Late Equaliser Keeps Rovers Alive....
A Jeckyll and Hyde performance from Blackburn Rovers saw the men in blue and white halves pinch a late but deserved equaliser against a troubled Villa outfit, courtesy of Mr Blue and White, David Dunn.
Steve Kean reverted to his traditional 2 holding midfielder formation, with Nzonzi back in the starting line up, Formica filling inbehind Yakubu
Orr, Hanley, Dann, Martin Olsson
Gamst, Formica, Hoillet
Throughout the early stages, you could of sworn it was Aston Villa who were fighting for their Premier League future, the Villans in total control as they moved the ball well, restricting Rovers to minimal possession. A poor clearance saw the ball fall to Nzogbia, who in turn cut the ball into the path of ALbrighton, the winger flashing over from 12 yards.
Villa continued the pressure, attacking the flanks in an attempt to catch out Orr and Olsson. Their breakthrough came 25 minutes in after a sloppy piece of work by Morten Gamst Pedersen. Carlos Cuellar managed to dance around MGP, running 30 odd yards before finding the unmarked Nzogbia sitting in the box, 1 touch before he buried into the top of the net. 1-0 Villa
Rovers failed to maintain any sort of pressure in the first half, with Grant Hanley making his presence felt in defence whilst Paul Robinson up to his reflex best, denying Nzogbia and Albrighton as the first half came to a close.
Rovers made two changes at the break, David Dunn and Marcus Olsson replacing Formica and Petrovic. The substitutes almost made an immediate impact, Dunn releasing Olsson down the left flank, his pin point cross just evading the outstretched Yakubu.
Rovers continued to pressure early in the half, moving the ball well whilst Martin Olsson and Bradley Orr started to push higher up the pitch. Rovers almost equalised through traditional means, a Robinson free kick sent up field for Nzonzi to flick on, Dann heading the rebound just over the bar from 6 yards.
Morten Gamst Pedersen tried his luck from distance, volleying a half cleared effort, but Shay Given was up to the task, parrying it wide. It wasn't all Rovers though as when Villa attacked, they created opportunities. Robinson stood tall to deny Nzogbia and Agbonlahor whilst Steve Ireland's drive from 25 yards was well parried by the former England Number 1.
Rovers persisted though and finally claimed their rewards with 5 minutes left on the clock. Bradley Orr had been screaming for the ball all game, and when it finally came via a Nzonzi switch of play, Orr made the most of it, a cross to the far post where David Dunn lept highest, burying it into the corner and giving Rovers one last chance to stay up.
Both teams pushed on in an attempt to grab a late winner, but a 1-1 draw probably was the fair result
Whilst he has not kept a clean sheet all year, he definately earned his pay packet this week. A string of delightful saves kept Rovers in the game when they should not have been
Paul Robinson 9
Bradley Orr 7
Grant Hanley 8
Scott Dann 5
Martin Olsson 6
Radosav Petrovic 4
Steve Nzonzi 7
Morten Gamst Pedersen 3
Junior Hoilett 5
Mauro Formica 4
David Dunn 8
Marcus Olsson 7