Blackburn showed the good, the bad and indeed the ugly this afternoon as they laboured to a 2-2 draw with a spirited Sheffield Wednesday side. After storming into a 2-0 lead, they sat back and allowed Wednesday back into the game as they played the rest of the game at a pedestrian pace and Sheffield Wednesday hit back twice to secure the draw they certainly deserved.
Rovers took control early on as the game was turned into an aerial battle which Rovers won quite comfortably as they exploited Wednesday’s weaknesses with Steven N’Zonzi taking charge aerially in the centre of midfield and Roberts proving a useful focal point up front.
Rovers took an early lead as they forced a corner and after a small scramble Ryan Nelsen forced home a rare goal with his left foot. One nil to Rovers and to be fair they hadn’t really had to do much.
However, Wednesday looked full of running and did look threatening down the wings with pace that to be fair our beloved Blackburn could certainly do with. However just as the Sheffielders were getting into the game, Rovers struck again.
N’Zonzi sent Jason Roberts on a run with a delicate through ball and Roberts twisted twice before firing home high into the top right hand corner. So far so good? yes, but Rovers threw it away with some pedestrian play.
Wednesday, clearly wounded, stepped up proceedings and Rovers who had relaxed and were not as sharp in the tackle as the team from Hillsborough, suffered as a result. A great winding ball from midfield sent Akpo Sodje on his way and Nelsen and Samba were helpless as he fired home a good low finish to beat a stranded Robinson.
But literally seconds later, Rovers were awarded a clear penalty for a foul on the lively N’Zonzi and the chance to restore the two goal cushion was a gift. But alas, Diouf managed to somehow hit the worst penalty I personally have ever witnessed by sending the ball softly to Lee Grant in the home teams goal.
The first half then passed after that action packed start with very little incident. It was a mixed bag as N’Zonzi, Jacobsen, Roberts and the two centre backs looked in good shape but this was balanced with Keith Andrews looking off colour, Diouf showing the side of his character that people don’t like without the ruthless efficency he normally displays to counter balance and Stephen Warnock looking productive but ultimately uncomfortable on the left wing.
The second half was pretty much a none event as Rovers didn’t do much. It was Wednesday doing all the pressing and Rovers just let them really without really threatening much down the other end. The blue and white half of Sheffield did some neat, intricate passing and some very solid running but didnt really force much until they actually drew level.
Wednesday got a random corner on the hour, floated the ball across, about 406 Rovers players missed getting a touch on the ball and Marcus Tudgay netted from close range. USELESS – Allardyce hopefully killed half the team after the game for that alone.
Rovers did towards the end press on more with David Hoillett and Paul Gallagher looking to add width to Rovers game but again after some good play from Blackburn they ruined it for themselves with some sloppy passing.
On the whole not a great day but at least that is more fitness in their legs.
Paul Robinson – 8
Lars Jacobsen – 7
Looked solid as a rock and put in some good tackles. If he can stay fit we have a good one here boys and girls.
Ryan Nelsen – 6
Won everything in the air but did get shown up for pace from time to time. very good when called upon to scrap it out though.
Chris Samba – 7
Covered Nelsens’ lack of pace well and looked to get forward by carrying the ball.
Gael Givet – 6
Put in a good shift and looked classy as usual but was sacrificed at half time to make way for Warnock to nip back to left back and wingers to get on.
Stephen Warnock – 6
Mixed day for the Player of the Season from last year. Looked pretty ordinary at left wing but looked the usual cool customer at left back.
El Hadji Diouf – 4
What in the blue hell was that penalty? Too much behaving like a tool and not enough end product in general play.
Keith Andrews – 4
Looked off key. Lots of running as per but not enough assurance in his passing and delivery. Needs to toughen up in the tackle as well.
Steven N’Zonzi – 7
Looked promising. Good in the air and lots of pressing but needs to make sure he doesn’t give away as many free kicks. On the whole though there is potential there.
McCarthy – 5
Little bit frustrating on the whole! He showed some good touches (one great touch in the first half) but really needs to get in the box more. Thats where he is best.
Roberts – 6
Strength and hold up play was as usual good, took his goal expertly and put in the standard work rate. A shade clumsy but will be the guy that the new guy/Benni/Gally plays off.
Loads of Subs
The stand out sub was David Hoillett was a bag of tricks but we really should expect more from Morten Gamst Pedersen (how long have we been saying that?). Gallagher looked in good nick and was clearly trying really hard – at least he had a go in the second half.
Steven N’Zonzi, Jason Roberts, the defensive organisation at times, Lars Jacobsen, Nelsen, Samba, Gael Givet, some of the intricate passing play, David Hoillett and the most impressive of all – Paul Robinson.
The Not So Good
Keith Andrews, El Hadji Diouf, the pedestrian effort levels after going 2-0 up, THAT penalty, Morten Pedersen and his hoofing long balls, Stephen Warnock on left wing and the fact that Wednesday were so committed in the tackles but Rovers were playing it safe.