Blackburn Rovers rebounded from a 7-1 drubbing against the Gunners, giving the long suffering home fans a 3-2 victory, holding on despite a late surge from a Jamie Mackie inspired Rangers.
A reshuffle was required due to an injury to David Dunn, the Return of Yakubu and the suspension of Gael Givet!
Orr, Dann, Hanley, Olsson
Gamst, Formica, Hoillet
Bench- Bunn, Henley, Modeste, Goodwillie, Petrovic, Rochina, Vukcevic
With both teams desperate for 3 points, as well as holding awful defensive records, goals were always on the agenda. A high tempo start to the game saw the ball being moved to either end, both teams guilty of giving the ball away in promising position.
It was the home team who settled first as Nzonzi drove Rovers forward, whilst Formica was chasing everything down just in behind Yakubu, putting pressure on the shaky QPR defence. Rovers persistence paid after 14 minutes in typical fashion. Paul Robinson sent a long free kick, Nzonzi rising highest to flick onto Yakubu. The Nigerian stepped inside Anton Ferdinand before leaving Paddy Kenny stranded, burying into the left corner of the net.
Whilst Rovers fans were still celebrating taking the lead, the players had other idea’s and doubled the score within minutes. After spraying a poor pass, Nzonzi regathered and countered, finding Hoilett darting down the left flank. After taking his man on, Hoilett surged into the box before cutting back for Nzonzi, side footing from 15 yards into the back of the net.
The man who always scores against Rovers almost got QPR back into the game immediately. A half cleared corner fell in behind Zamora, who’s over head flick shaved the far upright, drifting wide of the goal. Robinson was then called into action, a low driving shot from Traore well saved.
Rovers had the momentum and the majority of possession, for once they made the most of it. A Morten Gamst Pedersen free kick deep in to stoppage time was flicked back across goals by the head of Scott Dann, Junior Hoilett volleying goal wards, a nice deflection off Nedum Onuoha sending the ball crashing into the back of the net.
3-0 Rovers Half Time
Within minutes of the restart, Junior Hoilett was forced off with a shin injury, Adam Henley making an appearance on the flank. Whatever Mark Hughes said to his men at the break it worked. Shaun Wright-Phllips started to cause mayhem down the right flank, getting in behind the man on no less than 3 occasions in the first 5 minutes. Rovers held firm though as the 3 goal lead looked like it would be plenty.
Yakubu almost made it 4, a brilliant 20 yard chip rattling the cross bar whilst Onuoha was well blocked down the other end by Robinson. QPR did find a way back into the game with 20 to go, Bradley Orr’s miscuing a clearance allowing Taiwo to hit the by-line and cut back for Mackie who tapped in from 5 yards out.
From their on in it was sit back and bite your nails time. Zamora, Taarabt and Barton started peppering the Rovers box and goal but the combination of Hanley and Dann were proving to be immense. 4 minutes of injury time was brought up and QPR pulled back a second, Jamie Mackie driving home into the top corner of the net with 2 minutes of injury time remaining.
As expected, QPR sent everyone forward and despite a last minute corner, Rovers managed to hold onto a massive 3 points
Paul Robinson 6
A couple of good saves and much better distribution, but will be filthy at still not being able to pick up a Clean Sheet bonus this season
Bradley Orr- 6
Had a very solid game until his error which sent QPR through for their first. Looks a good proposition for Rovers
Scott Dann 7
A great 70 minutes for Dann who held the back 4 together. Out of position as Mackie pounced for the first goal, but life without Samba might just not be as bad as expected
The big Scott was immense. First to every aerial raid, superb last ditch tackling, all in front of the Scotland manager who would have made a few notes about our big man in defence
Martin Olsson 6
Still not convinced with Martin at Left Back. Shaun Wright-Phillips showed him up a couple of times, he just looks restricted when wanting to counter
Steve Nzonzi 9
Was immense in midfield. M.O.M
Jason Lowe 6
Did not shine like his partner in midfield, but did not look out of position either. A yellow card means he will be suspended for City
Morten Gamst Pedersen 6
A so-so game from MGP. A knack for giving away sloppy passes but a work-rate second to none.
Junior Hoilett 7
Back to his razzle-dazzle best. Worked hard, made the good darting runs putting the oppositions defence on the back feet. Set one up and scored one which will do wonders for his confidence
Mauro Formica 8
A superb shift from Mauro. You could tell how good he was by what happened when he came off. Ran his socks off, worked good channels and played the perfect role in behind Yakubu
He doesn’t do much, but when he does you know whats going to happen. A well taken goal, almost got two with a delightful bit of innovation
Solid from the young man, worked some dangerous positions