Rovers Cash In at Villa
The final game of the season brought a financial windfall for Blackburn Rovers, as well as the Sasman as Richard Dunne scored an own goal to hand Blackburn a 1-0 Away Victory at Villa Park
After promising to give a youth player the opportunity to impress, Sam Allardyce shocked us all by throwing not one, but two debutants into the starting line up. Amine Linganzi started in central midfield whilst youth starlet Grant Hanley took over from his partner in crime Phil Jones in central defence. Junior Hoillet was given a starting role, just in behind Jason Roberts.
Both teams were playing for positional rights, with Villa able to claim 5th spot with a victory, whilst Blackburn, following a strong end to the season with only 1 loss in 8 games, could seal 10th spot with a victory.
The home side almost got of to a bright start. John Carew could of put the home team ahead after 5 minutes. A poor back pass from Gael Givet sent the big man through, however, he was outmuscled by an even bigger man, Chris Samba forcing a corner. Robinson then saved the incoming header.
It was a game of ping pong early on, with both teams testing the goal keepers from distance. King Of Lancashire, David Dunn, tried his luck from distance, though former Blackburn keeper, Brad Friedel was up to the task, parrying his attempt. Carew then tried his luck, with Robinson matching his counter, tipping it wide.
Robinson was on his toes again. This time, John Carew delivered a neat ball for James Milner, who couldnt get his foot around the ball in time as Robinson was on his feet to smother the attempt.
Hanley almost made his debut one of dreams. The young lad rose highest of a David Dunn corner, though his header flew over the goal. However, he was impressing in defence, marking the physical Carew, whilst also keeping up with the pacy Agbonlahor.
As the half closed, Robinson was forced into action on several occasions. Attempts from Collins, Carew and Milner all ended up with the same result, a fierce Paul Robinson making saves left right and centre, surely pressing a claim for the England Number One Spot....
Half Time 0-0
Sam Allardyce made an attacking substitution at the break, replacing Linganzi with Gamst Pedersen whilst pushing Hoillet into a strikers position alongside Roberts.
The change almost had immediate impact. Gamst Pedersen stepped up to take a free kick 25 yards out. His powerful effort was well saved by Brad Friedel, who was determined not to be beaten by his former club.
David Dunn then had strong shouts for a penalty waved down. Keith 'Ronaldinho' Andrews split the Villa defence, finding Dunn on the run. Collins appeared to bring down the King of Lancashire, however, Referee Bennett handed Dunn a yellow for simulation, a disgraceful call. Jones then came on for Givet.
Both teams once again exchanged long shots, Keith Andrews sweetly hit drive was well saved by Friedel, whilst Petrov then tried his luck, only managing the side netting. It looked like a goal just would not come, with both keepers standing firm.
A goal did come though, as Richard Dunne found his own net! Martin Olsson crossed from the flank, with Hoillet and Dunne challenging for the ball. Hoillet appeared to get the initial touch deflecting it into the back of the net, however replays show Dunne getting the vital touch, putting the away team ahead. 1-0 Blackburn.
Brett Emerton was brought on to shut the game out, replacing Jason Roberts. Robinson was forced into 1 more save, ensuring Blackburn walked away with 3 points, 2.25 Million pounds spending money, and yours truly, hitting the final leg of his multi (Draw/Blackburn), earning a neat $437 dollars :D.
The old Cliche of it being worrying when your keeper is Man of the Match can go out the window. Robinson pulled save after save against world class players, leaving Rovers to nick all 3 points to finish of the season with a double against Aston Villa
10th Spot it is!