With both teams languishing in the relegation spots, Ex Rover Aaron Mokoena brought the lads from Portsmouth up to Ewood Park, in what is a true, 6 point match. Rovers had just come out of a horror October, and Sam Allardyce would be hoping for a change of fortunes.
In what could possibly be summed up as the worst half of football ever, Blackburn pelted the ball into the box time after time, whilst Portsmouth seemed more intent on hitting the flanks with the limited attacking possession. Rovers failed to create a scoring opportunity, whilst Portsmouth did have their chances. Vanden Borre, Kaboul and O’hara wasted half decent opportunities, slashing wide with their attempts at goal. Blackburn’s only threat looked to be from set pieces and throw ins, however, the men in blue and white kept committing the cardinal sin of fouling their marker.
Portsmouth did take the lead in the 30th minute. Jamie O’Hara picked the ball up from midfield, and unleashed a 30 yard shot, which swerved away from Robinson, into the bottom half of the net. 1-0 Pompey.
Blackburn showed no signs of intent, with Diouf and Gamst Pedersen spectators out on the sideline. Nzonzi and Emerton battled hard in the midfield, whilst Dunn and Di Santo werent as efficient as the past few weeks. The situation was almost made worse for Rovers in the 40th minute, a clash between Chimbonda and O’Hara almost became ugly as Pascal appeared to lash out at the goal scorer. Referee Andre Marriner opted to give both men yellow cards.
Half Time, Pompey 1-0. The Blackburn Rovers players were given a fond farewell of the pitch from the Ewood Faithful…
Sam Allardyce had also had enough, making the most radical and unforseen substitutions in the history of Blackburn Rovers, Sam Allardyce management and anything to do with the game really. Gamst Pedersen and Diouf were hooked, Dunny dropped into midfield, Roberts led the front line with Di Santo whilst my other boy Benni played the free role…..(hmmmmmm)
5 Minutes in and scores were level. Ryan Nelsen headed a cross into the box, Jason Roberts held the ball up and with the daftest of flicks, slotted the ball into the back of the net. 1-1.
Rovers started to up the pressure, with Dunn becoming more lively on the ball, Benni McCarthy up to his old tricks and the two generals in midfield Emerton and Nzonzi laying down the gauntlet. As for Portsmouth, O’Hara remained the key man, pulling the strings in midfield, with a couple of long range drives which almost caught out Paul Robinson.
The game rolled on, however Blackburn continued to pressure, and in the 73rd minute, the unlikeliest of scorers found the net. David Dunn sent in the most pin perfect cross, Ryan Nelsen’s powerful header from 6 yards left R Kelly look-a-like David James stranded. 2-1 Rovers. Nelsens second goal for Rovers sent the crowd into raptures.
The closest Pompey came to an equaliser was a lofted header from substitute Tommy Smith, however it skied over.
As time ticked down, Rover’s pressed for a third, and what a third it was, hopefully giving Sam Allardyce plenty of food for thought. Andrews, who just came on the pitch for Di Santo, threaded a ball out wide for Benni McCarthy. Benni took it down the flank, whipping in a delivery for Jason Roberts, who hit the back of the net for the second time….3-1 Rovers
From there on in, it was the Benni McCarthy show. Benni toyed with his markers, turning his man inside out repetitively. The faithful responded, with chants of Benni McCarthy echoing around the stadium
3-1 it Ended, well in Rovers….
Paul Robinson 6.5
Not much to do for Paul. DOnt think he would be happy conceding from 30 yards though. Could have done better but it did swerve a fair bit
Pascal Chimbonda 7
Look, the guy is great. He plays well, gets stuck in, and counters. But, his attitude is shithouse. Lucky not to get a red, which would of pretty much cost us the game
Ryan Nelsen 8
Ah, big Ryan, finds the net. Boy was he happy. Solid game in defence from the Admiral. Of to New Zealand to sleep with the sheep, oh, I mean qualify for the World Cup
Chris Samba 6
Good in defence, but way too many sloppy fouls in attack. We cant miss these chances, and he just really needs to stand his ground
Gael Givet 6.5
Rounded of a solid display from the back 4. Quietest of the 4, however wasn’t really tested by Portsmouths attack
Steven Nzonzi 7,5
Bargain buy of the season. What a talent this kid will be. Works hard, can actually control the ball and string a few passes. Well done
Brett Emerton 8
Mr Versatile. Playing in the centre of midfield, Emerton was almost back to his brutal best.
Morten Gamst Pedersen 3
El Hadji Diouf 4
Not as bad as Emo, but almost there
David Dunn 6.5
Not as effective as usual, Pompey did mark him with numbers, which shows some respect for the man
Franco Di Santo 6
Quiet game from the young man, not much ball to his feet.
Benni McCarthy 9
Call me biased, call me what ever you want. I dont care if he is 45kg over weight, walking on one leg with 3 meat pies in his hand, Benni on the pitch is better then no Benni at all. He played like he was out to impress, and hopefully Sam is more impressed then Mr Hart. Fantastic game from Benni
Jason Roberts 9
2 Goals from Roberts….Never thought I’d Say that. Credit to the big man, he wears his heart on his sleeve, and boy hasn’t he stamped his foot down for a starting spot.
Closed down the game.
Benni and JR
Can they be denied a starting spot? Di Santo has done nothing wrong, but, he hasnt got the goals. Time to bring the big boys in Sam!