Writer: Mikey Delap
Date:Saturday September 12 2009
12th Sep 09
Attendance: 24,500 or so
Rovers finally picked up their first win of the season by finally learning to take their chances and rubber stamping their dominance with a result to match!
Big Sam had, for the first time, everybody available as the raft of injuries Rovers have had to endure has started to clear up. Only Benni McCarthy and Steven N'Zonzi were unavailable as Rovers for once had a strong bench to pick from. The suprise was that Sam only made one change from the side that stumbled to a dour draw against West Ham. El Hadji Diouf was back from injury and replaced the newly injured Steven N'Zonzi.
The reaction from the crowd when the team was read out was one of annoyance as David Dunn was again second striker in a rigid 4-4-1-1 formation - which proved so unpopular with the Rovers fans last time out.
But the groans and moans didnt last long. This was the same formation but with a different attitude, the attitude that was present against Man City on the opening day.
Rovers pressed from the off and hassled the Wolves side into mistakes and were worthy winners in the end.
The first chance of the game was for Wolves who floated a free kick into the Rovers box from the right foot of talented midfielder Milijas, Robinson spilled the ball and Berra fired wide when it would of been easier to hit the target. The Wolves defender was on reflection gifted an open goal but the chance was made difficult as he was on the turn but in the end it was close but no cigar as a relieved Robinson reflected on a mistake.
After that it was all Rovers for the next twenty mintues as the classy Gamst Pedersen (god it feels good to be able to say that again!) and the industrious Diouf supported Dunny and Roberts up front well with Grella anchoring as Andrews roamed about in almost a free role.
After a few half chances Rovers took the lead in the 19th minute as El-Hadji Diouf celebrated his return to the starting line-up by latching onto a mistimed tackle by on-loan defender Michael Mancienne and racing through on goal to drive past Wayne Hennessey.
It was just the lift the crowd and players needed as Dioufs' goal had lifted a jinx of sorts. The crowd were roused and the Rovers players confidence shot up a notch.
It could have been more as the half drew to a close as Morten Gamst Pedersen rammed the post from a dangerous free kick and Keith Andrews forced a fine save from Hennessey on the stroke of the break.
That Berra chance for Wolves was in retrospect the best chance of a tough afternoon as Rovers were finally on song and the home side gradually took a grip on proceedings thanks to the excellent Dunns' creativity and the energy of Roberts and Diouf up front.
Things briefly looked brighter for the visitors at the start of the second period as Mick McCarthy's substitutions took effect and the absolutely massive Stefan Maierhofer struck wide when well placed from a threatening cross.
But Rovers removed any jitters that existed in the second period as Givet met a David Dunn corner with a powerful header which was borderline going in but Roberts rerased any doubt by getting a faint touch and claiming the goal. To be fair it was the least Roberts deserved as he had put in a great shift up front bringing other more cultured Rovers players into the play - as his role commands.
It was Roberts' who also supplied the third Rovers goal as he barged through the defence to fire at Hennessy and leave Dunn with the easiest of strikes from close range.
The assault continued as Keith Andrews was looking to bag against his old (and first) club. He forced two good saves from the wolves stopper and was unlucky not to notch.
Wolves did strike at the death with a consolation two minutes from time when Maierhofer controlled a corner from Jarvis and poked home from the edge of the 6 yard box.
This was a minor blip however as the annoyance of losing the clean sheets that Allardyce loves will be cancelled out by the joy of the first win and finally Rovers can say they took the chances they created.
There was further good news as the return of Brett Emerton was realised. Even before he was stripping off to replace Morten the crowd were away and chanting his name. He has been sorely missed.
Also to compound the joy Spanish legend Michel Salgado made his debut as he replaced Lars Jacobsen with ten minutes left.
3 points against a good side, job done.
Date:Saturday September 12 2009
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