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Changes That Transformed The Match

They say substitutions turn games, or are at least meant to, this would be proved right as Mark Hughes' double change for Blackburn Rovers at half-time on Sunday saw them come through to record their first victory of the season.

With Rovers twice ahead against the run of play, therefore somewhat luckily going into the interval with Manchester City at two apiece, the changes made by Hughes would turn the game in Rovers' favour for the second forty-five, as a further two goals, one from the third substitute Paul Gallagher only three minutes after his arrival secured the three points.

One of the substitutes singled out for special praise by Mark Hughes would be South African Aaron Mokoena, who replaced the overrun Tugay:

"I thought Aaron came in and did very well."

"He was very athletic, got his head on things, got interceptions when we needed it and that gave us a bit of a platform."

Having previously featured only once this season, in the opening day drubbing against Portsmouth Mokoena's performance could well see a return to the starting eleven for next weekends visit to the Riverside Stadium as Rovers take on Gareth Southgate's inconsistent Middlesbrough.

On Shabani Nonda's performance, having replaced Francis Jeffers, who despite his best endeavours is still struggling to return to his best form of several years ago, Hughes would say:

"I also thought Chris (Nonda) came on, affected the game and looked in good shape as well."

"He'll be an asset for us; I think everybody saw that from his performance. Quick thinking from him allowed us to score the third goal."

Gallagher's brief, yet ultimately successful late appearance, arriving with only five minutes to go, scoring with only two of these left, thus scoring his first goal for Rovers since 2004 would not escape a mention from Sparky:

"It was a great finish, he's done exceptionally well has Gally since he's come back and we all know the talent that he has given those situations. He has the quality and technique to despatch those chances."

As has been frequently mentioned over the past few days the defence has been a cause for concern, but at least Rovers are now starting to find the oppositions net also, as well as sometimes find their own...

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The Journalist

Writer: Walker Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 18 2006

Time: 12:38PM

Your Comments

Sparky gets paid to make these decisions and they certainly paid off on Sunday. Mokoena and Nonda will almost certainly start the next game I feel, with Mokoena in the holding midfield role. Could Gally be rovers' answer to an Ole Gunnar Solskjaer supersub?
Hughes Da Man
It would be very handy indeed if Gally did become something of a super-sub. I reckon Nonda will start against Boro but I doubt Aaron will. Im pleased Aaron put in a good display though because he has been receiving a fair bit of stick recently.
roversman
It's great having a supersub but not everyone settles for this do they? Gally is young, with time on his side but he'll not be content with this forever will he? If he keeps scoring and playing well he'll get his chance, will then be down to him to take it.
Hughes Da Man
I have long back Aaron "The Axe" Mokoena... he wins most of the headers that come his way and isn't afraid to shirk a tackle. We need him in that Holding Role until The Admiral is back to protect the shaky looking Ooijer and Kishanishvilli, either that or put Todd back in there! Get Mickey Gray back on the right an drop Emerton - he made some basic defending errors (like running away from Joey Barton, after playing him on side!) Bentley is still looking good in his new role too! We need Nelsen and Reidy back up to speed!
Ex Ewood Resident
I think you're a tad harsh on Emerton there. Granted he was at fault for Barton's goal...TWICE! Nevertheless he has had a promising start at full-back and is still adjusting. I think Bentley has only performed so well because of the experience of Emerton behind him. I'd leave things as they are except for playing Mokoena. I totlaly agree with that statement. His game is all about breaking up the opposition play and he does that well.
roversman
Mokoena may well not possess the passing range, and ability to cut open defences like Tugay, but he will tighten up the rocky back four, so, as I've already said I'd keep him in. I'd agree with roversman however and leave Emerton for now, he may have made an error but it didn't prove fatal luckily. Bentley and Emerton should be left for now, they combine well.
Hughes Da Man
Managers live and die by their substitutions. In this case Sparky struck gold.
sandgroanun
Sparky struck puregold!
Hughes Da Man
 

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