Date: 26th December 2009 at 11:21pm
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Call me harsh, but I`m going straight to the point here. Keith Andrews……What sort of performance was that! I`ve seen poor performances in my time, but eventually, over the course of the 90 minutes, something does go right. A pass will stick; you make a good tackle, something, and anything. Andrews could not find a Rover with any of his passes, did not work in midfield and made Nzonzi work his #$#$# off all game, with fatigue kicking in with 20 to go. If Benni gets bagged out for his work rate, then seriously, poor, poor Keith. Definitely lacked the skill, really was a case of last man standing for him to be on the pitch. Sorry Keith, you have played a few decent games in the Blue and White jersey, but that, unfortunately, earns you the rating of 1.

As for the game itself, Rovers would be feeling slightly disappointed on the short trip home, after an early Benni McCarthy strike was cancelled out in the second half by Rodallega, another striker who manages to break a goal scoring drought against us.

The Rovers Faithful made the short 25 mile trip to Wigan, selling out their allocation of 4500 seats, ensuring the new DW stadium will be rocking in this North West Lancashire derby. With injuries rocking the Rovers Squad, Sam reverted to a 4-4-2 formation, with Benni just playing off Franco Di Santo

Chimbonda, Nelsen, Samba, Givet
Salgado, Nzonzi, Andrews, Hoillet
Benni, Di Santo.

In what can only be described as a brutal encounter, it was Rovers who got off to the brightest of starts, with Wigan almost putting the ball into their own net. Junior Hoillet dashed with the ball in midfield, splitting the defence with a through ball for Benni McCarthy. The South African international slid in a ball across goals which collected a Wigan defender, the ball glancing fractionally wide of Kirkland`s far post.

Next it was Blackburn`s turn to almost pot an embarrassing own goal. A chipped ball over the top found Robinson and Samba looking at the same ball, Samba heading the ball backwards believing Robinson would be there. Robbo however, had to backtrack, tipping the ball wide centimetres from the goal line.

The game started to fade away, with both teams bringing out their physical nature, it looked like the game could blow up. Chimbonda received a gobful from the Wigan boo boys, who will remind him of the transfer request he handed every time he marches out onto the DW stadium. Nzonzi toiled in the midfield, whilst Hoillet, looked dangerous but unfortunately with no fruition.

Rovers did break the deadlock in the 30th minute, silencing the home crowd. A free kick from 40 yards was chipped in by Keith Andrews. Ryan Nelsen leapt highest, heading back across goals, finding Benni McCarthy. Benni side foot volleyed back across goals, passing the outstretched Kirkland and into the back of the net, 1-0 Blackburn. Benni celebrated, running off the pitch, embraced by the well kitted El Hadji Diouf.

The first half once again faded after the goal, with a Scharner header and a goal mouth scramble being Wigan`s closest attempt at pulling a goal back. Half time Blackburn 1-0.

No changes at the break, but Wigan did up the tempo immediately. Jason Scotland almost broke his barren spell at Wigan, however his tame shot was parried away by Robinson. Nzonzi then took a chance from the box, his shot flying wide of the post. Wigan countered and forced a corner. The corner was quickly taken, Nzogbia passing of to Garcia, who whipped in a cross. Rodallega rose above his man, heading into the back of the net. 1-1.
Rovers could have been down within minutes. Jason Scotland was set free, though Robinson was up to the task, whilst long range efforts from Garcia and Nzogbia failed to test Robinson.

In a topsy turvy encounter, the ball swayed back into Blackburn`s corner, with the away team left to wonder how they didn`t nick a second goal.

A well struck cross from Gamst Pedersen bobbled up in the box, finding Benni McCarthy, whose venomous acrobatic scissor kick struck Kirkland and deflected away from the goal. Andrews tried his luck from distance, his half volley sliding wide of Kirkland`s near post. Samba almost pinched it late on, a long hit free kick found the Congolese international, his header looping over Kirkland, but cleared off the line by Titus Bramble.

1-1 it ended, Rovers now 7 games without a win!

Player Ratings

Paul Robinson 7
2 fine saves, as well the track back from Samba’s error. Solid game for Robbo

Pascal Chimbonda 5.5
Looked a touch of the pace, missed a few challenges, and was given a yellow for a late tackle. Subsituted to end his misery

Ryan Nelsen 6
Solid from Nelsen, outmuscled for the goal, but set one up down the other end

Chris Samba 6
Also looked a touch of the pace, not to sure whats happening with our backline!

Gael Givet 6
Didnt see much action out on the left, Wigan targeted Salgado and Chimbonda down the other flank.

Michel Salgado 5.5
Really should be playing right back, or at least a central role. Was out paced all night

Steven Nzonzi 7.5
Worked for 2. Tracked back, got stuck in, distributed quickly, well played

Keith Andrews 1

Junior Hoillet 6
Created a lot out from the flank, but lost the ball way too many times for my liking. He wants to take on his man, but seems to change his mind in the last moments

Benni McCarthy 7.5
Expertly taken finish, very unlucky not to get the second from the scissor kick….Another great performance, and if Sam still wants to sell, then another million to the transfer fee….

Franco Di Santo 6
Very quiet game from Franco. Normally all hustle and bustle, but we didnt see too much of it tonight

Jason Roberts
recieved a warm ovation when he came on, though didnt do much

Lars Jacobsen
Looked assured at right back, shutting of the flank
Nice delivery for Benni’s acrobatic attempt. Should be in the team ahead of Andrews…..actually….


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