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Middlesboro 0 - Blackburn 0

Riverside Stadium

31/01/09

Attendance: 24,303

Rovers Kept At Bay

Well it was definitly a case of two points dropped at the Riverside as Rovers couldn't turn their dominance into goals.

Team wise, Rovers started with the same XI that started against Bolton with one change - Santa Cruz up front in place of the unlucky Jason Roberts.

Both sides struggled to get out of the blocks in the first half and chances were certainly in short supply.

Rovers love playing in the North East and it showed on the whole as they dominated in the second half and the superior strength in midfield and belief in themselves helped Rovers take control.

In the first half, Vince Grella had a decent effort that if on target would of been the opener and Keith Andrews had a go from distance but the impressive Brad Jones in the Boro goal stood tall.

The Boro goalkeeper to be fair - was actually their best player. Numerous times he kept the away side in check.

After only five minutes Blackburn's Andre Ooijer was booked for a clumsy and needless foul after bringing down the dangerous Adam Johnson.

Neither side created much at all in the first half, Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson in particular having an easy time. Defences were on top and there was little for the crowd to get over excited about.

Keith Andrews was forced off just prior to half time with an injury and the always popular Tugay took his place.

Chris Riggott cleared off the goal-line from Roque Santa Cruz when through on goal, but the Rovers striker was mysteriously adjudged to have handled - which at best looked dubious.

In the second half Rovers took control and various efforts from Benni McCarthy, Roque Santa Cruz and Tugay were kept out.

However, the main chances were in the last ten minutes of the game. David Dunn, on as a substitute slalomed past 3 Boro playuers and had his effort blocked by Jones.

Jason Roberts then had a decent shout for a penalty turned down before having a header superbly saved by Jones with the last action of the game.

Overall though, Rovers can be pleased with the performance but the result of the afternoon should of been three points and not one.

Star Player

Roque Santa Cruz - I am giving it to the man who wants out. If he is desperate to leave he certainly didn't look it. Played with commitment and with class. A focal point in attack and was unlcuky not to score. More of this if you are staying please Roq.

Player Ratings


Robinson - 6

He was playing? Certainly didn't seem like it as he was a mere spectator.

Ooijer - 5

Looks a bit uncomfortable at right back and gave away a silly foul after only 5 mins. He was steady but surely Brett at right back is the better option? Had a tough game against the lively Johnson.

Nelsen - 7

A massive presence and a key reason for the clean sheet. Commanding and a leader.

Samba - 7

Steady as she goes, didn't do much wrong and won everything aerially.

Warnock - 7

A better all round game than against Bolton. Didn't do as much attacking as Wednesday but did his job properly at the back.

Emerton - 6

Used his pace well but I am still convinced that he would be better at right back. Made some good runs but should of been through on goal when he miscontrolled.

Andrews - 6

Looked set for another solid game before injury cruelly intervened.

Grella - 7

Yes Sas, I am now sold. I like him. Very strong and held everyone together in midfield. A general and a certain starter for me now when fit.

Gamst Pedersen - 6

Committed most fouls in the game - when has that ever happened?! Put in a steady shift but should be looking to do more with his set pieces.

Santa Cruz - 8

A good game and he took control of proceedings. Tried moving the centre backs of Boro about and created space.

McCarthy - 7

Another good, work man like performance from the rejuvenated South African. Unlucky not to score but our man is back to his best.

Tugay - 7

Another example of why he is a legend. Looks good next to the less refined Grella and really strokes it around like no other. Looked tired towards the end.

Roberts - 7

A great statement when he came on. Was deeply unfortunate not to start and he was out to prove a point. How he didn't score God only knows. Sam has a nice headache in the striker department.

Dunn - 8

Please for the love of sweet Jesus stay fit. Was a bundle of energy when he came on and ran his proverbials off. Went on a magnificent sloping run with the ball and drove the team on. Very promising.

Manager Rating

8.

More great substitutes and was not at fault for the fact Rovers didn't win. Made the right changes at the right time but the chances need to go in.

Positives

- Boro's attacking threat was nullified well and Robinson had basically nothing to do.

- Ryan Nelsen and Chris Samba look awesome at the moment.

- David Dunn is awesome when he has a run of games.

- Roque Santa Cruz did not play like he wants out.

- Vince Grella looks like he is worth 4 million now.

Negatives

- Too many missed chances.

- Andre Ooijer will struggle at right back against the top teams.

- Keith Andrews injury. Keith has been a great squad player the last few months and deserves more recognition than he gets.

- Some of these draws will need to become wins soon otherwise we will lose ground.




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The Journalist

Writer: Mikey Delap Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday January 31 2009

Time: 7:23PM

Your Comments

I am spilt on this. Another clean sheet is awesome but the game should have been won.
Mikey D
We really dominated the game.....
Heldacaite
cheers for the report mikey. grrrr guess its points dropped, and we are back in the drop zone..
sasman
im sat watchin motd, knowing that when Rovers come on, probs last game? its going to be a stressful watch, we need to desperately start winning games, im scared that weve gone through the easiest section of the season with opposition, and not picked up nearly enough points, got a tricky run coming up now, will test big sam and the unbeaten run!! C'mon Rovers!
whitey_82003
RSC is looking the business and can understand why allardyce doesn'tt want to sell him to City (or anyone else). Don't think you need to worry about his attitude, he keeps stating that he's happy at Blackburn (his good attitude endears him even further to the City fans!) We'd love him at COMS, and I suspect that we'll put in another offer before 5pm Monday. I know you won't want to see him go, bbut I suspect Sam has been working his backside off to get a deal together for a replacement. Just hope for your sake he doesn't go to spuds, cause you'll probably end up with darren bent. OUCH!
fifthcolumnblue
yeah game should have been won but can't really fault the performance... and yes Emerton at right back. PLEASE!!!
retroflair31
very dissapointed and the difference between staying up and going down rest on us convert these chances, we have to start winning games draws at this stage feel like defeats
glen9mullan
I'm with u GLEN.....the draws are good but we gotta a start turnin em in to wins soon... got a few hard fixtures comin up now n, worried we may be a litte "cut adrift" after them. Hope we dont look back on this season in the future as "the one that could of been" because we have missed som,e SERIOUS chances to win games....Sunderland, Bolton twice, Boro...we'd have been midtable with those wins!!!
mani13963
Maybe so but we have the team spirit and performance level in place to give Aston Villa, Man Utd and Hull a real go.
Mikey D
to be fair we were useless yesterday and have been in useless form since november, but if you couldnt beat us i suggest you just give uo hope and come down with us. p.s who was the scruff who got chucked out becuase he was an absolute disgrace
boros_finest
What happened boros finest?! who got chucked out?
Mikey D
 

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