Rovers avoided a banana skin today when they faced Leyton Orient in the Carling Cup. No disrespect to the away team, but any Premier League outfit should be expected to beat League 1 opposition.
The first half came and went with no real major incidents up until the Penalty on 44 minutes. Rovers seemed to get bogged down in the middle of the park, and struggled to play the ball to strikers feet or move the ball out wide.
As the game went on with no goals Orient became more confident whilst Rovers looked more and more nervy. When Martin Olsson went down in the box it brought little relief after our previous penalty misses. Credit to Jason Roberts, it was a good spot kick, 1-0 Rovers.
It wasn’t long into the second half before the visitors equalised to the dismay of the Rovers faithful. 1-1 and we didn’t exactly look like we were on top.
Throughout the game 2 players stood out for Rovers. Ruben Rochina and Simon Vukcevic. These 2 were the spark in the team and if we were going to get anything, these 2 would be key. Roberts went through 1 on 1 with the keeper and had his shot saved from 5 yards, but Rochina was there for the tap in and a well deserved goal. 2-1.
This seemed to spark Rovers into life slightly. We went on the attack a lot more often. Vukcevic had several attempts on goal denied and was desperately unlucky. He got his goal however. Rovers best of the night, cutting inside from the right hand side of the box, a dummy shot sent the keeper the wrong way, and the ball was smashed home.
Rovers were coasting but still not playing particularly well. A well worked goal from Orient set up a nervy ending, but in the end we put our name in the hat for the next round. Bring on the Villa, oops, they got knocked out, silly me.
Special mention to Vince Grella who managed to get 90 minutes under his belt.
Bunn – 7
Made some cracking saves today and dealt with the pressure well. Needs to work on his ball distribution though.
Lowe – 6
A steady game tonight from Jason. It was always going to be hard to follow on from his performance against Arsenal, but RB could be his new position.
Hanley – 5
Had a good game first half, commanded the defence well, but his heading from corners was wasteful and he didn’t look solid during the second half.
Givet – 6
Olsson – 7
One of our better players tonight. Attacked well down the flank, but was often left open after going forward due to nobody covering.
Grella – 5
Got 90 minutes! That is certainly rare! The ball got bogged down in the centre quite a lot, and he didn’t have any desire to drive out. He was pretty static, and just tried to pass the ball out with little effect.
Petrovic – 5
Didn’t help move the ball out of midfield. Drifted around a bit, and was pretty ineffective. Didn’t get stuck in enough for me.
Vukcevic – 8
Good game from the new boy. Had a constant desire to score and got his wish. Very skilled on the ball and always looking to improve the game.
Rochina – 8
See Star Player
Blackman – 5
Wouldn’t have taken him off. He was the victim of a poor midfield and bad delivery. When he was on the ball he looked like he wanted to get forward into shooting positions.
Roberts – 6
Scored a good pen. Worked hard second half but missed a couple of good chances and made some errors that would be punished in the Premier League.
Hoilett – 6
Was not his usual self today. Bit of skill and trickery here and there, but not as much as we have been used to.
Few nice touches. Bit lazy.
Steve Kean – 4
He conceded 2 goals against a league 1 side. Another game without a clean sheet. Pretty poor tactics and only a couple of flair players got us out of the mess. Well played for starting Vukcevic though