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Away Woes Continue For Rovers

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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


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


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

Writer:James Beckett
Date:Wednesday December 16 2009
Time: 1:05AM

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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
16/12/2009 01:08:00
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!
16/12/2009 01:10:00
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
16/12/2009 03:03:00
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
16/12/2009 08:00:00
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
16/12/2009 08:01:00
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!
16/12/2009 08:29:00
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??
16/12/2009 10:04:00
See, Di Santo's plain lucky for you lot. Play him and you wont lose. lol
16/12/2009 11:35:00
JT: nice comment - but he still don't score goals....cheers
16/12/2009 11:40:00
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.
16/12/2009 12:26:00
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