No Knockout blow for Rovers on Boxing Day
Stadium of Light
With both teams coming of comprehensive victories, both managers decided to stick with the same team. Roque Santa Cruz was out due to a niggling calf injury, leaving Benni Mc and Jason Roberts to lead the frontline once again.
With the Stadium of Light packed to the rafters, it was Sunderland who got of to the better start. With Andy Reid calling the shots on the left flank, Sunderland looked a threat. If Djibril Cisse could stay onside, Sunderland could have been a couple of goals up early on.
The first real chance came from a Reid through ball. Cisse Pounced, however Paul Robinson dashed of his line, parrying Cisse as he tried to round the keeper. Solid defending by Ryan Nelsen prevented another Cisse assault, whilst Nelsen was again at the helm, making a delightful tackle on Kenwyn Jones.
Rovers had little ball in the first half, with the only real threat coming from Benni McCarthy, who almost managed to head in of a Gamst cross. A dull first half, with the score at 0-0.
The second half started with a bang, with Rovers almost taking the lead immediately. A David Dunn free kick was whipped in of the left flank. With the keeper misjudging it, the ball looked goal bound. However, Chris Samba decided to assist it, sticking his hand up and getting the slightest of deflections. Rovers celebrated, but Referee Chris Foy new better, and handed out a Yellow Card to Samba. After several replays, it was obvious the ball was going in anyway, silly decision by Samba.
Rovers pushed on and looked most likely to score. Marin Fulop was twice called into action, darting of his line to prevent Benni Mc getting a shot away and a great save moments later after some delightful play between Roberts, Benni and Andrews. Andrews made a sharp run into box, however his shot only found the legs of Fulop.
Rovers continued to threat. A Morten Gamst free kick was saved by Fulop, whos faintest touch pushed the ball onto the post. Sunderland looked stunned, with their best chance coming from a Cisse volley, which was blasted over the bar.
Trajedy struck for Rovers. Dunn started limping, straining his hamstring, putting him out for another 3 weeks. Tugay came on to replace Dunn. Rovers started to fatgiue late on, with Cisse pouncing on every opportunity. However, superb defending from Nelsen prevented any shot on goal. Benni made way for Derbyshire, and late on, Nelsen Picked up an eye injury, bringing the Axe on.
THe best chance of the game fell to Rovers in the last minute of regulation. A clearance from Rovers put Jason Roberts through, whose first touch sent Fulop the wrong way. With an open goal in sight, Roberts struck the ball, and trickled wide of the near post. Allardyce was celebrating, then stood on shock. In post match reports, there were claims the ball bobbled up, causing the miscue. The Sasman is not convinced, Roberts should of buried it, once again proving that he cant even score in a Brothel......
If anyone said before the game that we would get a 0-0 draw, we would of taken it, but i bet the travelling supporters would of been disapointed in not stealing the 3 points.
Sunderland 0 Blackburn 0
Paul Robinson 7
Ryan Nelsen 9
Chris Samba 6
Andre Oijer 7
Steven Warnock 6.5
Keith Andrews 7.5
David Dunn 8
Morten Gamst 6.5
Brett Emerton 6.5
Benni McCarthy 9
Jason Roberts Effort 8 Finishing.....
Roque Santa Cruz/ Steven Warnock
As for Warnock, he really is in another world at the moment, needs to lift his game, or leave....