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Brave Rovers Fall Short at United

Man U
2 - 1

Old Trafford



3 Points was on the agenda for both teams today, Man U needing the points to maintain their lead, whilst Rovers needing points to escape from the bottom 3. Changes galore for the Rovers outfit, with Allardyce reverting to a 4-5-1 formation, with Gael Givet, El Hadji Diouf and Roque Santa Cruz all starting.

As expected, Man U came out blazing. Early chances from Rooney, Ronaldo and Carrick all went wide of the goal. Rovers appeared to be contempt sitting back and playing the long ball out to Roque Santa Cruz. Excellent interventions from Gael Givet and Ryan Nelsen prevented Rooney and Berbatov pouncing on early chances, however an unlucky interception set up Man U's first goal.

A stunning pass by Nani split the Rovers Centre Backs, with Nelsen's outstreched leg only managing to hold the ball up for Rooney, who blasted the ball past Robinson, 1-0 Man U. Many would of thought, here we go, 3 points for Man U, but our lads stood up and fought.

It took ten minutes, but the Red Devil army were stunned. AN excellent inteception by Andre Oijer allowed him to dart upfield. Oijer turned creator, splitting the United Defence, finding the path of Roque Santa Cruz, who rounded Kuszack, finding the back of the net, ending Man U's clean sheet streak at home, as well as Rovers baren spell away from home, 1-1. The game then fizzed out until the last minute of the half. United were given a corner which should of been a goal kick. The cross was whipped in, Johnny Evans heading into the goal, however it was dissalowed for an apparent push. 1-1 Half TIme

With many expecting Man U to come out firing, it was Rovers who actually started to dominate, silencing the United faithful, and showing signs of a team that should not be in the basement. A dart down the flank by Gamst was followed by a whipped in delivery. Roque should of toe poked home but was looking for a class finish, allowing the defender to stretch out and make the clearance. Minutes later, Ronaldo did no good for his reputation, caught out diving by Referee Howard Webb, Yellow Card.

Rovers best chance of the half definately fell to the wrong man. A deep cross lobbed over the United Defence, falling into the path of Ryan Nelsen. The Admiral was making his 132nd appearance for the BLue and WHites, and had yet to find the net. With only the keeper to beat, Nelsen poked the ball wide of the keeper, into the post. El Hadji Diouf could only direct the rebound straight back at the keeper.

Rovers were devestated only minutes later. A poor foul by Keith Andrews gave Ronaldo the opportunity, and he took it, blasting the ball over and around the wall, into the top corner of the net, 2-1 Man U.

Rovers didnt back down though, with controversy striking minutes later. A delightful throughball by David Dunn found the path of Gamst Pedersen, who found himself past his marker, with only the keeper to beat. A poor first touch sent the ball to his right foot, with Rafael breathing over his shoulder, it appeared that Rafael made contact with Gamst, bringing him to the ground. Howard Webb waived play on. Replays showed contact was made, probably would of been awarded at the other end, but Gamst, seriously, your through, stay on your feet and blast the bloody thing in the net....

Berbatov then had a chance to seal the game, with Rooney chipping in a cross from the flank, however the Bulgarian headed over the goal. After a few nervy moments, and a late corner, Man U held out, 2-1.

Star Player

Gael Givet

What a find this lad has turned out to be. Played fantastically, kept tabs on strikers, worked superbly with Nelsen

Player Ratings

Robinson 6.5

Couldnt do anything about the first goal, not sure about positioning for the free kick, ball seemed to go over his head, but i dont know if anybody could save that.

Ryan Nelsen 7.5

Admiral played his heart out, but please dont push up anymore lol. He cant score, missed our best chance, defended superbly though, couldnt do anything about the first 1, apart from putting it in his own net

Gael Givet 8

Great game from Gael, what a find this will be, hopefully we can seal a cheap transfer

Steven Warnock 6.5

Caught out a couple of times on the flank, did well on the counter

Andre Oijer 7

Set up a goal, played well in defence, looked rather solid.

Vince Grella 6

Not one of Grella's best games. He positioned himself well, but his passing wasnt the best. Felt like he was too cramped up in the middle

Keith Andrews 6

Barely noticable on the field.....

David Dunn 7.5

Looked dangerous, couple of weak shots, but worked hard all game. Not sure why he was taken of, really looked like a main threat

Morten Gamst 5.5

What can i say. I love the Gamst, one of his biggest fans, but he did have a poor game. Lost the ball too many times, and really should of stuck it in and finished rather then go down....

El Hadji Diouf 8

Really starting to convince me. Worked his ass of all game, tracked back, and did his best to penetrate the defence

Roque Santa Cruz 7

Good finish, but found it tough up front on his own

Tugay 6.5

No real impact

Benni McCarthy

No real impact

Keith Treacy

No time to impress

Next Up

Hull City away.

Really becomes a must win game. If we get the points, we are almost out of the basement, and Hull get dragged down into the fight....big 6 pointer

Date:Sunday February 22 2009
Time: 5:57AM


Well what can we say, great effort from the boys, Nelsen really should of buried that chance....guess we live to fight another day. No pics on Givet there boss....
22/02/2009 05:59:00
a brilliant effort by the boys. stunning debut for Givet, loved Diouf's work and Santa did what was required. But Sasman, as brilliant an analysis as this was, the score of 5.5 for Gamst is very complimentry. Nelson may have missed (just) but Gamst didn't even pull the trigger. Instead, he feel down when he felt the breath of a defender on his shoulder. His passing was poor all day and apart from a 10 minute spell in the second half, was completely useless. 4-4-2 next week, he won't start
22/02/2009 06:27:00
At least you scored more than others have done
Tiny T
22/02/2009 08:46:00
A good summary of what was the best Rovers performance for quite a few games. That said, Andrews again showed he isn't up to the task against the bigger sides. Like Sas, I barely noticed he was playing. I hate to say this, but I think the Axe would have been a better choice to run around like a headless chicken. Still, MASSIVE positives to take out of this game. 1) Givet - looked like a class act, Samba might have his work cut out to get back in the side..... 2) Diouf - played his heart out. If he puts that much effort in every week he could soon become a M4M favourite. .... 3) Santa Cruz - Did well yesterday, hopefully he can get a few more games away from the transfer window and remember how much he owes Rovers for resurrecting his career. Good goal.
22/02/2009 11:27:00
CHeers for the wrap guys, fair enough retro, 5.5 indicates an average performance, he did have a couple of dangerous crosses on the flank, as for the penalty, disgusting, he should of buried the shot, gamst and roberts have a tendency to go down easily, that does not mean there diving as there is contact, but with site of goal, surely they would be a bit more hungry
22/02/2009 13:07:00
i am the only person who thought nelsen did not play well again. he was a fault for the goal and missed a good chance. I think his place his really coming under threat from givet after his brillant performance yesterday
22/02/2009 17:42:00
i thought there were many great performances givet, nelsen, warnock and ooijer were fantastic at the back, apart from the goals robinson has not had to make a save the whole match, pedersen was very poor, laxy dazy with the ball and looks unfit, was constantly caught in possesion and should have buried the one on one, andrews was ineffective as usual and it was an hour before i even realised he was playing, cant see him getting in the team next season, feel robbed by the officials but proud of the lads, they really played there hearts out and was very very unlucky
22/02/2009 18:51:00
Very impressed with the performance. That would have beaten most teams in the premiership. United will not have many games tougher than that this season. Givet looked excellent against top players and seems either to have a bit of pace which was badly lacking or great positional sense. Warnock looks very dangerous going forward and Diouf looks like a very good signing. I did not think Dunn looked that good and Pedersen was hopeless. The sooner we can get safe in the top flight then the sooner Big Sam can go and start looking to bring in players that we badly need for cover and competition
23/02/2009 03:11:00
I thought we played well and united were by comparison based on their reputation, pretty poor. However, we just didn't get the luck - Ronaldo best player in the world? Good free-kick, but shouldn't have been on the field. Rooney, nice finish, but only due to Nelson's error. I also thought Berbatov should have been sent off for two thigh high, stud tackles. But as Benitez says, one rule for them and one for everyone else!
23/02/2009 12:12:00
Nelsen was my MOM of the match. The cross for the United first goal he could do NOTHING about. He won everything in the air and commanded evertyhing beautifully. Givet fitted in well. A very brave performance against the best side in the world.
Mikey D
23/02/2009 12:46:00
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