigorated after being given the chance to lead out Rovers for the first time.

McCarthy 7
A team display from the in-form South African.

Nonda 7
Again a team display.

Emerton 6
Did his job well enough.

Derbyshire 7
Has real quality and took his goal very well.
Great to watch tecnically but needs to get himself involved a little more.


6 Replies to “Man City 0.v.3 Rovers”

  • Morten Gamst Pedersen was fantastic today. If only he would take the ball down his wing a bit more he would be the man. McCarthy was a little subdued but did his bit for the team. I agree with your rating for Savage, when it came to the scrapping towards the end he was clearly loving it. Ooijer is out for the season.. it isnt confirmed yet but you get that feeling like when Roberts was stretchered off at West Ham. What a shame, he was turning into a star performer. One question needs to be asked though.. why are we spending what little money we have on a left back when the guy who played there today had a stormer.

  • I thought that myself Mikey, Jay had a good one and maybe is worth a run in the side, but cover and quality cover doesnt hurt! Jay is more of a centre back, he’s said this before, just that he “can” play at left back. MGP will very rarely hit the byline like Rippers and Gillespie used to as he isnt a winger, hes a left sided midfielder (well his dominant foot is his right, but he is both footed!) he is more of an inside forward playing left midfield. Sav had agreat game disrupting again, Tuggers, in the 1st half was sensational, they shut him down a little 2nd half. I thought Nonda was quiet again and didnt link with Benni McGoalmachine very well today. Can’t wait for JR to return, I dont think Nonda will be here next season, especially with the emergence of Derbyshire, same goes for Jeffers. All in all a good win, especially away from home

  • Great display – watched game in a Leicester pub – Rovers looked like home side in a dominant 1st half display. It was just as well going in one up after all that good work. Tugay again instrumental along with the impressive Gamst. However everybody deserves a lot of credit it was a real team performance. What a pity about Oojer’s nasty injury as he has become a great influence in centre defence.
    Place in top 10 finally!

  • Fine away day win. MGP was fantastic, the Maestro world class in the first 45, Savage his usual self but if possible the armband inspired him that little bit more. In the top and we’ll stay there now! I agree with BomBom Nonda and Jeffers probably won’t be here next season.

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