Rovers on the Slide....
After the midweek triumph against the visitors in the Carling cup, Blackburn made several changes to the line up, restoring Samba, Gamst, Santa Cruz and Oijer to the starting line up.
Rovers got the game of to a flyer, and should have been in the lead. A cross by Gamst Pedersen was headed down into the path of Steven Warnock. However Stevie could only blast his half-volley wide of the goal. Blackburn continued to pressure the defence. A brace of corners almost found Rovers in the lead, the first a deflected header by Zurab, was scrambled of the line. THe following corner found the head of Roque Santa Cruz, who could only manage the cross bar.
Gamst Pedersen continued his fine start to the game, forcing Sunderland stand in keeper Fulop into a great save after a 25 yard free kick. Rovers almost rued their missed chances, with Djibril Cisse set free by a delightful long ball. With the onrushing Robinson at his feet, Cisse attempted to lob the keeper, however the ball bounced wide of the near post.
Rovers were awarded another free kick in a dangerous position. Keith Andrews stepped up with a low driven strike, forcing Fulop again to pull of a great save. The half started to fizz out, but Rovers did manage to get the deserved lead before the break.
Another superb delivery from a Gamst corner found the 6'5' head of Samba, who rocketed his header into the back of the net. 1-0 Rovers
No changes were made at the break, but whatever Keane said to his troops, they definately listened. Sunderland almost equalised immediately, Steed Malbranque placed a neat chip onto the head of Kenwyne Jones, whose header struck the cross bar.
Jones would not be denied moments later, after a blunder by Rovers goal keeper, Paul Robinson. Robbo attempted to clear a Sunderland corner, but could only make minimal contact with the ball. Jones, from 6 yards out, struck a neat scissor kick into the top corner of the net. 1-1.
THe error could not have come at a worse time for Robinson, with the England Goal Keeper coach sitting in the stands.
Robinson made amends minutes later. A dangerous Keiron Richardson swerving free kick, leaving Robbo with seconds to react, was parried over the crossbar. Sunderland continued to push on, and it appeared Rovers simply could not match them.
In the 70th minute, Malbranque placed a delightful throughball for Cisse, who out muscled Zurab, and chipped Robinson, dribbling into the back of the net. 2-1 Sunderland.
Blackburn's chances in the second half were minimal, with the best chance falling to the most unlikely of players in the dying minutes, Aaron Mokoena. After a Villanueva corner, Zurabs header found the outstreched leg of Roque Santa Cruz, who flicked the ball goal wards. Desperate defending prevent Roque finding the net, with the ball bouncing up on the penalty spot. Mokoena unleashed a furios volley, but the Sunderland defence put their bodies on the line. No luck for Rovers
Blackburn 1- Sunderland 2
Scored a powerful header, and made several interventions. Stood up in defence whilst others fell around him. Picked up the on ground man of the match award.
Paul Robinson 6.5
Chris Samba 8
Andre Oijer 6
Danny Simpson 6.5
Aaron Mokoena 7
Morten Gamst Pedersen 8
Keith Andrews 7
Steven Warnock 7
Roque Santa Cruz 7.5
Jason Roberts 6
Ince is struggling in my eyes, and he is making the wrong decisions. We are loosing 2-1, why take of your most attacking player in the midfield, Gamst. He should of taken the Axe of, who played well, but we needed to push on for a result.
Not happy Ince......