Date:Monday September 18 2006
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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Date:Monday September 18 2006
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