Carling Cup, Blackburn v Everton
So after the demolition of Grimsby, Rovers faced a tougher opponent this round, Everton the visitors. Everton brought a great following selling 6,000 tickets which gave this all the makings of a good cup tie.
As injuries took their toll on our midfield last week, Paul Ince was forced to ring the changes as well as have a look at some younger players, Martin Olsson, Zurab, Andre Ooijer, Carlos Villanueva and Matt Derbyshire were all handed a start as Robbie Fowler was given a debut up front.
Fowler was handed an early touch just outside the penalty area inside the third minutes, his attempted flick through to Villanueva was smothered by Tim Howard.
10 minutes in Rovers were dealt with another injury blow, Paul Robinson this time with what seemed to be a muscle strain was replaced by sub keeper Jason Brown for his second outing in the Carling Cup this campaign. Not so long after the change Rovers were ahead. Tugay picked out Martin Olsson on the left, who cut inside and played a neat one two with Fowler. Finding hismelf through on goal Olsson slotted calmly into the back of the net in front of the less than impressed Everton faithful, 1-0 Rovers and a good start.
Everton tried to get going but just couldnt, and Rovers looked very comfortable throughout the rest of the first half, better moments were Tugay`s delightful ball over the top which Derbyshire couldnt control. Also Olsson had another venture foward, fizzing a low ball into Derbyshire who could only side foot straight at Howard. Carlos Villanueva also showed some of his ability, drifting in from the left hand side on a few occasions and one ending up in a shot that went safely over the crossbar.
Half time came and Rovers looked in control, Everton mercilessley booed off by their travelling fans and rightly so too. No changes for Rovers at the break, and there was no need.
Rovers continued their dominance in the second half, Fowler and Tugay particularly impressing using their intelligence on the football pitch to help Rovers cruise their way through the game. On the 73rd and 75th mins, Roque Santa Cruz and Morten Gamst Pedersen replaced Carlos Villanueva and Keith Treacy respecitvely. If Everton were ever going to score it was going to be from a corner or set piece, the last 15 minutes saw a series of these from the away side but didnt really trouble the solid back four who were excellent all night long and had an answer to everything Evertons strikers had to offer. Apart from one occasion Vaughan thought hed scored a header but a foul was correctly given by the referee on Jason Brow ruling out Vaughns effort.
On the counter attack Rovers could have wrapped the game up, one occasion Robbie Fowler slipped Derbyshire in one on one who beat the keeper but fired wide of the post, from another Everton corner Santa Cruz headed clear to Olsson who blistered foward, anybody questioning the fitness of Fowler was left with pie in their face here as he covered about 50 yards in a burst of pace to support Olsson who slipped in Fowler but Fowlers shot wasnt troubling Howard.
Great performance from the lads no matter how poor Everton were, we can take a lot of pride and confidence from a very good team display.
Jason Brown - 7 - Looked comfortable when called upon and kicking was good.
Danny Simpson - 7 - Solid display from the lad, looking better with each game.
Zurab - 8 - Rock solid at the heart of the defence, won a lot in the air and didnt let Saha breathe.
Andre Oojier - 8 - Collosal, I dont know how Samba gets ahead of him at times, even when Yakubu was thrown on at half time, he didnt get a sniff with the dutchman around. Made two excellent tackles in the final mintues.
Martin Olsson -8 - Very impressive and can push Warnock for that left back spot, covers in defence well and attacks menacingly.
Carlos Villanueva - 7 - Showed some neat skill with runs and some nice clever flicks.
Stephen Warnock - 7 - Showed energy and fight in the middle, did well considering he was out of position but his passing was poor at times.
Tugay - 8 - The maestro is back! He ran the game and the £15m man from Standard Liege couldnt touch the Turk.
Keith Treacy - 6 - Did his job but nothing more.
Robbie Fowler - 8 - Worked tirelessley to drop back into midfield, his link up play was top notch and got into goalscoring positions, pleasantly suprised by him.
Matt Derbyshire - 6 - Made good runs and undoubted workrate but suprisingly wasnt lethal in front of goal, and his touch at times wasnt good enough.
Subs had little or no time to gain a fair mark, and Paul Robinson had hardly touched the ball before he was substituted
Man of the Match - Tugay.