Blackburn faced a tricky prospect on our first game of the 2008/2009 edition of the Barclays Premiership. A tricky road trip to Everton without our (well my) star player, Brett Emerton. With an almost full strength line up, Blackburn faced an Everton outfit missing a few of their stars, most notably, Tim Cahill and the recently departured Andy Johnson.
With nerves rattling, it was Everton who got of to the better start, with Paul Robinson being forced to make a diving save to his right. Sloppy defending gave Morten Gamst Pedersen his first shot of the season, however, it rolled wide.
Rovers started pressing on and took the lead in the 20th minute. Through a neat interchange of passing, Gamst Pedersen cut the ball back across to David Dunn, slipping past his defender and placing a left footed bender into the bottom left of the goal, leaving Tim Howard stranded from 25 yards out.
Rovers took the initiative from here, with Roque going close with a header, and Gamst bombing on forwards, bringing back the form he showed 2 years ago. However, in traditional Rovers style, silly free kicks proved to be our downfall. A handball outside the box gave Mikel Arteta to show us all what he can do, slotting in a free kick from the tightest of angles, leaving Paul Robinson Stranded on the stroke of half-time.
Whatever David Moyes said to his boys at the break really must have revved them up, as Everton clicked into second gear, with Yakubu striking wide early on. However it didnt take Everton too long to get there noses in front, with a magnificent ball whipped from the left flank by Arteta, leaving Yakubu with the simplest of headers, once again, with Paul Robinson stranded, 2-1 64th minute.
Rovers hit back immediately, a long ball by Stevie Warnock put Roque Santa Cruz in the free, bringing the ball down just outside the 6 yard box, and stroking it past the diving Tim Howard, who managed to get a hand on it, but simply not enough to stop our man. 2-2 65th minute. GAME ON!!!!
Jason Roberts almost put Rovers in the lead twice. He turned on a performance with a piece of razzle dazzle magic, slipping past 3 defenders, with Yobo making a vital tackle as Roberts was about to take a shot. His second effort was similar, slipping past Yobo, however he lacked any power on his shot.
Everton decided to introduce their youngest ever player Jose Baxter, who showed a bit of pace to get past our fullbacks. Baxter had a chance to seal the 3 points for Everton, but could not force his header into an open goal.
In the final minute of injury time, Rovers were awarded a free kick. Stevie W stepped up, chipping it into the box. Ryan Nelsen got onto the end of it, his header hitting the post, however falling into the path of Ooijer, who ended his Rovers drought with the easiest of tap ins, ROVERS 3-EVERTON 2
Paul Robinson 4
Poor, poor, poor. At fault for the first goal of the free kick, also misread a cross late in the game, leaving an open goal for Baxter who couldnt find the back of the net. Really needs to lift his game otherwise il be calling for Brown to get in goals.
Stevie Warnock 7
Solid defensive performance, set up two goals, however slipped up on a few crosses
Ryan Nelson 8.5
Man of the match performance from God. Almost scored the winner, but who cares, Ooijer put it in
Christophe Samba 6.5
Used his height extremely well, making several clearing headers, however was left dead for pace by Yakubu at times
Andre Ooijer 7
Solid performance at right back, the most unlikely of goal scorers, but a match winner
David Dunn 8.5
Man of the match performance. Lets pray he stays injury free, because if he does everygame what he did today, im a happy man
Aaron Mokoena 6.5
Good tackling game, did a lot of cleaning up, however still cant pass a ball….
Steven Reid 6.5
Did not have much of an influence on the game, playing out of position on the right side of midfield, picked up a few knocks, however made a few vital tackles
Morten Gamst Pederson 8
Great game by our Norweigan star. Hopefully this form continues, a few dazzling runs and some good crosses
Jason Roberts 7,5
Held the ball up well, sliced through the defence, but still cant finish, comon Robo gotta use ur chances big man
Roque Santa Cruz 7.5
Not the busiest of games for Roque, however one clear chance, one goal, cant really complain can we….
No time to impress
No time to impress
No time to impress
Paul Ince: 8
Ince got his game plan spot on. Compress Everton in defence, and shut down Arteta as much as possible. Yes, he scored 1 and set up the other, but he didnt get involved much more.
Was surprised Villaneuava didnt come on later in the game, but heck, we won
Sasmans Get Stuck into it or Else Award
Goes to Paul Robinson.
Lift your game mate, or Jason Brown might become our first choice keeper. Really sloppy game….
Sasmans Award for outstanding Effort
Good game from the big man, really showed what he is capable of, just needs to practice that final shot
Hull City at Ewood Park, Sat August 23rd
A 2-1 victory for the Premier League new boys over Fulham. After trailing to an early goal, Geovanni equalised for Hull, with the winner coming in the 81st minute to Folan