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Rovers 2.v.1 Sheff Utd

Blackburn Rovers
2 - 1
Sheffield United

Ewood Park

3rd February 2007. 15:00 k/o

Attendance: 20,917


David Dunn, the local hero, returned for Rovers to set up a dramatic late winner that earned his team all three points.

The game looked destined to be a draw as the mist descended and the seconds ticked away. However, a trademark surging run from Dunn through the middle of the park earned Rovers a free-kick just outside the area; a free-kick that Morten Gamst Pedersen dispatched with deadly accuracy.

Sheffield United had started as the better side, fashioning a number of presentable opportunities in the first 15 minutes. First Jonathon Stead, another old boy, stabbed wide from close range with just Friedel to beat and then Rob Hulse was unlucky to strike a post after latching onto Stead`s ball.

However, Nick Montgomery was the culprit for wasting the easiest chance. Smart work from United saw a ball pulled back across the area but Montgomery, who had timed his run to perfection, lashed at the ball and missed the target horribly.

Rovers looked nervy and Christopher Samba, making his full debut, wasn`t linking up with Ryan Nelsen. The home side were dealt a further blow in the 17th minute when Matt Derbyshire pulled up and was immediately replaced by the returning Jason Roberts.

Despite an edgy opening quarter of the game Rovers duly punished United for their profligacy by taking the lead in the 22nd minute.

Brett Emerton did well down the right but he was afforded too much time to pick out a target in the centre. He opted for Gamst and the Norwegian didn`t let him down towering over Rob Kozluk at the back post to nod home the opener.

In true United style though, Rovers weren`t allowed to settle and an equaliser was forthcoming. United pulled themselves level just three minutes after the opening goal when Stead stole in ahead of Samba to slot the ball beyond Friedel.

The frantic pace of the first half continued and Rovers should have re-gained the lead when Gamst was sent clear through on goal. A ball over the top by Nelsen sent Gamst on his way but he lacked the composure to claim his and Rovers` second.

A number of lunging tackles and fouls ensured United ended the half with four players booked to Rovers` one.

The second half began amidst a dense fog that was blanketing the ground yet both sides seemed comfortable playing football amongst the clouds. When the ball came down in sporadic intervals little was created in the way of quality. United were pressing high and condensing play.

A moment of genius by David Bentley, who was impressing in a dynamic and mature way, turned United`s defence inside out creating space for a stinging drive that was diverted wide by Paddy Kenny.

Both teams continued to scrap around for openings but little was being generated. However, the home fans were on their feet and chanting on the hour mark when Dunn made his appearance. Like a returning hero who is about to save the world, Dunn looked confident and ready to reward the rapturous reception that he received with a winning display.

He looked nervy and edgy on the pitch though, but all the trademark jinks, turns and reverse passes were there.

Rovers were hampered further in their pursuit of a winner when Stephen Warnock was sent off for his second yellow of the afternoon following a miss-timed tackle on the advancing Geary in the 88th minute.

As the fog consumed the pitch United looked to have suffocated Rovers sufficiently to claim a point. Then came Dunn`s moment of class.

He picked the ball up in the middle of the park and charged towards United`s area. After averting the attentions of three opposition players he played a smart one-two with Roberts, who had looked strong but clumsy on his return, but was pulled aside when he expected to receive the ball.

Mr Marriner awarded a free-kick and a final chance for Rovers to claim three points.

Gamst had stung the fingers of Kenny moments earlier with a free-kick from the right. This time it was on the left but in a more favourable position.

On the sounding of the whistle, Gamst wrapped his wand of a left foot around the ball to whip a viciously curling effort over the wall and into the top corner. Ewood erupted and Gamst was mobbed by his elated team-mates.

In truth it was a scrappy game and if it was going to be won then it was going to be via a set-piece as there was little in the way of quality football on a torn up pitch.


A gritty display but the type of game that proved very stiffling to Rovers' style of play.

Dunn looks like he hasn't forgotten a trick, even managed to mess up in a similar vein to THAT incident when with Birmingham. However, he does look short on match fitness.

Roberts looked to have an excellent understanding at the start of the season and there were glimpses of that again today.

Mokoena unfortunatley cannot compensate for Savage.

Star Player

David Bentley.

He put in a mature and exciting display. His jinks, quick feet and intelligent play worried United all afternoon.

Player Ratings

Friedel 6

In relative by-stander in all honesty.

Warnock 6

Was assured again and he looks like a bargain signing. Unlucky that his red card will now blot his progress and reputation at Ewood.

Emerton 7

Put in a gritty display. Reminiscent of his performances earlier in the season.

Samba 7

Looked nervy and clumsy early on but recovered to put in a die-hard display. Not the most elegant but does his defensive duties well.

Nelsen 6

A few slices but he is returning to his God inspiring form.

Bentley 8

Excellent. He looks like a mature midfield man now.

Gamst 8

A superb winner and he is now scoring for fun. Failed to influence the game though other than two goals of course.

Tugay 6

Without the cover of Sav he doesn't have enough time to play, plus United weren't the kind of opponents that would let him have time on the ball.

Mokoena 5

He isn't the answer to Sav's injury. Works very hard but he isn't intelligent enough.

McCarthy 5

The second game in a week that seemingly passed him by. He struggled to have much influence.

Derbyshire 4

Taken off early with an injury.

Roberts 5

Looks strong and competitive but has little composure and doesn't release the ball quick enough at times.

Dunn 6

A hero's reception and a surging run that brough about the winner. Looked like the Dunn of old, but needs to build up his match fitness.

Nonda 3

Don't think he touched the ball.

Date:Saturday February 3 2007
Time: 6:36PM

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Wasn't pretty but it was three points and great to see Dunny back. A top moment when he entered the fray. What a goal as well. Another one for Morten's scrapbook and an early contender for goal of the month!
03/02/2007 18:38:00
Does Bentley's 'mature display' include him rolling around on the floor to get Armstrong booked then jumping to his feet as soon as the referee had shown the card!!! You can certainly tell he's played for Arsenal!
03/02/2007 22:33:00
I didn't see that incident so I can't comment Blade.
Hughes Da Man
03/02/2007 23:50:00
What a great goal to win it, think you are right roversman, goal of the month candidate, the run from Dunny to earn the free kick was promising too wasn't it. Not our greatest day at the office but grinding out a result when we didn't play well makes a nice change!
Hughes Da Man
03/02/2007 23:53:00
Gutted for Darbs thou.............. esp with his U-21 Call up! England call ups never seem to go down well for Rovers players do they? Ripley? Matty? Dunny? anyone think of any others..........?
04/02/2007 01:16:00
HDM, you sound like Wenger LMAO. With regard to the match, Rovers were poor in the opening 20 minutes but managed to nick the opener. Sloppy defending allowed Steady in for the equiliser. "nd half was very bitty and scrappy but a beaut of a free kick nicked the points where maybe a draw wouldve been fairer on Sheff U. Neil Warnock was wrong however, it was a foul that let to that winning free kick! I agrre with you Roversman, as JR wants to show how strong he is every time he has the ball with his back to goal, pass and move, ya numpty! Dunny looked well short of match fitness, needs a run of games, even if its in the ressies. Finally, people are seeing in Mokoena what ive always said, he is not a bloody midfielder!!!! and the England curse with Rovers strikers "strikes" again! Poor Frodo of the Shire. Nice report again J mate!
04/02/2007 08:41:00
No Blade, his mature display involves absolutely skinning Armstrong about 5 times in 10 mins.
04/02/2007 10:15:00
When I wrote my comment I as going to say it seemed in true Arsene Wenger style "I didn't see it", but didn't want to anger our Arsenal friends. Honestly didn't see what happened though.
Hughes Da Man
04/02/2007 10:16:00
Dunny got pulled back 2 times in that surge, so yes, it was a foul, he was impeded by the Sheff U player
04/02/2007 11:20:00
How the foul on Dunny couldn't be viewed as such would be beyond me, as BomBom points out he was pulled back at least twice. Of topic but check out this link in the forum guys as it'll be to ALL of our benefit -
Hughes Da Man
04/02/2007 11:24:00
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