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Rovers can't break down Pompey

0 - 0

Fratton Park

Sat 3rd April

Attendance: 16,000 or so


In a game where it was obvious for all to see that there was little to play for in the grand scheme of things, Rovers were always the better side but looked toothless in front of goal.

A 0-0 draw was a handy point but not the result it should have been against a (practically)) already relegated yet spirited Portsmouth.

For the first game since the January transfer window, Blackburn looked like they needed Benni McCarthy on the pitch as a clutch of chances ranging from half a chance to glaring were spurned.

Both teams started off at a pace only a touch above pedestrian as the pressure was off but Rovers were the ones making more of an impression in the final third.

That is not to suggest Rovers did not have some nice interplay, some of the passing between between Dunn, Diouf, Pedersen, Olsson, The Zonz and Salgado was at times very effective and good to watch. But the lack of composure in front of goal was glaring.

Even Morten's crossing boots were largely evident and some delicious deliveries deserved better.

First up for the miscue (as always) was Jason Roberts. J-Rob watched a rebound from a headed clearance drop to him six yards out from goal and rather than smashing it home as most strikers would do, he went for grace and precision.

Sadly he is Jason Roberts and it clumsily rolled off the bottom of his foot and straight to Chris Samba, who on the turn smacked it but was stopped by Ashdown in the Pompey goal.

Next up for a go was David Dunn, after Olsson had shielded and attempted a back heel on goal, the ball fell for Dunn on his weaker foot... it was a crisp strike but it hit the outside of the post and bounced to safety.

Next up it was the Hampshire boys with their foot on the on the gas as Utaka bundled himself at pace into the area and the hand of Paul Robinson could only direct the ball up onto the head of hard working chav Jamie O'Hara, his header looked destined for the net but Gael Givet twisted his body round to head the ball of the line borderline miraculously.

The second half looked to be petering out but not before Rovers hit the post again, this time through massive set piece demolition man Chris Samba.

Samba was given the freedom of the South Coast by Richardo Rocha from a centrally positioned Pedersen free kick, his header was looping and it was strong, but the paint was again chipped as the ball cannoned off the frame of the goal and Diouf got the rebound blocked.

Goalless at half time and heaven knows how.

The second half followed much the same pattern as the first with Pompey looking good on the ball but Rovers somewhat overpowering them in midfield through N'Zonzi and Pedersen.

Olsson was becoming a big factor down the Pompey right and was in part responsible for Pompey being reduced to ten men. Olsson was gaining pace as the already booked Antony Van Den Borre left an arm dangling to blatantly handball to prevent Olsson a clear run at the area. It was a stupid thing to do and he was rightly sent off.

Rovers looked to press on as Pompey sat back with a man less on the pitch. Morten sent in the mother of all crosses that was begging to be dispatched but there was no-one gambling and it zipped out for a goal kick.

The forcefield was then threatened a different way as Salgado has a go on his lefy foot after a corner bounced free but that was blazed over. Even Roberts was given a good chance after a good cross by sub Junior Hoilett but his effort on the spin was straight at the grateful Ashdown in the Pomoey goal.

Big Sam tried to change things by bringing on Kalinic, the wasteful Grella and the aforementioned Hoilett but it was clear from the action unfolding that the ball was never destined to hit the net.

A clean sheet for Rovers away from home was a positive but one point really should have been three. The move to put two up front by Allardyce came too late for my money as that would have tested Pompey's numerical disadvantage a bit more.

Oh well, at least we are safe!

Star Player

Morten Gamst Pedersen.

Crafty on that inside left channel and apart from odd dodgy free kick was the sides most creative player from set pieces and when whipping in crosses.

Also put in an amazingly sterling shift next to Steven N'Zonzi in the defensive trenches.

Player Ratings

Robinson - 6

Had very little of note to do and could have had a small Venezuelan buffet in the second half.

Looked assured and looking thin.

Salgado - 7

Strong as an ox and an absolute nutter as usual.

Was shown up for pace by the impressive O'Hara but stuck to task well. Good link play with Diouf on the right going forward as well.

Samba - 7

Another towering sabotage job, this time on fellow lankster Kanu.

Was an aerial presencce at both ends of the pitch and unlucky not to score.

Jones - 8

Another cracking effort from the young man and is nearly undroppable now!

Phil has come a long way, his tackling was more or less inch perfect and never ducked out of a collision. Top stuff.

Diouf - 6

Standard Dioud fare, plenty of running and strong hold up play combined with some nifty footwork on the plus side.

On the negative side, plenty of indecision when a better pass would have led to a good opportunity and loads of moaning.

The Zonz - 7

The 'ticker' in midfield did what he does best.

Grafted like a trooper in the middle and sprayed the short balls around and kept base a happy place. Well done.

Pedersen - 8

See star player.

A good day at the office and with more clarity in the box would have seen at least two assists.

Olsson - 7

Another on who should have been rewarded with a goal but his overall display was encouraging.

He has got pace in his boots and can motor with the best of them but his inexperience in advanced positions stopped his performance from going from 'good' to 'very good'

Dunny - 7

At times looked like the man who could unlock doors with his toes but he drifted in and out of the game.

Will always cause a problem but needed more of the ball.

Givet - 6

Handled things well but is too keen just to lump it forward.

Great header off the line from O'Hara saved the day.

Roberts - 6

Hold up was adequate and was strong as an ox when on his own.

But his finishing and composure were fairly shocking and is not a lone striker.

Grella - 4

He crunches into tackles and is a world beater in the destroyer role.

The reason for the low mark is that he can't seem to help himself from going for that HOLLYWOOD ball.

He was on the pitch for half an hour and FIVE times I counted a great tackle, the chance to go for a good short pass and he passed it up to go long... it went out of play.

With a bit more common sense in his play he could be awesome.

Hoilett - 6

Not loads of time to impress but did get on the case with some strong runs.

Similar to Grella, with some sensible crosses he could be very good. One for the future.

Kalinic - 5

Very little time up top and looked clumsy at times.

With more time could have got into the game.

Writer:Mikey Delap
Date:Sunday April 4 2010
Time: 5:32PM

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sounds like we were very wasteful!!!
05/04/2010 02:00:00
An unimpressive performance. seemed that when the 4-5-1 was not working, there was no plan b... just throw on kalinic and hope he can do something. Against an undermanned, releagated, 10 man portsmouth, we should have done better and held our 10th position.
05/04/2010 05:21:00
Wasn't the end of the world but still annoying we couldnt get the win... You could see why we struggle away from home sometimes, it was encapsulated in this game!
Mikey Delap
05/04/2010 10:09:00
right.. someone tell me this... they go down to 10 men.. and take off a midfielder.. so they are 4-3-2.. why not take off a midfielder and put on a striker and go 4-4-2.. would have been so much better....
05/04/2010 13:26:00
big sam was off the pace... me and 74 were listening on the radio.. and we were saying changes which happend 15 minuites later.. get us in the dugout! :D
05/04/2010 13:27:00
TBF they went 7-1-1 in the last tens mins!!!
Mikey Delap
05/04/2010 13:53:00
on a positive note.. Grella managed to play over 20 mins without getting injured!!!!
05/04/2010 16:27:00
a game that will forever be remembered for that Chris Kamara moment!
05/04/2010 19:12:00
I havent seen that yet... may need to you tube that!!!
Mikey Delap
05/04/2010 21:01:00
haha was quality..
05/04/2010 22:26:00
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