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Match Report


Posted Mon 03 May 10 at 19:11 PM

Report: Rovers 2 Arsenal 1

ROVERS signed off their 2009-10 Ewood Park campaign with an impressive 2-1 victory over Arsenal.

Sam Allardyce's side put behind the disappointment of going a goal down after Robin van Persie's 14th minute header to turn the game in their favour with two goals.

David Dunn netted the first just before half time when he latched onto Keith Andrews ball across the area to level.

Then after Morten Gamst Pedersen had been denied and Martin Olsson saw an effort ruled out, Chris Samba rose to connect with Pedersen's corner in the 68th minute.

Arsenal, who only had consolidation of third place to play for, threw on Arshavin and Eduardo, but there was to be no beating Rovers as they registered their 10th home league win of the season, a victory that sees Rovers move up to tenth in the division.

A great way to end the season on home soil.

Watch the match highlights on Rovers Player

Sam Allardyce made four changes for the final home game of the 2009-10 season. Two of them were enforced, illness robbing Player of the Year Steven Nzonzi from ending an impressive debut campaign at Ewood, whilst Niko Kalinić picked up a knock in training and missed out.

The other two changes saw Phil Jones and Yildiray Basturk drop to the bench. The four players coming in Chris Samba, Vince Grella, Keith Andrews and David Dunn.

Rovers should have been behind after Arsenal's first attack. Just three minutes were on the clock when Ryan Nelsen was caught napping at the back, allowing Theo Walcott in around the back, Paul Robinson came to close down, then stopped leaving him in no mans land, and leaving Walcott with the simple task of picking out Carlos Vela in the centre. Walcott did what was asked of him but Vela didn't as he tapped wide with the goal at his mercy.

Aside from a Morten Gamst Pedersen free-kick that Lukasz Fabianski was quickly across to claim, Rovers offered little as an attacking force. Arsenal keeping the ball well in midfield, their hosts chasing, snapping at their heels.

But manager Sam Allardyce will have been disappointed in the manner that they conceded the opening goal - a set piece. Samir Nasri's corner from the left was flicked on at the near post by Bacary Sagna to pick out Robin van Persie who rose above Gaël Givet at the back and the Dutchman headed home courtesy of the underside of the crossbar.

Long balls hit into the Arsenal penalty area saw Fabianski struggle, but it was Paul Robinson who was called into making a save on the half hour. Robin van Persie's 22 yard free-kick forcing the Rovers number one to save scrambling to his right.

The visitors took the lead courtesy of a set-piece and it was from one of Rovers' that they would draw level.

Two minutes before the break a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner from the right picked out Ryan Nelsen in the area, he squared it to Keith Andrews to his right and the Irishman drilled the ball low and hard across the six yard box to where David Dunn arrived to tap home from two yards out.

It was Dunn's 10th goal of the season and his 50th in Rovers colours.

Neither side made changes at the break, but it was Rovers, fresh from the goal just before the break, who started the second half with renewed vigour.

On 55 minutes slick passing saw David Dunn feed Keith Andrews and he slipped the ball through to Morten Gamst Pedersen who raced in on goal but was denied by Fabianski. The Norwegian chased to get to the rebound and appeared to be felled by Sol Campbell, but only a corner kick was awarded.

At the other end Robin van Persie blazed wide when well placed something that doesn't happen too often against Rovers.

They were let off there, and Rovers took full advantage, Sam Allardyce threw on Junior Hoilett in search of further goals and the young Canadian almost delivered, latching onto a ball from Dunn to fire goalwards but the Arsenal stopper tipped the ball over at the near post.

Then Martin Olsson thought he had given Rovers the lead when he rounded Fabianski, but he was denied by a raised flag on the far side.

But Rovers didn't have long to wait for the net to be bulging when from a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner kick, Fabianski missed the ball and Chris Samba was on hand to nod the ball home to spark great scenes amongst the Ewood faithful.

Then David Dunn went close, his free-kick whistling inches over the crossbar.

Unimpressed, Arsene Wenger threw on Andrey Arshavin and Eduardo, but Rovers were never in danger. Phil Jones was added to increase the number of defenders, but Arsenal rarely threatened and as the final whistle blew, it brought to an end a great Ewood Park season.

ROVERS: Robinson, Salgado, Samba (c), Nelsen, Givet, Pedersen, Grella (sub Hoilett 58 mins), Andrews, Olsson, Dunn (sub Jones 85 mins), Roberts.

Subs: Brown (GK), Jacobsen, Emerton, Basturk, Di Santo.

ARSENAL: Fabianski, Diaby, Sagna, Nasri, van Persi\e, Vela (sub Arshavin 67 mins), Walcott, Silvestre, Eboue (sub Eduardo 78 mins), Traore, Campbell.

Subs: Mannone (GK), Djourou, Gibbs, Eastmond, Henderson.

Booked: Grella, Pedersen (Rovers), Silvestre, Campbell (Arsenal).

Attendance: 26,138

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