A massive 6 point game was on the cards this week as Newcastle United came to Ewood Park. AN interesting clash with Rovers manager Sam Allardyce facing his old club, as well as Old time Rovers Favourite, Damien Duff, making a rare starting appearance against his home club. Both teams desperately need to win, Rovers to climb out of the basement, and Newcastle not to be sucked into the scrapfight.
With a good crowd in attendance, the banter was always going to be lively. Sam Allardyce was given a few boo’s by the travelling Toon fans, Rovers supported their new man, and everything else in between. However, the game initally failed to live up to expectations.
The first half was a relatively slow encounter, long balls, poor first touches and even worse finishing. Newcastle did have the best of the early chances, Andy Carrol unable to convert a Damien Duff, whilst Keith ANdrews was there to save the day, clearing of the line after another Carrol effort. The first half really fizzed out, with the one and only Sasman once again dozing in and out of the game….Darn daylight saving, cant wait for that to be over…..
Chris Samba picked up an eye injury moments before the break, Brett Emerton dropped back into defence and David Dunn made his return from injury.
The second half got underway in the same fashion as the first, Newcastle knocked the ball around, and looked to penetrate the Rovers defence. Nzogbia had an early change to put the Toon in the lead, but his shot went straight into row F. Rovers first real chance came after Andrews was fouled just outside the penalty box. Benni McCarthy stepped up, a superb Right Footed strike appeared to be floating into the back of the net, but Shay Given pulled of a delightful save, tipping the ball around for a corner. Tugay made way for Vinnie Grella.
Against the run of play, Rovers took the lead. Brett Emerton lobbed a cross in from the right flank, aimed at Benni Mc. Benni made his move for the ball, but was fouled in the process by Jose Enrique. Rob Styles pointed to the spot, Benni stepped up, GOAL!!!!! 1-0.
The crowd erupted and Rovers lifted their game. Route 1 was on the agenda next, a long ball by Paul Robinson was flicked on by Morten Gamst, finding Roberts in his stride, half volleying into the back of the net, 2-0 ROVERS!!!! ( I can almost guarantee Roberts scored, I was actually awake, and saw the goal, but several reports are claiming it was Benni McCarthy, grrr I stand with Roberts)
Benni made way for Roque Santa Cruz, making his first appearance for the new year. THe crowd treated Roque with a bit of stick, expected some might say, but who knows….
Any hopes of a comeback for Newcastle was dashed when Nicky Butt was sent off for a second cautionable offence on the 83rd minute. He showed his dissapointment by booting the ball into the stands, surely noted by Mr Styles. Rovers rounded of the game, with Gamst taking on the Toon defence, slicing a delightful ball across goal, leaving Jason Roberts with the easiest of finishes, 3-0 ROVERS!!!!
Ah……is Sam Allardyce at GOD status yet? or Should we wait for the Bolton clash….
Not looking good for the Toon. Could of had the game wrapped up by half time, but didnt take their chances……