Rovers Tour Down Under- Day 3!!!
The final day of the 2010 Sydney Festival of Football had dawned upon us. After 2 losses, several signatures and photos, a few open discussions and a few beers, Sas and Adam turned up for the third and final time, to watch their beloved Rovers, hopefully notching up a win, and avoiding the dreaded wooden spoon.
A victory to AEK in the early encounter meant the Greek outfit had sealed the trophy, but left spots 2 through to last wide open.
Sam Allardyce tinkered with the formation once more, with Morten Gamst Pedersen featuring as the lone striker, and Aussie boys Brett Emerton and Vince Grella in the starting line up.
It was all action go from the start, Blackburn resorting to the old, pile up on the left side from the kick off, and woof it forward. And it almost resulted in an early opportunity, Nzonzi's flick on just evading an outstretched Gamst Pedersen. Rovers looked up for this game, with Salgado linking up well with Diouf on the right flank, and Olsson doing the same along the left. Dunny and Emerton tended to shift towards the left side of midfield, whilst Grella and Nzonzi held the centre together. Gael Givet dropped into central defence alongside The Admiral
An impressive Mark Bunn was called into action early, easily stopping a long range Nicky Carle shot. Salgado hit on the counter, with his cross-come-shot striking the crossbar. Rovers applied plenty of pressure, with Diouf and Emerton putting in cross after cross, however Gamst just was unable to latch onto any of them.
It did fall into place 30 minutes in. A Gael Givet free kick from the half evaded all, except local boy Brett Emerton, who controlled the bouncing ball with his chest, before vollying into the top corner of the net....1-0 Rovers
Rovers continued to press, with Gamst striking high with his right foot, and Dioufy also taking a dig, but we went into the break at 1-0...
No changes were made until the 60th minute, with Vinny Grella and Brett Emerton given a standing ovation after both putting in superb shifts. Yes, just a tactical switch, no injuries for either of my boys!!!
Phil Jones and Junior Hoillet came on, with Phil taking his spot in central midfield and Junior shifting to the left flank. Chimbonda made his way onto the pitch following a good stint by Michel Salgado and Hanley came on for the Admiral.
Jones had an immediate impact, a heavy tackle on Sydney Midfielder Shannon Cole led to the ball being distributed to Dioufy, who jinxed past his man, but once again, just could not find Gamst in the box. Dunny made way for Andrews, and Rovers continued to press.
The ball finally fell into place with 20 to go. Junior carved up down the left flank, taking on 3 men in the process. His cross found Nzonzi, who poked into the Sydney Keeper. Liam Reddy could only parry into the line of Gamst, with the ball striking his thigh and into the back of the net...2-0 Rovers...
Sydney started to up the tempo, and pulled one back via Alex Brosque. Brandon Gan slotted Brosque through the middle of the Rovers defence, who calmly finished into the bottom right corner....2-1
Sydney almost drew a late equaliser. Shannon Cole struck from 30 yards, but Mark Bunn pulled of a world class save, plucking the ball from the top right corner of the net, and ensuring Blackburn won their first game of the tournament.
So it was 2-1 to the Blackburn Rovers, finshing the tournament in a respectable Second Spot, and sending Sas and Adam home with a big smile....