What?.. Blackburn won? Get In!!!!
Stop The Press!!!! Goals from Blackburn Rovers Center Halves, Chris Samba and Ryan Nelsen ensured Blackburn creep away from the relegation zone, ending a drought extending to the victory against Portsmouth in November.
With the fans starting to call for Allardyce`s neck, the big man was definitely under pressure, however, returned to his seat up in the stands. With the Carling Cup Semi in the back of his mind, Sam sent out a 4-4-2 formation, pleasing the faithful. Martin Olsson was handed a rare start, whilst Steven Reid and Benni McCarthy also featured.
Paul Robinson, Gael Givet, Chris Samba, Ryan Nelsen, Pascal Chimbonda, Martin Olsson, Steven Reid, Steven Nzonzi, Brett Emerton, Nikola Kalinic, Benedict McCarthy.
The fixture was off to a slow start. Both teams taking the wide passage towards goal, trying to incorporate the pace of Duff and Olsson, hitting the byline as much as possible. In this fashion, it was Fulham who almost drew first blood. Stephen Kelly found plenty of space down the right flank, clipping in a cross for the Fulham front men. Dempsey out positioned Samba, however his header went straight into the arms of Paul Robinson. Rovers countered with a Martin Olsson cross, Kalinic tangled with Hangeland, and despite shouts for a penalty, referee Mike Jones blew the whistle in favour of the defence.
Fulham looked the more dangerous, however it was the home side opening the scoring. After collecting the ball on the volley, Benni McCarthy turned his man, striking a vicious half volley at Schwarzers goal. The veteran goal keeper was up to the task, parrying the shot for a corner. Benni took the corner, slightly mis-timed, however, with the swerve and pace of the cross, it caused havoc for the Fulham defence. Duff could only poke it away from the goal, with a reflex flick by Samba burying the ball into the roof of the net. 1-0 Blackburn
After the goal, Fulham started to press further up the pitch. An acrobatic effort from Clint Dempsey left Robinson stranded, the ball fortunately striking the wood work and bouncing back into play. Dempsey should of scored minutes later. A superb through ball found the American back to goal. Dempsey turned Givet inside out, and with all the time in the world, his tame curled shot went straight to Robinson. Steven Reid decided to make a few really rash challenges, earning a few warnings then a yellow card from Mr Jones.
Half Time- Blackburn 1-0.
The second half started as slow as the first. Olsson decided to change the tempo, with a darting run down the left flank halted by a rash challenge in the 54th minute. Benni McCarthy put his hand up for the free kick, whipping a delightful cross into the 6 yard box. Ryan Nelsen escaped his marker, flicking the ball over Mark Schwarzer and into the back of the net. 2-0 Rovers, a dream start to the half.
After the second goal, the game really fizzed out. Fulham pushed men forward, but injuries to key players meant the creative ability was missing. Zolton Gera came closest to pulling a goal back, though once again, Paul Robinson had an easy save to make. Rovers made 3 changes within 20 minutes, Hoillet on for Givet, Salgado on for Emerton and Andrews on for Reid, who received a nice ovation from the Ewood Faithful. The game continued to fizz, with some trickery from Benni McCarthy and good link up play with his strike partner, Kalinic, being the highlight. After setting up 2 goals, Benni almost came close to scoring one, his long range free kick flying just over the goal.
2-0 it Ended, the drought ending as well. Blackburn climb up to 12th spot, but have played an extra game over surrounding teams.
Who would of ever said Olsson would be in this box. A great performance from the young Swede, hopefully Gamst was watching and took a few pointers down. 1) Take on my man. 2) Cross the ball into the 6 yard box. 3) Make yourself felt across the pitch. Well in son!
Paul Robinson 7
Gael Givet 6
Chris Samba 6
Ryan Nelsen 7
Pascal CHimbonda 5.5
Martin Olsson 8
Steven Nzonzi 6
Steven Reid 5.5
Brett Emerton 5
Benni McCarthy 7.5
Nikola Kalinic 6.5
However, if we return to a 4-5-1, I will come hunting for Sam again......Touche?