Rovers 1.v.2 West Ham
Saturday 17th March 2007, 17:15
Our bottom three curse continued as West Ham United recovered from a goal down from Christopher Samba, his first for the club to secure a highly controversial 2-1 win thanks to a Carlos Tevez penalty followed shortly after by a Bobby Zamora goal that only once again pushes for claims that goal line technology is needed!
Early in the second half a whipped corner found Samba completely unmarked, the Hammered defence seemed to be marking their own players and "the Wall" powered home from close range to give Rovers the lead. After looking comfortable a break away from the Hammered resulted in Carlos Tevez being upended by Brett Emerton for a penalty. The Argentine stepped up himself to send Brad Friedel the wrong way to level the scores. Five minutes later and a moment of pure controversy decided the game and handed the Hammered a vital three points. After Tugay had cleared Lee Bowyer's back heel off the line Bobby Zamora followed up only to be denied by his own man Tevez on the goal line, somehow the officials felt the ball had crossed the line and awarded the goal.
The ever ready to brandish cards Mr Howard Webb was up to his old tricks again as he issued nine cards including a red, this red going to David Bentley for a second booking deep into injury time for what he deemed a deliberate hand ball, was it really necessary? As it happens it appears the returning Lucas Neill pushed Bentley anyway so how much intent was there…
To be blatantly honest it wasn't the best of Rovers performances, but after looking more than comfortable against a struggling side we just couldn't recover from the shock of once again being on the receiving end of such a controversial decision which could when all is said and done costs us a European place. This is how important it is that some sort of goal line technology is introduced into the game. Until you are on the receiving end of things you don't appreciate how much it affects you!
At a rain sodden Ewood Park unsurprisingly with every touch Lucas Neill had the Ewood fans roundly boo him, but nevertheless it would be the Hammered that started the brightest with Carlos Tevez almost opening the scoring but Brad Friedel denied him.
It would be Rovers who had the ball in the net first though, or so we thought… David Dunn was adjudged to have impeded Robert Green, probably rightly so, so Matt Derbyshire`s effort into the empty net was ruled out.
A rush of blood to the head from Green saw him charge out to try and beat Benni McCarthy to the ball but Benni McGoalmachine easily got to the ball first, took it round the keeper and with him rushing to get back as Benni attempted to pick out a team mate the retreating Green cleared over his own bar for a Rovers corner.
The first of what would prove to be nine cards, eight yellow and one red issued by Howard Webb was given to David Bentley for a reckless challenge, the wet conditions even taken into account.
Stephen Warnock is proving some signing, and a trademark 60-70 yard gallop saw him leave Neill in his wake but he couldn't quite find the ball to an onrushing forward he would have like and the Hammered escaped.
The final, and best chance of the half came to Rovers and Morten Gamst Pedersen. The Norwegian really ought to have done better. Stevie Warnock's long ball somehow found its way through to Gamst off the wet surface and he went through one on one with Green, chipping it over the keeper as he narrowed the angle but the effort went wide.
Half Time - Rovers 0 the Hammered 0
The second half had barely begun when a good corner found an unmarked Christopher Samba who powered home his header in the 47th minutes as the Hammered defence just stood and watched. Rovers 1 the Hammered 0
At the other end of the field the Wall had to be alert to prevent Tevez at he looked to get in to bring the scores level.
As David Bentley again delivered expertly, this delivery was crying out for a touch but could only get one from the hand of Gamst as he threw himself to meet the cross. This went unspotted by the referee who awarded a corner.
Rovers Substitution: 64 mins Matt Derbyshire (Off) Jason Roberts (On)
As the Hammered broke from a quickly taken Tevez free kick Matthew Etherington found himself through on goal. Spotting the danger Friedel decided to rush out but was never getting there and Etherington lobbed over him but Stevie Warnock cleared to safety.
Brett Emerton seemed to be shepherding Tevez nicely but a rash challenge saw the Argentine go down and after a glance at his assistant Webb awarded the spot kick much to the annoyance of Rovers and a small kafuffle ensued with Emerton and Bobby Zamora picking up cautions along with Roberts. As the dust settled Neill picked up the ball seeming to want to take it but Tevez himself stepped up to send Friedel the wrong way in the 71st minute. Rovers 1 the Hammered 1.
The Hammered seemed to find a new confidence from their goal and after Zamora had easily turned Zurab Khizanishvili his cross found Tevez who's effort was blocked for a corner. The next passage of play eventually brought another corner after Friedel had turned over James Collins' header. This next corner resulted in the moment of pure controversy.
Just five-yards out Lee Bowyer attempted a back heel which was kept out by Tugay on the line, Friedel and the Rovers defence attempted to scramble the ball away to safety but Zamora got in a shot which was again cleared off the line, this time inadvertently by his team mate Tevez in the 75th minute. However, the referee's assistant awarded the goal and the Hammered has turned the game in a matter of minutes. Rovers 1 the Hammered 2.
Rovers Substitution: 79 mins Tugay (Off) Sergio Peter (On)
Rovers pushed for the equaliser but we seemed demoralised by the nature of both goals, the penalty was a penalty, maybe it was a trailing leg that fouled Tevez but it was a foul nonetheless but the players didn't think this so, the second "goal" knocked the stuffing out of us and despite Bentley's best efforts he was denied by Green.
With Rovers pushing forward we probably should have been caught out again but poor final passes and wasteful finishing spared us as the Hammered recorded their first away win of the season. To compound our misery Howard Webb did what he does best and issued a further card in virtually the final play of the match, this time handing Bentley a second yellow card for what he deemed a deliberate hand ball, which did look very much like a push from Neill into Bents in any case.
Full Time - Rovers 1 the Hammered 2
Rovers - C Samba 47
The Hammered - C Tevez 71 (penalty), B Zamora 75
Rovers - B Friedel, C Samba, S Warnock, Z Khizanishvili, M G Pedersen, D Bentley, D Dunn, B Emerton , Tugay (S Peter 79), M Derbyshire (J Roberts 64), B McCarthy. Subs - J Brown, P Gallagher, S Henchoz
the Hammered - R Green, J Collins, G McCartney, L Neill, A Ferdinand, M Etherington, L Bowyer, M Noble (H Mullins 45), N Reo-Coker, C Tevez (L Boa Morte 84), M Harewood (B Zamora 56). Subs - J Walker, J Spector
What I noticed
* What can you say, we looked comfortable for long periods of the match, the goals, or maybe the nature of them especially the second saw us stunned into defeat.
* Stevie Warnock, my Man of the Match, showed once again just why I'm so glad that he is a Rovers player now. With almost any other manager bar Steve McClaren in charge I'd expect him to be in the England squad. If he doesn't selected Gareth Barry let alone Warnock or anyone else with Ashley Cole out for one game and Wayne Bridge both, opting for Phil Neville and Jamie Carragher as cover instead he doesn't have a prayer…
* As much as I rate Derbs and JR I think today is another example that perhaps we do need that further striker during the summer so many people are calling for?
* Once again the need for goal line technology has been highlighted. Having this kind of incident once in a season is unfortunate but we've had this scenario at least twice, maybe three times this, be it goals for or against. Until it happens to your team you don't appreciate how much this technology would aid you. If this costs us a European place it will costs us MILLLIONS and potentially more, maybe even players!
B Friedel 6
C Samba 7
S Warnock 7
Z Khizanishvili 6
M G Pedersen 6
D Bentley 6
D Dunn 5
B Emerton 6
M Derbyshire 6
B McCarthy 5
S Peter 5
J Roberts 5