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Blackburn 0 - West Ham 1

Ewood Park

9/12/07

Attendance: 20870

Rovers V West Ham

After a convincing win against Newcastle, Blackburn looked to continue their up and down season against an injury ravaged West Ham squad. The game kicked of with the much anticipated booing of Lucas Neill by the home crowd.

The first moment of any excitement came from a David Dunn strike 35 yards out, clipping the top of the crossbar. Tugay followed up with a bender, unfortunately bending away from goal. Apart from these two moments, the first half provided little form of entertainment.

Changes were made to both sides at the break, with Mokoena making way for Savage, and Dean Ashton making his return to the West Ham line up.

The game definitly increased in tempo, Tugay pulling the strings in midfield, and Benni McCarthy showing the Razzle Dazzle up front. However, West Ham took the lead following some sloppy defending on the Right Flank by Rovers. The ball was cut in, with Dean Ashton left to tap in from 6 Yards out.

Rovers were left chasing the game, with the best of chances falling to Roque Santa Cruz. Of a Pedersen cross, Santa Cruz glanced his header wide of the far post. Moments later, a delighful throughball by the Maestro left Roque with only the keeper to beat, however, his lack of confidence led to the ball landing in row Z.

Dunn made way for Reid whilst Roberts replaced a dissapointing Morten Gamst Pedersen. These changes had little affect on the outcome, with Dean Ashton almost claiming a double, however he blasted over the goal.

Tugay almost sealed a draw with a trademark volley, however Green made a superb save for the Hammers.

A dissapointing performance from the Rovers, who would of been looking to make ground on the top 6. Injuries to Ooijer and Samba will pose concern for Mark Hughes with the busy festive period ahead.

Star Player

Tugay and Benni McCarthy. Tugay pulled the strings in midfield. He had more time on the ball in the second half due to Robbie Savage cleaning up in midfield. Should have been on the score sheet with an assist however Roque could not finish. ALmost got a goal of his own.

Benni McCarthy provided a solid display, showing plenty of tricks and provided several important touches to the flankers. Would of been interesting had he recieved the chances instead of Cruz

Player Ratings


Brad Friedel 7

Kept Rovers alive with a string of saves

Brett Emerton 6

Sloppy defending at times however he did deliver some superb crosses

Christopher Samba 7

Solid display, did not stop, could of scored a goal. Picked up a knock but finished the game.

Andre Oijer 6

Good positioning throughout the game, however he went down with a hamstring injury

Stephen Warnock 5

Not one of Warnocks best performances. Wasted several opportunities to deliver decent crosses and was caught out in defence

David Dunn 6

Drifted in and out of the game, Sparky would have been looking for Dunn to lift his game in replacement of Bentley

Aaron Mokoena 5

Poor passing, poor tackling and caught out several times. Really needs to return to the form of late last year to cement a starting spot

Tugay 8

Pulled the strings in midfield, should of had a assist and almost scored another stunner. Give him another contract

Morten Gamst Pedersen 5

Taken of with 15 to go, however we didnt really notice much of him. Did provide a couple of decent crosses, had a chance to score, but when the confidence is down, nothing will go right

Roque Santa Cruz 4

Poor, poor display. Missed the best opportunities of the game, gave up possession too many times. Should of been substituted earlier

Benedict McCarthy 7,5

Worked hard, chased up and down the field, fed the wingers, kept the crowd entertained however he didnt get any sight on goal

Robbie Savage 7

Typical Savage performance, chased, chased and chased.

Steven Reid

Given 20 minutes, not much of an impact

Jason Roberts

Should of been brought on earlier for a lack lustre Santa Cruz

Sasmans Verdict

A dissapointing loss. We should of come out firing in the first half, was really hoping for Savage to start as he really did have an impact on the game in the second half.

Its time for a change up front, whilst we cant judge Santa on one performance, i think he might need a rest. Both our strikers have not scored in recent weeks, however Santa did have clear chances today.




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The Journalist

Writer: Sasman! Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday December 9 2007

Time: 6:36PM

Your Comments

Really was dissapointing. Santa needs to regain his touch and our forwards need to start shipping in the goals. Time for a change up front Sparky
sasman
yeah was thinkin bout this today when was the last time benni or santa cruz scored?
durks de rover
rubbish, my tactic's would of been better with J.R instead of Santa and Emo on the right with kish'villi, in the middle. Would have given us width instead of going inside everytime. pfft rubbish, get a grip blackburn
roverjoy
You lot were disappointing, we weren't all that brilliant yet managed to come away with three points. We were slightly lucky to win, but in more ways than one we deserved to win. Good luck for the rest of the season, see you in March!
HenryW15
Rubbish, Rovers were VERY poor today!!!
Well played West Ham, but Rovers were VERY POOR today, it must be something about being on television that makes us rubbish!
Hughes Da Man
Nice report though sasman, making your debut as a Match day reporter (filling in for Roversman this week.)
Hughes Da Man
Jesus- how can Sparky keep Mokoena playing???? Also, why not give Treacy/Peter a run instead of MGP?
IsraeliRover
what is it with you lot being beaten by teams in claret and blue at Ewood?
merlin
who knows merling, but once again, dissapointing, thanks HDM i did it right after the game, couldnt really sleep lol
sasman
I think everything has been said. Was very disappointing. However, it would not be a proper post with one complaint about the referee! Play-ons, is the topic of my gripe. There was a time in the first half were we coul dhave had a free kick, but the ref waved play-on. It was clear nothing was going to be fruitful, but as the laws of the game suggest, the game goes on. However, the same happened for West Ham, and a good 5-7 seconds later he calls it back for the free-kick. Can anyone shed any light on what the rule is? If someone says the referee discretion, woe betide you! :-)
Decimus Poole
A really bad performance. I was seethign especially as it was on my Birthday! I couldn't believe how unpassionate the performance was. It was truly horrible and on that evidence we can forget about challenging for Europe. I think Santa needs some rest - play Derbs for a bit!
roversman
Another thing I will add is that although he wasn't spectacular I do think Gamst's performance was an improvement on recent weeks.
roversman
Decimus Poole - It seems that the "advantage rule" is exactly what you said dude down to the referees discretion, which is WRONG!!! They either have to AGREE to have this rule (like they do in rugby) and use it ALL the time, or forget about it as it can't be used sometimes but not at others.
Hughes Da Man
roversman - I agree with your thought on MGP (however, he still needs to up his game more to keep playing), that things need to improve for a European place (which we should still get?!?!) and its time for my boy Derbs again, either him or JR, something needs to change in attack thats for sure.
Hughes Da Man
Woe betide you HDM, woe betide! :-) I don't think MGP would have played if Bents had been available. He has a chance to show what he is capable of, and failed, apart from one glimpse of his old self when he put the low cross in that just missed Savages outstretched toe. I think he miss hit the cross personally, but got away with it...He normally comes good after Christmas, which is soon approaching...so the best is yet to come...I think...I hope...
Decimus Poole
OK im gonna join in. its not often i slate my beloved Rovers but by god!!!! First off the positives (this wont take long!) Friedel was solid as usual and Benni seemed willing to do his share of spade work up front, pulling defenders about and the like.

Ok the negatives.....Emerton is NOT a right back, his positional sense is woeful. I know we sacrifice that somewhat as he is good going forward but ye gods, he was nowhere to be seen half the time and he was up against 2 very decent attackers in Boa Morte and Etherington. Hes gotten away with far too much in the last few weeks and needs a rest at the very least! Personally I wouldve had Ooijer there with Zurab partnering Samba. The Ooijer and Samba injuries are going to leave the cupboard threadbare, get ready to see Nolan on the bench soon! the worrying thing is 1) he hasnt been goven enough time to get experience in the first team and 2) the transfer window is coming up yet there has been no news whatsoever regarding the proposed takeover and Im guessing that there aint much in the kitty to go and buy a decent centre half. Stevie Wee had a terrible game defensively and im wondering if he is now needing a rest and some decent competition at that spot to keep him on his toes! not going to be too harsh on him though as i cannot recall him having a game like this before so... Dunny was very quiet on the right, no surprise really as he is a CENTRE MIDFIELDER (Sparky take note) yes he can fill in on the flanks but note that its for a short time, not constantly. Tugay, bless him, love him to bits but hes not fit enough or maybe even good enough to start and play 90 minutes any longer. With Sav and Reid on the bench, he shouldve been subbed at half time as he wasnt getting the time or space he requires. MGP....whilst, as RM said, it was an improvement over recent weeks, it was still far too short of what he can produce and i cannot understand why his form has bottomed out. Roque looks like a man devoid of confidence at the moment and needs a fluky goal off his arse to get it back. the sitter at the end, when he'd done the hard work and then lost composure said it all for me really!. Nice to see Reid back but he contributed ZERO when he came on.

Finally, i think Sparky needs to seriously think about his next team selection carefully as, on this showing, it highlighted how dependant we have become on Bents an that worries me. Try Dunn in the middle with Sav, let mokoena rest before the African nations (please!) Get Sergio or Treacy on the left, consider putting Olsson and Nolan on the bench for some experience, should the opportunity present itself. I am however, wondering whether this is the start of the downturn in form due to the Inter two bob cup competition that I had feared. Its about 2-3 months earlier than i expected but. Lets be fair though Fellas, no disrespect to WHU or Villa but considering the way we have played against the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool, they are teams that we should be aiming to beat if we are serious about europe this term.
BomBom
Sasman - great review mate, spot on by all accounts. BomBom - I have to agree with you also. Savage outshined Mokoena so obviously that I cannot understand how the South African is first pick at the mo. Also, we completely lost our width, which has been key for rovers this year, with Dunny always pulled towards the middle (see BomBom's account for why - he is a CENTRAL midfielder) and Gamst still off his game. Roque had a duff game and I can't see why big JR wasn't included earlier. To be honest, with Bents out you have a natural replacement with Emerton, and then stick a defender at right back (the Monk must be wondering what he has to do to get a look in). It really was a dire game from Rovers. Hammered by the Hammered at Ewood again.
martinr
BomBom - You should have produced that rant as an article rather than just a comment lol!
It was however spot on, I couldn't agree more with virtually everything you said.
Hughes Da Man
Cheers mate, like i said, game kicked of at 3am here so i was writing it at 5 lol, wow hot topics all over the place here
sasman
Its been a while since my last rant but to be fair, Rovers havent given me much to gripe about, thats how good we have been.
BomBom
yea u do have a point, last few games have been really sloppy, gotta turn it around lads
sasman
I agree with BB on some matters. However, is this the time of season to be blooding inexperienced players? The festive period is always tricky, and points are vital considering there are 12 up for grabs within the space of a week/10 days. It is vital we play our strongest team at all possible times. Olsson, Nolan, Tracey, Peter would not feature in my strongest team. The time to blood young players is when we have nothing to play for and cup competitions where defeats, albeit still hurt, don't matter.
Decimus Poole
In that case they would never get a chance then, as we ALWAYS have something to play for :)
Hughes Da Man
You are right HDM, unless we are winning 6-0 leading into the second leg of a cup game, every game means something
sasman
Poor first half performance from us - West Ham were happy to pack their box and break up our play as much as possible and try and get us on the break - which they did well. However, this display shows how much we missed Bentley and his crosses. We had no urgency until Savage came on and chased the ball - I think Roque or Benni should have been replaced by Roberts in the starting line up, not subbed on and played out of position. Ooijer played well as did Samba against a side that were missing some good players... I was disappointed that Carlton Cole was not sent off for two late, clumsy and dirty challenges - which I'm sure Savage would have seen red for. (really annoyed that I lost a bet with a Hammer fan - never going to hear the end of it!)
FreidelNo.1
 

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