A game of two halves at Ewood today.
Rovers fielded a strong starting line up, making only 3 changes from the team that outclassed and easily disposed of Liverpool midweek. Chris Samba, David Dunn and Martin Olsson made way for Grant Hanley, debutant Josh Lowe and EH Diouf.
Rovers started brightly, with MB Diouf going through on goal twice but both times firing wide of the mark. Exiting stuff!! Diouf went close again only to be denied at close range by a brilliant save from Paddy Kenny in goal for QPR. This was shortly followed by another fantastic stop after Gael Givet failed to score with a header from less than 5 yards. Rovers were no doubt on top, but nothing was going in.
Shortly after, something occurred that nobody likes to see. Gael Givet and Jamie Mackie were both stretchered off after a 50/50 challenge, which has left Mackie with a double leg break. I`d like to wish Mackie a speedy recovery! Our French bearded fellow seems to be better than first feared and should be in contention for the Chelsea game next week.
The first half finished with a fantastic save from Mark Bunn as a 40-yard free kick was deflected towards the top corner with Mark at full stretch to tip it onto the bar.
The second half was a different story. Rovers came out with no desire to attack? despite a half time substitution which saw Jason “miss a sitter” Roberts replacing Benjani “hero against Liverpool” Mwaruwari. (Yes that is his last name!)
The flair had gone, and with width had gone, the only shining light was little Junior Hoilett. The youngster was a constant thorn in the side of QPR and their defence simply failed to cope with his quick bursts of pace and agile trickery. Very few chances were created in the second half? the only thing which made the crowd clap was the urge to keep their hands warm in the bitter wind.
It was 16 minutes from the final whilst before the fans had anything to cheer about, when man of the match Junior Hoilett stuck the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area to give Rovers a valuable win and a place in the FA Cup 4th Round.
Bunn – 7
Made a couple of nice saves and kept a clean sheet to ensure a win.
Salgado – 7
Great commitment from the Real Madrid veteran as always. A class act.
Hanley – 6
Defended ok. Nothing special. Did a job. Gave the ball away a bit too much hoofing it up field. (I thought that was Nelsen’s Job??)
Nelsen – 7
Defended well and was very dominant in the air. Made a clearance off the line to keep Rovers in the game. A captains performance.
Givet – 3
Poor touch and off the pace. Leading to an over-played ball which caused a 50/50 challenge and 2 stretchers.
Hoilett – 8
Constant threat today, he was the only one doing anything out of the ordinary.
Lowe – 6
Solid debut for the young lad. Did nothing wrong and looked comfortable.
Pedersen – 5
A bit of a dip in form for the free kick master. Gets caught on the ball too much and gives away possession easily. Showed a couple of nice touches though.
EH Diouf – 6
Not a lot from him today, had one shot which went just over and set up the goal, but other than that he was out of the game quite often.
Benjani – 5
Was not great, showed a bit of good link up play first half. Subbed at half time.
MB Diouf – 6
Had a good few chances today and failed to take them. Could have had a hat trick but was not his day. Did well getting into scoring opportunities though.
Morris – 4
Not strong enough. Got pushed off the ball easily and his crossing was quite poor. Needs to do better if he wants a run in the team.
Roberts – 4
Got no service up front today, did not contribute much to the team. Fluffed a chance at the end to go 2-0 up (as usual)
5 mins or so on the pitch, looked quite good on the ball.
Kean – 6
We won again so he has to take some credit, and with so many injuries he is keeping us playing. Was a bit dull today though.
Warrnock – 1
What a big baby. This guy is a world class idiot.. constantly stood up moaning and shouting and his players were so dirty.. if they play like that in the Prem they won’t last long.