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Birmingham 2 - Blackburn 1

Attendance:

Away Woes Continue For Rovers

Ryan Nelson's second half goal was not enough for Blackburn as they lost in Birmingham. Two goals either side of the break from Cameron Jerome saw Rovers go five without a win.

Rovers made four changes from Saturday's draw at Hull, as Big Sam looked to end a run of four games without a goal. Jason Roberts partnered Niko Kalinić upfront as the Croatian made his first league start. Elsewhere there were returns for Morton Gamst Pedersen and El Hadji Diouf. Birmingham were unchanged from their win over West Ham at the weekend, as Alex McLeish looked to keep with a winning side.

It was Kalinić that had the first half chance of the game. Steven N'Zonzi continued his run and nodded the ball down for Kalinić who blasted over on the volley.

But Birmingham began to show why they have been picking up points in recent weeks, with Christian Benítez and Jerome keeping Christopher Samba and Ryan Nelson busy.

And it was Jerome who gave the home side the lead after 12 minutes. Rovers were slow to react to a quick corner, and Sebastian Larson was able to pick a cross out which eventually fell to Jerome who couldn't miss from a yard out.

To their credit Rovers did respond well, Roberts a snap shout fly harmlessly wide, but again it was only a half chance. But it was still Birmingham that were dominating possession and continued to threaten the Blackburn defence with quick corners.

On 21 minutes Birmingham thought they had doubled their lead. Stephen Carr fired a ball in from the right and Benítez slid in to put the ball past Paul Robinson. Fortunately the assistant referee raised a flag.

There was more bad news for Rovers as Brett Emerton limped off to be replaced by Keith Andrews.

However Blackburn had a good spell just before the break. Kalinić missed his kick when free in the box but they had their best chance to reply after Joe Hart couldn't claim a ball in to his box. The ball fell for N'Zonzi who saw his shot blocked on the line by Carr, leaving Rovers with no reward for their good spell at half time.

Minutes after the break Blackburn were made to pay for not taking their chances. Good work from Larson released Carr, he crossed for Jerome who's finish left Robinson with no chance. It was the worst possible start to the second half for Sam Allardyce's men.

Allardyce reacted quickly to the second goal, replacing Diouf with David Hoilett, but this did little to change the flow of the game, with only an excellent challenge from Pascal Chimbonda stopping James McFadden bursting through.

In truth Birmingham looked more likely to extend their lead, but with twenty minutes left Nelson gave Rovers a lifeline. Joe Hart was only able to get a fingertip to Chimbonda's shot, and the New Zealand international was on hand to convert the rebound to bring Blackburn back in to the game.

Allardyce again reacted quickly. Roberts was replaced by Benni McCarthy, but with Rovers pressing for an equaliser Birmingham always looked dangerous on the break. After excellent work from Benítez, Robinson denied Jerome a hatrick, only for Benítez to waste the rebound by somehow hit the bar with the goal gaping

Rovers had a series of late corners as they searched for a way back in to the game. Robinson made his way up to help out, but it was Kalinić who came closest to an equaliser, with his front post header blocked on the line by Larson, who didn't know much about it.

However there was no equaliser for Blackburn who go five without a win, for Birmingham it is now five on the bounce. Rovers will be disappointed with the goals they conceded but the spirit they showed in the second half will at least give Sam Allardyce something to take from the game.

Player Ratings


Robinson 6

Not a lot he could do with the goals, didn't do much wrong all night.

Chimbonda 7

A threat going forward, but caught out in defence

Nelsen: 7

Well taken goal but will disappointed with the organisation for Birmingham's opener

Samba

Not at his dominant best

Emerton: N/A

Lasted only 22 minutes due to injury

Pedersen: 7

A decent return to the side, was one of the better performers on a poor night

N'Zonzi...7.

Was able to cause problems with his height all game, but never really dictated the game

Roberts :5

Not at his best, never really got going

Kalinić: 6

Had some half chances but will be disappointed with his first league start.

Diouf: 5

Never really made an impact on the game

Givet : 6

Fairly solid performance, got caught out for second goal though.

Andrews: 7

steadied the ship after shaky start

Hoilett: 6

Didn't make the impact he would have liked, but a solid performance.

McCarthy 5...

No real impact from Benni




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The Journalist

Writer: James Beckett Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday December 16 2009

Time: 1:05AM

Your Comments

A Different Article Today, we are a lovely bunch at Vital Blackburn, and when Mr James Beckett, a second year sports journalism student at Staffordshire University contacted us about submitting a match report which would assist with his Uni Assignment, we opened our arms! A great read their James, best of luck with your studies, and make sure we get an exclusive! Otherwise, we will use your email address and hunt you down
sasman
As for the game it self, i managed to squeeze the first half in before i dashed of to work, and boy was i dissapointed. Poor marking for the goal, Emerton injured, and a shocking air swing by Kalinic....... sounded like more of the same in the second, though credit to Brum, they are flying high at the moment.......I still persist with the claim we gambled on the wrong players....we cant afford to splash out on a potential striker for the future, we need goals now, not in 10 years, Kalinic and Di santo wont provide that for us.....hopefully we can sign an experienced striker on the cheap in January....or at least give Benni a few games on the trot!
sasman
oo also, had to add the title james, didnt see one on the email, hope its fine!......thats all from me :D better do some work
sasman
Very disappointing on the night from the Rovers. I thought Pedersen, Diouf and Roberts were bloody awful. Birmingham may be on a roll and when they are on a roll you need to knock them off their stride! We didn't we allowed them to control the tempo. And what is with us only playing when we are 2-0 down?! We put the willies up them then!!!! It was too late!
Mikey Delap
Oh and well done James! A very good read! Good luck with your studies, you will go far with this sort of quality reading!
Mikey Delap
The only good players were Nelson, Samba, Kalinic and N'zonzi - Robbo did fairly well too as did Chimbonda and Givet - BUT, Diouf was slow and predictable, I didn't realise Roberts was on the pitch till he was subbed, Pedersen was easily brushed off the ball and his passing was poor. There was no fight in them last night, Birmingham were obviously high in confidence, but it seems as though we didn't even try!
FreidelNo.1
I thought we were atrocious last night. Diouf and Pedersen were appalling - I would say that we should ship them out, but for our lack of squad depth, especially in midfield. I was worried once Emerton went off and Andrews came on - I lost count how many times he gave the ball away!! I was really surprised by how poor Roberts was as well. The only bright note for me was that Kalinic at rare times did look lively - but the service he received was sub-standard and he never really had a chance against the two impressive Brum centre-halves. Why wasn't Di Santo brought on??
Wellsy10
See, Di Santo's plain lucky for you lot. Play him and you wont lose. lol
JT_daniel
JT: nice comment - but he still don't score goals....cheers
riisenholt
I have to disagree with a few people here. Now Nelsen is one of my fave players but last night (other than the goal of course) I think he was unusually sluggish. He was caught twice for both of the goals,especially the second. I know players have a split second to react in these situations but he got caught ball watching instead of sticking his leg out to stop Carr's cut back. I'm not blaming the defeat on him at all though. I think the first half was pretty terrible other than the last 10 minutes and whilst we had a storming finish to the second half but Birmingham should have put a couple more past us. Some good performances but again our ability to break any team down right now is lacking. A special mention to Johnson and Danns the Birmingham CB's. I thought they were superb and it's really not like me to say something like that haha.
fransavarese
It was poor marking for both goals that cost us - Nelsen was one of the only players showing a bit of fight in him.
FreidelNo.1
Fight he always shows, I never question that of him. I still stand behind my comments though. Also I didnt see the 7 Andrews was awarded till a second glance....what?!
fransavarese
I cannot beleive the lack of fight the whole team showed for 80 mins last night. Got to be the worst performance of the season! At least in previous games where we have been beat, we have more often than not played well and deserved more from the games than we got. God help us on Saturday if we play Diouf, Roberts, Pederson & Andrews!!!
SyekotikRover
I dunno it wasnt as bad as Everton away or Chelsea away for me... the lack of fight was astonishing from some though. Thats the good thing with the Admiral, he bleeds blue and white now - he will never give in. Andrews did alright in my book - just one terrible pass aside.
Mikey Delap
Well written JB, but I disagree with a majority of your rankings. Our back 4 were frequently caught out of position. Nelson gets a 6 for being aggressive at the end of the game with our set pieces. Samba gets a 4 for being the target of at least 70 throw ins and committing more fouls than headers. Givet and Chimbonda were frequently beaten by pacier midfielders attacking vertically, but Chimbo gets credit for somehow being the furthest Rover downfield on several scoring chances. Andrews was a 3 and that might be generous. He almost gave the game away with an errant back pass. His spacing was awful, his passing only went sideways or backward and he never stuck a half decent tackle. Nzonzi spent most of his day heading the ball, but he showed heart and fight and filled in at attacking mid quite well for a youngster. MGP was trying hard but is terrified to take a shot. He had one chance at the top of the box but wouldn't pull the trigger and danced until he made a bad pass. He's also far more concerned with throw ins than actual play. So disappointing. Diouf and Roberts were completely invisible while on the pitch. Roberts did nothing of note. Benni wasn't much better when he came on, but at least I saw him in the screen more than once. Hoilett tried but he's still very raw. Lots of runs outward when the better choice would have been to attack more directly with our run of play. Kalinic deserves praise for that game. While he missed a volley early, the whiff wasn't straight forward because the replays clearly show his foot get tangled between the defender's legs. Only a stroke of misfortune kept him from converting that header as Larson had no idea the ball was in the air and that the header was turned his way. Kalinic showed hustle and fire all day. He created chances, took runs at defenders and laid the ball off several times only to see his teammates fluff it. He was the man of the match for the Rovers and his performance was only lacking a tally in the goal column. He deserves an 8. I have a lot of hope for him.
SoCal Rover
Nice review. Lets be honest- we lacked intent and were clearly second best against a side that is playing well, but is not highly rated
retroflair31
We got punished for our mistakes with these mistakes making it far to easy for Birmingham who would (and did) take advatange. These mistakes were surprising given that we've looked tight at the back recently. A well written report James, I'm glad that you did this for Vital Blackburn and we were only to happy to help you. Good luck for the rest of your studies.
Walker
riisenholt, damn. :-)
JT_daniel
 

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