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Match Report


Posted Sat 07 Nov 09 at 17:45 PM

Report: Rovers 3 Portsmouth 1

A second half recover saw Rovers make it five home wins on the trot after coming from behind once again to claim all three points against Portsmouth.

After a disappointing first half in which Jamie O'Hara's 16th minute strike was the only effort on target from either side, Rovers rallied to be victorious at Ewood Park once again.

It was the half time introduction of Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts that made the difference coming on for Morten Gamst Pedersen and El-Hadji Diouf.

Jason Roberts turned well to fire Rovers level on 53 minutes before a rare header from Ryan Nelsen completed the comeback twenty minutes later.

The icing on the cake came four minutes from time when McCarthy swept the ball in to Jason Roberts who beat David James from close range.

The win sees Rovers move up the table and into the international break, for once on the back of a win.

Watch the match highlights on Rovers Player

Sam Allardyce made just the one change from the side that face Manchester Old Trafford. Keeping faith with the back four that put in an improved showing against the champions, the only change came in midfield with Morten Gamst Pedersen getting the nod over Keith Andrews who dropped to the bench.

But the first half had very few in the way of attacking moments, from either side.

After a second minute opening in which the flag was raised before Pascal Chimbonda struck the outside of the post, the game descended into a scrappy affair in which neither side impressed.

On six minutes Jamie O'Hara let fly from 30 yards out, it was an ambitious effort which went well wide. Unfortunately for the home side, a similar attempt ten minutes later would have a more positive end result.

With Rovers struggling to cope with the narrow Portsmouth midfield, the visitors were starting to gain momentum and that reached a head when on 16 minutes Aruna Dindane found O'Hara once again in space in the centre.

This time the man on loan from Tottenham didn't waste his opportunity, letting fly from distance with a low strike that curled outwards past Robinson into the corner of the goal.

There had been little on offer up to that point and in truth there was little on offer after it in a first 45 in which Rovers really struggled to get any forward momentum, the fans showing their displeasure at the break as the teams left the field.

Sam Allardyce was equally unimpressed as he made a double change at the restart. The unimpressive Morten Gamst Pedersen and El-Hadji Diouf making way for strike duo Jason Roberts and Benni McCarthy which brought about the biggest applause thus far.

The change saw Rovers go like for like as their Portsmouth counterparts, a front two of Roberts and Di Santo, backed up by a midfield diamond in which McCarthy was the head, Nzonzi at the rear, Emerton right and Dunn on the left.

But it was still the visitors who had the opening opportunity of the half when from an O'Hara free-kick Younes Kaboul glanced a header wide. Such a great free kick really warranted a better finish.

For that Portsmouth were punished. A McCarthy free-kick had to be headed wide by Frederic Piquionne inside his own six yard box and from the resulting corner Rovers levelled.

It was Dunn's delivery from the left that counted, Ryan Nelsen added to the danger with a header back into the six yard box and Jason Roberts showed all his guile and strength to turn Marc Wilson before poking home from close-range for his second of the season.

Suddenly Rovers looked a different side, the space that couldn't be found in the first half was suddenly available, the free running Brett Emerton,Jason Roberts and Pascal Chimbonda having particular joy down the right.

On 73 the combination of a Dunn corner and a Nelsen header once again paid dividends. This time it was Dunn's ball in from the right which was met by the stooping Nelsen and the Rovers captain, who will be off home to New Zealand tomorrow for their all-important World Cup qualifer against Bahrain, powered the ball into the back of the net.

It was his second goal in almost five years at the club.

Moments later however Nelsen showed his defensive side when he cleared after Piquionne had forced his way into the Rovers penalty box.

But as the game entered its closing stages it was Rovers who stayed on top and eventually got a third to give them some breathing space.

It almost came on 85 minutes when from a Nelsen ball across the six yard box Marc Wilson narrowly sliced over his own bar.

But the home fans didn't have long to wait to celebrate a third when after the initial corner had been cleared, a brilliant ball over the back line picked out Benni McCarthy and he did likewise with a pinpoint pass to Roberts who beat James at his near post for his second of the match.

So its five consecutive wins at Ewood Park, leaving Rovers with the international break to wait through before they go about tackling that poor away record when Bolton are the opposition on November 22nd.

ROVERS: Robinson, Chimbonda, Samba, Nelsen (c), Givet, Diouf (sub McCarthy 46 mins), Emerton, Nzonzi, Pedersen (sub Roberts 46 mins), Dunn, Di Santo (sub Andrews 84 mins).

Subs not used: Brown (GK), Kalinić, Hoilett, Salgado.

PORTSMOUTH: James, Kaboul, Mokoena (c) (sub Kanu 78 mins), O'Hara, Piquionne, Brown, Vanden Borre, Boateng, Dindane (sub Smith 52 mins), Ben Haim, Wilson.

Subs not used: Ashdown (GK), Mullins, Williamson, Webber, Belhadj.

Booked: Chimbonda, Givet, Nelsen (Rovers), O'Hara, Boateng, Brown (Portsmouth)

Attendance: 23,110

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