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Match Report


Posted Sat 28 Nov 09 at 17:27 PM

Report: Rovers 0 Stoke City 0

Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City played out a goalless draw at Ewood Park in a game of few chances.

Thomas Sorensen denied Franco Di Santo early on, whilst Paul Robinson was the busier of the two goalkeepers to deny Dean Whitehead twice and Liam Lawrence.

The second half was a livelier affair, Steven Nzonzi struck the post, whilst Brett Emerton fired inches wide from the edge of the area.

Former Rover James Beattie could have won it for the visitors with 15 minutes remaining but he scooped the ball over the bar from six yards out.

Rovers pressed late but Samba headed wide with the last attack of the game as the game ended as it had started.

Watch the match highlights on Rovers Player

Three changes were made from the side that lost at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night. Out went Jacobsen, Grella and Roberts, with Gaël Givet and Brett Emerton returning from injury and young midfielder Steven Nzonzi also returning to the starting eleven after missing out in midweek.

On a chilly Lancashire afternoon the game was slow to get going, but it was Rovers who fashioned the first chance of the afternoon on seven minutes. Keith Andrews, restored to his more familiar central midfield role, lofted a ball over the Stoke back line for Franco Di Santo, but with just the goalkeeper to beat his effort was well saved by Thomas Sorensen.

Chris Samba fizzed a long-range effort narrowly over on the quarter hour, but it was Rovers who were thankful for the goalkeeping of Paul Robinson to twice deny Dean Whitehead within two minutes.

The first was from a quick counter, Whitehead shooting tamely at the Rovers stopper. The second save occured when Whitehead beat the offside trap but Robinson pulled off an impressive stop.

A calf injury to David Dunn just past the half hour brought about a change of formation as Jason Roberts replaced, but it didn't bring about a change of fortune as despite some impressive balls into the area from Brett Emerton, little was made of them.

Before the break Robinson was called into action to deny Liam Lawrence from close-range after the Irishman had burst into the area.

Keith Andrews followed David Dunn to the treatment table at the break with Vince Grella coming on to replace the Irishman at the start of the second half, and Grella was immediately involved as his pass to Roberts was then laid off to El-Hadji Diouf but the midfielder fired over.

The first half had seen Paul Robinson the busier of the two 'keepers, but it was the Stoke City stopper who saw more of the play in the second period.

An El-Hadji Diouf corner kick couldn't be headed on by Chris Samba but his defensive partner Ryan Nelsen did get to the ball as he hooked it goalwards, but Thomas Sorensen dived to his left to tip the ball around the post.

From the resulting corner kick, Rovers were the width of the post from taking the lead as Diouf's centre came out to Steven Nzonzi, the Frenchman hit the ball low through the crowd of legs but was unfortunate to see the ball crash off the foot of the post and away.

But it wasn't all one way traffic as Ricardo Fuller was more than a handful for the Rovers defence. Just past the hour mark the former Preston frontman burst past Nelsen and Givet into the area, he picked out Dean Whitehead but somehow he spurned the effort by mis-kicking wide.

The game was a much more open affair as the game entered the final period, Brett Emerton, making his 200th start in a Rovers shirt, almost capped it with a goal, but his 25 yard strike was inches past the post.

Fifteen minutes to go former Rover James Beattie should have broken the deadlock, but from Fuller's centre he scooped the ball over the bar from six yards out.

Substitute Morten Gamst Pedersen impressed in his 20 minute spell. The Norwegian's header across goal just failed to pick out Franco Di Santo.

Then with almost the last kick of the game a short corner from Emerton and Pedersen saw the Norwegian deliver into the box, but Chris Samba couldn't get a clean connection on the ball as he saw his header go wide of the mark.

There's no rest for Rovers as they are back in action at Ewood Park on Wednesday evening when Chelsea are the visitors in the Carling Cup quarter final.

ROVERS: Robinson, Chimbonda, Samba, Nelsen (c), Givet, Emerton, Nzonzi, Andrews (sub Grella 46 mins), Diouf (sub Pedersen 67 mins), Dunn (sub Roberts 32 mins), Di Santo.

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

STOKE CITY: Sorensen, Huth, Lawrence, Fuller (sub Tuncay 83 mins), Sidibe (sub Beattie 69 mins), Diao, Shawcross (c) (sub Faye 52 mins), Whitehead, Collins, Etherington, Wilkinson.

Subs not used: Simonsen (GK), Higginbotham, Whelan, Delap.

Booked: Di Santo (Rovers), Whitehead, Wilkinson (Stoke)

Attendance: 25,143

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