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Match Report


Posted Sun 18 Oct 09 at 15:45 PM

Report: Rovers 3 Burnley 2

The East Lancashire bragging rights are with Rovers after an enthralling Ewood Park encounter against Burnley.

After recovering from the shock of Robbie Blake's stunning opener on five minutes, Rovers rallied with three unanswered goals before the break from David Dunn,Franco Di Santo and Pascal Chimbonda.

The second half didn't match the first for drama, but Chris Eagles' injury time goal lead to a nervy final few minutes but Rovers saw out time to claim the important win over their near-neighbours and an equally important three points.

Watch the match highlights on Rovers Player

Ahead of the game Sam Allardyce made three changes from the side that lost at the Emirates a fortnight earlier. Able to welcome back Chris Samba and Ryan Nelsen after injury the duo slotted back in as the central pairing, with Gael Givet and Martin Olsson making way. The other change came in midfield with Morten Gamst Pedersen preferred to Brett Emerton on the flanks.

The tension was high as the game got underway, both sets of fans shaking the stands when referee Chris Foy blew his whistle to signal the first top-flight East Lancashire derby since 1966.

The first chance of the match fell Rovers' way and to Chris Samba after just three minutes. The giant defender controlled a free-kick from Paul Robinson on his chest before turning and shooting, but he lashed the ball over the bar.

But just two minutes later it was the visitors who were celebrating.

From a Rovers attack Burnley broke quickly, switching play from right to left to Robbie Blake. The Rovers defence backed off as Blake cut inside and left fly with as superb right foot strike that gave Paul Robinson no chance.

However, the visiting fans had only four minutes to celebrate as local hero David Dunn soon levelled with a goal and a move of the highest quality.

Morten Gamst Pedersen collected a pass from Pascal Chimbonda down the left and from the Norwegian's cross Franco Di Santo's clever flick teed up Dunn and he made no mistake with a steered effort into the corner.

The Great Harwood born player took great delight in celebrating his fifth goal of the season.

El-Hadji Diouf dragged an effort wide on the quarter hour as a recomposed Rovers started to impose themselves on the game. The players in blue and white giving their opponents little time to settle on the ball.

The turnaround was complete after just 21 minutes with a goal straight from the training ground.

David Dunn sent over a free-kick from the right, Chris Samba rose powerfully at the back post to head across the area, Franco Di Santo challenged goalkeeper Brian Jensen but Graham Alexander mis-timed his header and nodded the ball back into the path of Di Santo and the Rovers striker gleefully accepted the invitation to head into the empty net.

It was the Argentine's first goal for Rovers since his summer loan move from Chelsea.

Chris Samba headed over a chance on the half hour, whilst at the other end Gary Caldwell put a header wide.

But just before the break the home fans, who were on their feet throughout, were back in dreamland as a third goal duly arrived via an unlikely source.

Keith Andrews played a defence splitting diagonal ball to where Morten Gamst Pedersen headed the ball down into the path of Pascal Chimbonda and the Frenchman raced into the area before beating Jensen with a low drive into the far corner of the gaol.

On the stroke of a pulsating first half Paul Robinson denied Steven Fletcher as the Scot struck from the edge of the box.

In contrast to the breathless first half, the second was sedate in comparison.

Rovers were content to sit on their lead and hit Burnley on the break when the opportunity arose.

This lead to a scrappy second forty-five with referee Chris Foy playing an increasing role, the whistle often stifling play.

On the hour a Robbie Blake corner found Gary Caldwell unmarked at the back post, but he saw his header cleared off the line, that was as close to a goal that Burnley would come until injury time.

Franco Di Santo made way for Jason Roberts to great acclaim as the match entered the final stages, the young Argentine fully deserving his applause for a hardworking display up front alongside man-of-the-match David Dunn.

Rovers seemed to be edging towards victory, but as ever they never seem to do things the easy way, and moments after the fourth official had shown there'd be four additional minutes to play, Chris Eagles reduced arrears with a close-range strike.

That lead to a nervy final few minutes as the visitors threw caution to the wind, but Rovers held their nerve whilst Jensen was perhaps fortunate to stay on for a late lunge out of his area on Roberts.

The first top-flight derby in 43 years lived up to its billing, the Rovers contingent the ones who go home happy.

ROVERS: Robinson, Jacobsen, Samba, Nelsen (c), Chimbonda (sub Givet 87 mins), Andrews, Nzonzi, Diouf (sub Emerton 82 mins), Dunn, Pedersen, Di Santo (sub Roberts 76 mins).

Subs not used: Brown (GK), McCarthy, Hoilett, Salgado

BURNLEY: Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell (c), Fletcher (sub Eagles 60 mins), Elliott, Mears, Blake, Bikey (sub McDonald 78 mins), Nugent (sub Thompson 72 mins), Jordan

Subs not used: Penny (GK), Kalvenes, Duff, Gudjonsson.

Booked: Di Santo, Nzonzi, Samba (Rovers), Carlisle, Mears, Jensen (Burnley)

Attendance: 26,689

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