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Match Report


Posted Sat 24 Apr 10 at 17:02 PM

Report: Wolves 1 Rovers 1

Rovers missed a great opportunity to climb back into the top half of the table after a late Sylvan Ebanks-Blake header rescued a point for Wolves.

After Niko Kalinić saw an early header strike the post, it was captain Ryan Nelsen who opened the scoring when he deftly kneed home Morten Gamst Pedersen's corner.

Wolves, who needed a win to ensure their Premier League status for a second term enjoyed plenty of possession, and at the start of the second half it took a goal-line clearance from Phil Jones to keep them at bay, whilst Jody Craddock fired over from six yards out.

But ten minutes from Morten Gamst Pedersen missed a glorious chance to double Rovers' lead but could only find Marcus Hahnemann when well placed.

That miss would prove to be costly as a minute later substitute Sylvan Ebanks-Blake headed the home side back on level terms, rising high to head Ward's centre in off the far post.

The woodwork would be struck a further occasion when with just injury time remaining Keith Andrews played a delightful one-two with Franco Di Santo, but the former Wolves man saw his shot strike the post.

The Wolves fans blotted their copybook by invading the pitch at full time, Rovers blotted theirs at each end of the pitch.

Watch the match highlights on Rovers Player

Sam Allardyce made two changes from the side that lost to Everton last time out. He gave a first taste of Barclays Premier League action to Yildiray Basturk who came in for David Dunn. Whilst the other change saw Keith Andrews drop to the bench with Jason Roberts coming in.

That meant a change of formation for Rovers as the Rovers boss opted for a surprise 3-5-2 formation. A back three of Phil Jones, Ryan Nelsen and Gael Givet, with Martin Olsson and Michel Salgado as the marauding wing backs.

And it was one of those wing backs who sparked the first talking point of the opening half, a deft touch from Yilly Basturk saw him play in Michel Salgado. The Spaniard raced into the area, but as he checked back to look for the ball he saw his legs taken by Stephen Ward, but referee Mark Clattenburg was unmoved.

Rovers continued to be comfortable and should have taken the lead on 18 minutes when a Martin Olsson cross from the left was met by a leaping Nikola Kalinić. But, as often has been the case this season, the young Croatian was unfortunate to see his header come off the post and away to safety.

Whilst the home side had seen plenty of the ball in the centre of midfield, they had done little as an attacking force, although Rovers had Phil Jones to thank as he got to Kevin Doyle's cross ahead of the threatening David Edwards.

Almost immediately Rovers went up the other end and fashioned a chance of their own. Martin Olsson's cross from the left was headed only as far as Steven Nzonzi who struck the ball on the volley only to see George Elokobi head the ball behind acrobatically.

But Rovers' persistance paid off when from Morten Gamst Pedersen's 28th minute corner they took the lead. The Norwegian sending the ball over from the right, Marcus Hahnemann missed the ball totally allowing captain Ryan Nelsen to cooly finish, kneeing the ball into the back of the net.

Wolves ended the first half seeing more of the ball, but their only other chance of note came from a free-kick in added time. David Jones's free-kick was headed onto Jody Craddock at the back post but he volleyed wildly across goal and out for a Rovers goal kick.

Yildiray Basturk's first appearance in a Rovers shirt lasted just the first 45 minutes as he was replaced by David Dunn at the break.

The Turkish international showed a decent touch and vision in his cameo appearance.

The home side started the second half much the stronger side, with hesitant defending by Rovers handing Mick McCarthy's side the impetus.

It stemmed from a baffling decision by Mark Clattenburg when after initially waving play on in Wolves' favour he then gave them a free-kick. David Jones took the free-kick left-footed, Paul Robinson saves but can only fumble the ball behind.

From the corner kick the ball found its way through to the opposite side where Ward centred, Iwelumo headed on but Jody Craddock somehow lashed over from close-range.

Rovers didn't heed that warning and almost conceded from Wolves' next corner kick. David Jones' ball to the near post was flicked on by Ward but the Jones on the opposite side - Phil - was there on the line to clear.

Unimpressed with what he was seeing, Sam Allardyce decided to make a second change, replacing Niko Kalinić for Keith Andrews and for a spell that changed the impetus.

Persistance from Jason Roberts saw Craddock pass back to Hahnemann under pressure, and from the resulting indirect free-kick David Dunn fired the free-kick a yard over the bar.

But at the other end Wolves continued to pressure, throw-ins from George Elokobi proving to be particularly dangerous to a jittery Rovers defence.

With ten minutes left on the clock Rovers had a glorious chance to double their lead. David Dunn raced from is own half down the right channel to switch the ball over to a free Morten Gamst Pedersen on the edge of the area. The Norwegian controlled the ball on his chest before striking goalwards but his effort was straight at Marcus Hahnemann.

That missed chance proved to be costly as the home side scored an equaliser just sixty seconds later. David Jones turning on the left to play it back to Stephen Ward and his cross picked out substitute Sylvan Ebanks-Blake who was afforded far too much space in the six yard box and he powered a header in off the far post.

Just like last week when Yakubu came off the bench to break Rovers' hearts moments after his introduction. Ebanks-Blake did the same as he'd been on the field for barely two minutes.

There was still time for more drama as Rovers struck the woodwork for a second time in the match. Keith Andrews playing a lovely one-two with substitute Franco Di Santo, but the Irishman was unfortunate to see his sweet shot strike the foot of the post.

The final whistle saw ugly scenes as Wolves supporters invaded the pitch en masse, despite pleas from the stadium announcer that their Premier League status wasn't secure. But the point for Wolves means only an unlikely set of results - Burnley winning their three remaining games - will stop them.

WOLVES: Hahnemann, Elokobi, Edwards (sub Iwelumo 37 mins), Craddock (c), Ward, Jones, Berra, Zubar, Mancienne (sub Milijas 66 mins), Doyle, Foley (sub Ebanks-Blake 79 mins).

Subs not used: Hennessey (GK), Stearman, Halford, Guedioura.

ROVERS: Robinson, Jones, Nelsen (c), Givet, Salgado, Basturk (sub Dunn 46 mins), Nzonzi, Pedersen, Olsson, Kalinić (sub Andrews 57 mins), Roberts.

Subs not used: Brown (GK), Jacobsen, Linganzi, Hoilett, Di Santo.

Booked: Pedersen (Rovers)

Attendance: 28,967

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