Writer: Joe Ainscough
Date:Sunday January 9 2011
A game of two halves at Ewood today.
Rovers fielded a strong starting line up, making only 3 changes from the team that outclassed and easily disposed of Liverpool midweek. Chris Samba, David Dunn and Martin Olsson made way for Grant Hanley, debutant Josh Lowe and EH Diouf.
Rovers started brightly, with MB Diouf going through on goal twice but both times firing wide of the mark. Exiting stuff!! Diouf went close again only to be denied at close range by a brilliant save from Paddy Kenny in goal for QPR. This was shortly followed by another fantastic stop after Gael Givet failed to score with a header from less than 5 yards. Rovers were no doubt on top, but nothing was going in.
Shortly after, something occurred that nobody likes to see. Gael Givet and Jamie Mackie were both stretchered off after a 50/50 challenge, which has left Mackie with a double leg break. I`d like to wish Mackie a speedy recovery! Our French bearded fellow seems to be better than first feared and should be in contention for the Chelsea game next week.
The first half finished with a fantastic save from Mark Bunn as a 40-yard free kick was deflected towards the top corner with Mark at full stretch to tip it onto the bar.
The second half was a different story. Rovers came out with no desire to attack… despite a half time substitution which saw Jason "miss a sitter" Roberts replacing Benjani "hero against Liverpool" Mwaruwari. (Yes that is his last name!)
The flair had gone, and with width had gone, the only shining light was little Junior Hoilett. The youngster was a constant thorn in the side of QPR and their defence simply failed to cope with his quick bursts of pace and agile trickery. Very few chances were created in the second half… the only thing which made the crowd clap was the urge to keep their hands warm in the bitter wind.
It was 16 minutes from the final whilst before the fans had anything to cheer about, when man of the match Junior Hoilett stuck the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area to give Rovers a valuable win and a place in the FA Cup 4th Round.
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Date:Sunday January 9 2011
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