Benni salvages a point
On a chilli,rainy night, Blackburn faced Middlesbrough, who has just come of a spanking to Premier League favourites, Chelsea. Rovers made a few changes to the line up, Derbyshire replacing Roberts, Roque Santa Cruz replacing Fowler, Oijer replacing Samba in the heart of the defence, and Grella making his home debut, replacing Tugay.
In what looked like a defensive outfit, Rovers appeared to start the game with little confidence. An Olsson error early on almost set Aliadiare free, forcing the young Swede to foul. Worryingly for Rovers fans, not a Boro goal, but Mark Hughes was shown on the big screen, am i right that this is the second game in a row he has been watching.....I wonder who he is after....
Boro almost took the early advantage. Riggot sent a lovely ball over the Rovers defence, with Aliadiare only managing to hit the woodwork. Rovers first real chance of the half was from a brilliant piece of play from Grella. A floated ball over the top from Grella sent Emerton free, who's shot on target was saved by the keeper, earning a corner. Few minutes later, it was Roque's turn to go close. A nice pass by Warnock set up Santa Cruz, brushing past his defender, striking the inside of the far post, and bouncing back into open play.
Midway through the first half, fortune favoured Rovers. A lofted header by Digard set Tuncay free, who's overhead bicycle kick found the back of the net, but he was controversially flagged offside. Carlos Villanueva was finding his feet, however a flash of brilliance in the 38th minute got the Rovers fans excited. Carlos took the ball in full flight, spun and layed it of, almost in one motion, but Warnock could only find the grandstand.
An entertaining first half in miserable weather, with both sides unlucky not to be leading at the break, 0-0.
A slow start to the second half, with foul after foul eventuating in Matt Derbyshire being cautioned. Not too long after, it was Derbyshire to make way for Benni McCarthy. The change almost payed dividens. An excellent surging run by Brett Emerton was followed by a delightful one-two with Benni Mc, with Santa Cruz being released. The fortnight of must have rusted of Roque, with the ball becoming stuck in his stried, opportunity gone.
Rovers where made to pay for there poor finishing, with a long ball setting ALves free, who skipped around Oijer and blasted into the back of the net. 1-0 Boro....
An attacking change for Rovers followed, Olsson of, Treacy on. The match started to disspointingly fizz out, with Blackburn suddenly lacking any attacking threat. 4 minutes of injury time...
Rovers were awarded a free kick just inside the attacking half, taken by Warnock and cleared for a corner. In a last ditch attempt, it was all guns blazing with Paul Robinson surging into the box. A delightful corner found Benni McCarthy free on the edge of the 6 yard box, up he went, a strong powerful header into the back corner of the net. 1-1 at Ewood
Now lets not get into any politics here, Grella had a splendid game. Delightful passing, tackling and distribution, and this is only the start. ALso collected the Peter Jackson man of the match award
However credit must go to Ince for not starting Benni Mc and bringing him on later in the game. Match Fitness is what he needs, hopefully he might be ready for a start next time round