Rovers striking form
St James Park
After the mid week cup success against Everton, an away fixture against the trouble Newcastle outfit was on the cards. Paul Ince decided to reintroduce the experience of Samba and Nelsen, with Roque Santa Cruz starting ahead of Robbie Fowler. Paul Robinson must of been fit enough to play, with his name down on the bench, with Jason Brown deputising in goals. Rovers favourite, Carlos Villanueva was given his starting Debut ahead of Jason Roberts.
After a niggly opening few minutes, Rovers could have started with a bang. Sloppy defending put Roque Santa Cruz through on goals, however his effort was parried by former Rover, Shay Given. His save fell to Matty Derbyshire, his header being cleared of the line through some scrambling defence.
Moments later, Derbyshire almost got himself onto the scoresheet, with only millimeters and Givens boots preventing him opening the account. Carlos Villanueva whipped in a corner, which appears to deflect of Derbyshire, only to see Given's boot stop it from trickling over the white line.
Moments later, Blackburn were awarded a free kick, 40 yards from goals. Villanueva stepped up, placing a delightful centering delivery, with Chris Samba outmuscling his defender, then leaping for a header, leaving Shay Given stranded. 1-0 Rovers. There was a hint of offside, but hey, the Newcastle defenders didnt complain, why should I!!!
Rovers kept up the pressure, with Villanueva dazzling in the middle of the park, taking on defenders and splitting them with delightful passes. It took Rovers 10 minutes to double their lead, with a quickly taken free kick by Tugay finding Brett Emerton on the flank. Emo whipped in a delightful cross, finding the head of Roque Santa Cruz, who easily outmanouvered his marker, slotting it into the back of the net. 2-0 Rovers. Half Time
Whatever was said at the interval in the Newcastle sheds must of been motivational, as a different Toon outfit turned up to play in the second half. Damien Duff started to bombard the left flank, whipping a cross in which Martin Olsson blatanlty handled in the box. However, it was missed by the referre. Justice was to be served moments later though, as Ryan Nelsen was adjudged to have brought down a striker on the edge of the box. The decision was rough on Nelsen, however, these decisions even out. Michael Owen stepped up, blasted it into the centre of the net, 2-1 Rovers.
Newcastle started to take control of the game, spreading the ball out wide and dominating possesion. However they failed to capatilse on the mounting possesion. Blackburn decided to make a change, with Villanueva making way for Robbie Fowlers first premiership appearance. With Newcastle edging towards an equaliser, Ince made a few more changes, with Roque Santa Cruz being replaced by Jason Roberts and Matt Derbyshire replaced by Andre Oijer.
Blackburn took a more defensive mindset, however with a touch of luck could of extended their lead. A long ball was placed to Jason Roberts who out muscled his marker. However the bounce was a fraction to far as Shay Given ran out of his box to clear.
Newcastle started to mount pressure, however they could not create a clear opportunity for their strikers. Ryan Nelsen was lucky to stay on the paddock after a mistimed challenge was missed by the referee.
The game fizzed out, with Rovers picking up 3 vital away points.
Jason Brown 7
Danny Simpson 7
Chris Samba 8
Ryan Nelsen 7.5
Martin Olsson 7
Steven Warnock 6.5
Matt Derbyshire 7
Brett Emerton 7.5
Carlos Villanueva 8
Roque Santa Cruz 7.5
Robbie Fowler, Jason Roberts, Andre Oijer
Blackburn V Man United