10 Man Rovers Stun Villa
With both teams finding them selves at alternate ends of the table, Aston Villa made the trip to Ewood Park. Villa would of been anticipating success, as they have beaten the Lancashire outfit 7 out of the last 8 times. Allardyce decided to make a few changes, Di Santo coming in for Roberts, Nzonzi in for Andrews, Jacobsen at right back and Nelsen in for Givet....
The Rovers game plan was tossed out the window after only 3 minutes. A long ball by Brad Friedel was flicked on by James Milner, with Agbonlahor finding open space, rolling the ball past the outstreched arms of Robinson, hitting the far post and trickling inside the goal. 1-0 Aston Villa....
Rovers, stunned, but responded well. David Dunn scuffed a shot outside the box, with the ball rolling across to Pedersen who blasted over. Di Santo had an opportunity off a Rovers throw in, however Ex Rover Stevie Warnock put his body on the line, blocking the Argentinians effort.
Ashley Young looked a threat on the flank for the Villians, however, his traditional perfect delivery just wasnt happening. 2 crosses narrowly missed the free John Carew, whilst set pieces found their way straight into Robinson's arms.
Rovers made Villa pay for wasting set pieces. RYan Nelsen sent the ball skywards into the box, with Di Santo battling with his marker, the ball bounced into the path of Samba, who half volleyed into the bottom left corner of the goal....1-1
In what was proving to be an entertaining encounter, Villa were next in line to take some chances, with Young and Carew blasting wide and over respectively. Friedel then reminded Rovers (if we ever needed reminding) of the quality he possesses, making a perfect reflex saving preventing Dunn scoring from an acrobatic bicycle kick.
With the pressure on, Rover's almost gave one away as a sloppy pass from Chimbonda found Milner, who darted into the box, however his shot couldnt get past Robinson. Half Time, 1-1
The second half started with more of the same, however Rover's had the upper hand, with Villa holding back. The game then took a twist, with Vince Grella picking up a second yellow for a reckless tackle. Rovers made the changes, bringing on Brett Emerton and Keith Andrews for Dioufy and Pedersen in an attempt to condense the midfield. And boy didnt it work!
Friedel continued to be the thorn, pulling of another reflect save of Brett Emerton's powerful strike. Di Santo continued to press, and impress the Rover's faithful with his ability on the ball, and work ethic. He was denied a penalty in the 83rd minute, however, was'nt to be denied in the 88th. Di Santo controlled the ball, and struck an acrobatic bicycle kick, which was handballed by Richard Dunne. David Dunn stepped up to the plate, blasting into the left corner, 2-1 Rovers...
Villa almost snared an equaliser, a Collins long shot found a slight deflection, however Robinson was up to the task, parrying it wide... Rovers 2-1
Paul Robinson 7.5
Ryan Nelsen 7
Chris Samba 7.5
Lars Jacobsen 8
Pascal Chimbonda 7.5
Steven Nzonzi 7.5
Vince Grella 6.5
Gamst Pedersen 6
El Hadji Diouf 7
David Dunn 10
Franco Di Santo 9