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Match Report


Posted Sat 19 Dec 09 at 16:59 PM

Report: Rovers 0 Tottenham 2

There was to be no celebration for Sam Allardyce as a Peter Crouch double saw Rovers taste defeat at Ewood Park.

In the twelve months since the Allardyce took charge, he had witnessed just the two home defeats in the league, but Tottenham made it three courtesy of two pieces of clinical finishing from the England striker.

Benni McCarthy struck the crossbar in the first half and the post in the second, but by then Peter Crouch had given the visitors the lead deep in added time of the first half, heading in off the woodwork from Kranjcar's cross.

Gomes denied Franco Di Santo, Junior Hoilett, Steven Nzonzi and McCarthy once more as Rovers pressed for an equaliser, but they were hit with a sucker punch seven minutes from time when Spurs broke for Crouch to add his second.

McCarthy tested Gomes late on whilst Nelsen headed over from two yards out, but it was an afternoon when Rovers didn't get their just rewards.

Watch the match highlights on Rovers Player

Unimpressed with the showing at St. Andrew's on Tuesday evening, Sam Allardyce made six changes from the side that lost to Birmingham. Brett Emerton and Chris Samba missed out through injury and illness, whilst Jason Roberts, Morten Gamst Pedersen, El-Hadji Diouf and Nikola Kalinic all dropped to the bench.

Samba's absence meant a switch at the back with Gael Givet moving inside to partner Ryan Nelsen at the heart of the defence, Pascal Chimbonda switching sides to left back with Lars Jacobsen returning on the right side of defence.

Midfield saw Vince Grella and Junior Hoilett return to the starting line-up, along with Michel Salgado who was give a right wing role.

Up front saw a Benni McCarthy and Franco Di Santo partnership, the South African having the first effort at goal of the game after just 90 seconds with a 35 yard effort that saw Gomes scrambling but the ball went the wrong side of the bar.

On nine minutes the impressive Vince Grella played a sublime ball through for Benni McCarthy, he switched it inside for Franco Di Santo who got the better of Michael Dawson, but Heurelho Gomes dived to punch the ball away ahead of the threatening Salgado.

Rovers came close to breaking the deadlock on the quarter hour when a free-kick from Benni McCarthy deflected high off Aaron Lennon, the ball looked to be sailing behind, with Gomes watching it nonchalantly, he was fortunate to see the ball bounce off the woodwork and behind.

Tottenham had offered little as an attacking force in the opening period, a shot across goal by Jermain Defoe their only effort.

Grella fed the fleet-footed Junior Hoilett, the Canadian cut in from the right but Gomes smothered his low shot. Then on the half hour Franco Di Santo and Benni McCarthy combined, from a McCarthy cross Di Santo controlled the ball on his chest, he turned and shot but again Gomes was equal to his efforts.

But just as it looked like Rovers would go in at the break frustrated by the goalless scoreline, they were caught in time added on at the end of the half.

A Tom Huddlestone shot sliced well wide of Paul Robinson's goal, but Niko Kranjcar kept the ball in play on the right to then send over a cross for Peter Crouch who rose above Nelsen to head home via the underside of the crossbar.

It was cruel on Rovers who had been the dominant force in the first half.

Both managers resisted the temptation to tinker at the interval as Rovers came out with the same purpose and determination shown in the first and on 54 minutes they were an inch from getting back on level terms.

A ball up to the Tottenham box broke for Benni McCarthy six yards out, his shot was saved by Gomes who touched the ball onto the foot of the post. Agonisingly the ball rolled across the six yard box and Sebastien Bassong got to the ball ahead of Franco Di Santo to clear.

Moments later Rovers were back on the attack through Hoilett, outpacing Corluka he went round the back of the visiting defence into the penalty area, but his low centre eluded a blue and white shirt in the six yard box.

The pressure continued as McCarthy fed Di Santo on the edge of the area, he took a touch to bring it onto his right foot but his shot was straight at the Tottenham goalkeeper.

Sam Allardyce threw on Morten Gamst Pedersen, Nikola Kalinic and Jason Roberts in an attempt to get back on level terms, but when the second goal of the game did arrive it was the visitors who were once again celebrating.

With the home side pressing forward, they were caught by a swift counter, Corluka with a high ball forward was flicked on by Keane into the path of Jenas, and he cleverly swept the ball to his left where Peter Crouch evaded the offside trap to beat Paul Robinson to seal the victory for the visitors.

McCarthy forced a fingertip save from Gomes, then Ryan Nelsen somehow headed down and over from a late corner, but on the anniversary of Sam Allardyce's first year in charge, he didn't get to celebrate the victory he craved.

ROVERS: Robinson, Jacobsen, Nelsen (c), Givet, Chimbonda, Salgado (sub Pedersen 64 mins), Nzonzi, Grella, Hoilett (sub Roberts 81 mins), McCarthy, Di Santo (sub Kalinić 72 mins).

Subs not used: Brown (GK), Andrews, Diouf, Jones.

TOTTENHAM: Gomes, Huddlestone, Lennon (sub Hutton 90 mins), Palacios (sub Jenas 58 mins), Crouch, Defoe (sub Keane 67 mins), Bassong, Dawson, Kranjcar, Corluka, Assou-Ekotto.

Subs not used: Alnwick (GK), Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Rose

Booked: Corluka (Tottenham)

Attendance: 26,495

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