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VK Vetra 0 - Blackburn Rovers 2

Vetra Stadium

Sunday 22 July 2007. 17:00 BMT

Attendance: 5,200

VK Vetra 0.v.2 Rovers

It`s back! Football has returned, well for us Rovers fans anyway. Our first competitive game of what we hope will be a long and successful campaign was successfully dispatched with maximum results ascertained.

On a still afternoon in glorious Lithuania, famous for their eccentric and colourful Eurovision entrants and less for their football, Rovers laboured through a game that resembled a friendly.

Manager Mark Hughes went for a strong starting line up with Tugay partnering the a seemingly recovered Robbie Savage in midfield and Jason Roberts alongside Benni McCarthy.

The setting was hardly befitting of Champions League football but McCarthy nevertheless seemed happy to be once again wearing the blue and white of Rovers, albeit in a slightly different style to last season`s.

Rovers kicked off and but for a succession of early corners rarely threatened the Lithuanian`s goal. They in fact had the better of the openings early on, but their profligacy was as welcome as was the breeze sifting through the stadium.

Towering Chris Samba went close with a header but Rovers eventually opened the scoring following another poor set-piece.

Both Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Bentley were struggling to find their rhythm from dead-ball situations and when Gamst whipped a ball in from the right it seemed harmless enough.

However, a rejuvenated Andre Ooijer controlled the ball and fed it back to an unmarked Gamst near the by-line and just inside the penalty area. His deft chip across goal found an unmarked McCarthy who swept the ball home with a smart volley from ten yards out.

This strike enabled Rovers to relax a little and an exhibition of crisp one touch passing ensued lacking only in a final product.

Roberts was making a nuisance of himself and looked sharp; well everything but his finishing did.

Not long after Rovers goal Vetra engineered a fine opening for the elusive and sprightly Bozinovski but with Friedel the only thing in his way of an equalising goal he scuffed his shot wide.

The rest of the half was played out with little ceremony.
Hughes would have been content with the first half showing but obviously felt a need to add extra cover by replacing Tugay, who looked his age for once with last season`s most improved player Aaron Mokoena.

Rovers played out the early exchanges of the second half with a controlled professionalism of a side superior in ability. Alas this meant very few chances were created. Roberts kept trying but every time he pulled the trigger a block diverted his effort.

Matt Derbyshire and new boy Maceo Rigters were introduced on 65 minutes replacing a weary David Bentley and McCarthy. And it was young Matt, prince of the realm of Ewood, who settled matters on 80 minutes. He received the ball 25 yards out and in a central position and with an air of nonchalance that oozed confidence he drilled a crisp drive fizzing past the defence and into the back of the net via the hand of the home side`s 'keeper.

A late rally from Vetra followed but they were unable to muster anything of great concern for Friedel, Nelsen and Rovers!

A cracking workout for the boys who did look a little off the pace at times but job one is complete meaning Hughes might be able to field an alternative line-up in a week`s time.

Star Player


The big guy at the back looked wonderfully accomplished on the ball. Fully aware of his surroundings and his timing was terrific.

Player Ratings

Friedel 7

An easy day at the office. Could afford to take in some scenery.

Ooijer 7

Returned with an accomplished and solid display.

Warnock 6

A typical display from the lad.

Nelsen 8

Commanded like the Admiral he is.

Samba 9

Imposing and assured. He is going to help catapult Rovers onto the next level.

Bentley 6

A sound first half display. All the jinking is there and the vision has escaped him.

Gamst 7

Looked a more threatening and menacing option than he did during large parts of last season.

Tugay 5

Age is catching up with the jedi of midfield mastery.

Savage 7

Everywhere as normal. The break doesn't look like it has changed him!

McCarthy 7

Looked hungry and took his goal exceptionally well.

Roberts 7

Worked hard but he needs to put the same effort into his finishing.

Mokoena 6

Did a professional cleaning job.

Derbyshire 7

A great finish and a sprightly performance.

Rigters 5

Little chance to impress. Once he has settled he will be a great asset.

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The Journalist

Writer: Roversman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday July 22 2007

Time: 7:48PM

Your Comments

A decent enough work out. You could tell the lad were still feeling their way back to match fitness but this is the perfect result as it will allow Hughes to tinker if he deems it necessary! Great to have football back.
They looked liek a team that had only played two games but the extra class showed in the end.
Matt Derbyshire does it again!!
Yeah pretty poor game, Roberts was best player for me with the effort he put in. Will be nice run out at Ewood now hopefully will get to see some others in the starting line-up like Rigters. But a good win!!
What did I say in a post elsewhere, it wouldn't be easy but I thought we'd win 2-0, maybe 3-1, either way we'd take a two goal lead back to Ewood Park!
Not pretty, but certainly effective, a win is a win and it takes us a step closer to the really UEFA Cup and is another game towards full match sharpness.
Hughes Da Man
Samba needs to waken up,if he is caught out against these guys,he has no chance against rooney etc.And that has nothing to do with fitness.
It was an average game which we dominated in patches. I stayed up and watched it on sopcast, didnt finish til 4am lol, cheers to bombom and heldacite for informing me about you know what lol
boddingtonblue - You're not a very happy bunny at the best of times are you dude :) LOL.
Samba will be fine, and is superb, but from what I could make out he had an OK game anyway?!?!
Hughes Da Man
Gutted as Setanta in my region was scrambled heavily! Must be the weather! Gladd to hear the result went our way though and hopefully, a positive performance next week will see us through! Anyone know anything about tickets next Saturday??
Any chance that someone could undertake to put up a link for TV Ants for games like that which we wont see on the normal channels? Not that I endorse that kind of thing....but it's got to be better than waiting for updates on the BBC site.
Samba 9? Think you maybe got the number upside down. Thought he was a little sloppy and although showing his no nonsense style, maybe just put it off for throw-ins a few too many times under little pressure when he could have cleared or passed back with ease. Also thought Ooijer looked a little lost most of the time, his mis-placed backpass was a shocker. However, it WAS a pre-season game and you can't expect a class performance in what was in reality a training match.
You make some valid points Bents. However, I felt Samba lookd comfortable on the ball and generally only put the ball out when being chased down and with few options on. A lot like God he gets his body in the way and makes some vital challenges.
Just slightly concerned that out defence still switches off more than a couple of years ago when it was utterly solid... probably why we finished 10th not 6th?
im_a_blackburn_rover - All I know is dude I'll be working anyway, so I'm screwed!!!
theirishrover - Dude, I have sent you a PM that might help you, so check it out (you find it in the forum).
Hughes Da Man
That is a couple of people saying Samba didn't play that well, I was unable to watch it anywhere, so I can't really comment, but everyone has their off days don't they. Like you say Bents4eng it was basically a training match from what I heared anyway.
Hughes Da Man
I watched it, samba had an average game. Roberts played well, the only proble with him is that he cant get into a shooting position and tries to blast it from everywhere. My main concern is mccarthy. He only touched the ball once, the goal. Whilst that sounds good, he didnt get involved at all and didnt look itreste
I'll take effective over pretty every day of the week HDM!!!!
Well you know what I have to say to that MikeyGamst?
Hughes Da Man

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