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Posted Sat 10 Nov 12 at 17:00 PM

Rovers 1-1 Birmingham City

Henning Berg's first home game in charge for Rovers ended with a 1-1 draw against Birmingham.

Berg's Ewood homecoming had started brightly, Ruben Rochina deservedly putting the home side in front on 13 minutes from the penalty spot after Mauro Formica had been felled.

But the visitors quickly levelled through Marlon King, the well-travelled striker reacting well after Nikola Zigic's shot had hit the post.

The second half saw Rovers have the better of the chances but they couldn't turn them into goals.

Jordan Rhodes saw a header cleared off the line, whilst a sublime chip from Mauro Formica was saved by Jack Butland's fingertips.

Substitute Fabio Nunes whistled an effort over the top but Rovers couldn't claim a second goal their play deserved.

The signs of improvement were there once again for all to see, that elusive first win for Berg surely can't be far away.


For his first game in charge at Ewood, Henning Berg kept faith with the same starting eleven as the midweek match against Huddersfield Town.

Ruben Rochina had been a doubt after suffering cramp in the 2-2 draw on Tuesday, but recovered to take his place alongside Jordan Rhodes up front.

There was a boost to the squad as Nuno Gomes, Jason Lowe and Fabio Nunes all returned from injury to take their places amongst the substitutes bench.

Berg was given a rousing reception on his return to Ewood Park and the players responded with a lively opening quarter hour.

The home side threatened early when Danny Murphy's clever pass set Jordan Rhodes away but Birmingham captain Steven Caldwell was quickly across to thwart the attacker with a timely and important tackle.

Then as Martin Olsson fed his brother down the left the ball was centred for Ruben Rochina but he fired wide.

Rovers continued to pose the attacking threat and it came as no surprise when they eventually took a 13th minute lead.

Again Murphy was the architect as his ball over the Birmingham back line found Mauro Formica racing into the area and as he cut the ball back the Argentine was brought down by defender David Murphy for a straight forward penalty decision.

Danny Murphy took the honours from 12 yards in midweek but it was Spaniard Ruben Rochina this time with the ball in his hands, he made no mistake as he stroked the ball into the corner with Jack Butland diving in the opposite direction.

But despite that bright start Rovers had little time to build on it as the visitors responded just four minutes later.

As cross from the right by Chris Burke deflected off defender Scott Dann, Nikola Zigic stuck out a leg, the ball bounced off the post to where Marlon King had the simple task of poking the ball home.

That gaol then prompted a spell of pressure from Lee Clark's side. Ravel Morrison with a shot straight at Paul Robinson before Marlon King had the Rovers goalkeeper at full stretch with a shot that flew narrowly over the bar.

On the half hour Danny Murphy went close to restoring Rovers' lead, picking up the ball 25 yards out the Rovers captain let fly with the ball whistling just wide.

Both sides would then see the ball in the back of the net within the space of four minutes once more. Rhodes for Rovers, Zigic for Birmingham, on both occasions they were chalked out for offside.

The last chance of the first half was a decent one for Rovers as Ruben Rochina played Markus Olsson in but the midfield fired past Butland but wide of the far post.


The second half was slower to get going but when it did it was Rovers looking to get the second goal.

On 55 minutes Rovers came close to going back in front when Martin Olsson fired the ball over from the left, Jordan Rhodes leapt high at the back post to head across goal but Birmingham defender Paul Robinson retreated to head off the line.

Rhodes followed that up by striking the side-netting after Mauro Formica had played him in before a rare Birmingham attack saw David Murphy cut inside to shoot but Robinson saved well.

As the Rovers fans upped the volume the players responded but they just couldn't get that elusive goal.

Substitutes Simon Vukcevic and Fabio Nunes were introduced and they certainly made an impact, a great turn and touch from the Montenegrin saw him find Formica, but his delicate chip was clawed away by Jack Butland.

The a fine counter-attack from Vukcevic saw him find Fabio Nunes but he fizzed his shot narrowly over the bar.

A Vukcevic centre was inches away from an outstretched Scott Dann as Rovers continued to look for a winner but try as they might it wouldn't come.

It was a good performance and one that was well received by a noisy home support, the only thing lacking on the day was the three points.

Hopefully they will come next weekend when we travel to Peterborough.

ROVERS: Robinson, Henley, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson, Formica, Etuhu, Murphy (c) (sub Lowe 85 mins), Markus Olsson (sub Fabio Nunes 72 mins), Rochina (sub Vukcevic 61 mins), Rhodes.

Subs not used: Kean (GK), Orr, Pedersen Nuno Gomes.

Goals: Rochina (pen) 13 mins.

Booked: None.

BIRMINGHAM: Butland, Murphy, Caldwell (c), Burke (sub Ambrose 90 mins), Mullins, King, Morrison, Elliott, Zigic (sub Redmond 76 mins), Spector, Robinson.

Subs not used: Doyle (GK), Ibanez, Lovenkrands, Hancox, Diop.

Goals: King 17 mins. 

Booked: Morrison, Spector.

Attendance: 14,919.

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