Rovers 4.v.1 Charlton
28th April 2007. k/o 15:00
Rovers pushed Charlton closer to The Championship and kept themselves in with a shout of European qualification with a sterling performance at Ewood Park.
Mark Hughes kept faith with the same starting eleven for the fourth consecutive game. In the blistering sun Rovers got proceedings under way and established an early control over their opponents.
A number of nearly opportunities summed up the opening quarter of an hour as Rovers leisurely went about business. Morten Gamst Pedersen headed over when he should have perhaps done better before a strong turn and drive from Jason Roberts forced Scott Carson to parry on the half hour mark.
Rovers kept probing but never appeared to leave second gear. An elaborate over-head kick from Benni McCarthy epitomised the confidence in the Rovers camp at the moment, however, it was off target, perhaps summing up Rovers finishing in recent games.
Charlton were doing little to threaten the home defence however, they were the first side to have the ball in the back of the net. Darren Bent tapped a ball home but Darren Ambrose was adjudged to be offside. That was a sparse attack from the visitors who looked out of place on the front-foot.
The half ended with the score line untroubled largely because Rovers were still only in second gear and a tepid Charlton side looked too nervous to expose their defensive ranks.
The second half followed a similar pattern to that of the first period but exploded into life following the introduction of a footballing circus on the hour.
Jason Roberts continued his recent upturn in form with the opening goal but it lacked quality. He showed tremendous strength, a trademark of his game, to hold off Talal El Karkouri after receiving the ball from a quickly taken free-kick. He turned and fired a speculative shot towards goal that should have been comfortably dealt with by Scott Carson. However, the young 'keeper allowed the ball to squirm under his body and crawl over the line.
Rovers finally had the initiative and were helped further in their quest for the victory when Ben Thatcher savagely scythed down David Bentley twice to earn himself two yellow cards.
However, Darren Bent threw a spanner into the works when he equalised for Charlton after 71 minutes after some more comical defending.
Stephen Warnock somehow managed to turn a header onto his own crossbar, beating Brad Friedel in the process allowing a simple chance for Bent. It was the kind of defending that may end up on a trashy football nightmares video.
However, the circus wasn`t finished as some more quality bad defending dissected the game.
Gamst, who was having a good game, cut in from the left and drilled the ball across goal and the unfortunate Hermann Hreidarsson got himself into a complete mess with the ball eventually pinging off his leg and into his own net.
This was the obvious turning point as Charlton gave up and two more goals followed. Another from Jason Roberts was added to by Matt Derbyshire who had come on to replace Benni McCarthy.
The crowd of just fewer than 25,000 witnessed an excellent performance from Rovers and enjoyed the unexpected comedy of defending on show. It was a solid display led impressively once more by JR who his doing his best to convince the doubters amongst us that he has plenty to offer this side.
The only black mark is hanging over David Dunn who was forced off through injury after 45 minutes.
He shot down Charlton with an excellent display again.