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Match Report


Posted Sat 18 Dec 10 at 17:10 PM

Report: Rovers 1 West Ham United 1

Rovers' poor record against West Ham United continued as they could only draw 1-1 to the bottom club at a chilly Ewood Park.

Despite a raft of postponements elsewhere in the Premier League the ground staff worked tirelessly to ensure the game went ahead but their efforts weren't rewarded with a home victory.

Chances were few and far between in a tentative first half,. Morten Gamst Pedersen forcing a save from Boffin, whilst Luis Boa Morte did likewise with Paul Robinson.

The second half sprang into life five minutes after the restart when Ryan Nelsen scrambled the ball over the line to give Rovers the lead.

But with Jason Roberts, Chris Samba and his replacement Phil Jones all limping off through injury they took their toll and West Ham took a deserved leveller after a period of pressure, Junior Stanislas firing home.

David Dunn thought he had regained the lead for Rovers when he fired home from close-range, but referee Mike Dean spotted an infringement as the ball made its way into the area.

Morten Gamst Pedersen went close with two late free-kicks, but it will be the visitors who will leave Ewood Park the happier of the two sides.

For his first game in charge Steve Kean made two changes from the side that face Bolton last time out.

Into the side came Mame Biram Diouf and David Dunn, with Martin Olsson and Phil Jones dropping to the bench. For a 4-4-2 formation.

The opening exchanges were bright with Mame Biram Diouf posing a threat early on. But one through ball from Diouf for partner Jason Roberts saw the striker pull up with what looked like a hamstring injury.

Roberts unable to continue resulting in Benjani replacing him on ten minutes. The Zimbabwean immediately in the thick of the action when in attempting to get onto a Pedersen centre the ball fell to Michel Salgado, but his left footed half-volley flew over the bar.

There was a certain zip to Rovers play, the midfield four of El-Hadji Diouf, Brett Emerton, Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Dunn all seeing plenty of the ball, but that killer pass, that telling ball would elude them time after time as they were unable to break the visitors two banks of four.

Claims for a penalty when a David Dunn centre struck the arm of Scott Parker, whilst debutant goalkeeper Ruud Boffin was almost caught in possession as Mame Diouf closed in.

A Pedersen free-kick appeared to be Rovers' best route to goal in the first half, but the Norwegian was denied by the Belgium stopper with a smart save on the half hour.

At the back Rovers looked decidedly edgy with the visitors having the better of the goalmouth opportunities as the half drew to a close.

Luis Boa Morte set Frederic Piquionne free down the left channel, but his shot flashed wide of Paul Robinson's near post.

Moments later the favour was returned as Piquionne fed Boa Morte in a similar position, his effort was on target but Robinson made the save at the near post.

As Mike Dean blew for half time, it certainly hadn't been the winter warmer all had hoped.

That all changed five minutes after restart when the deadlock was broken.

The home side had threatened with a series Pedersen corner kicks, but as one was cleared, Brett Emerton did superbly to cross from the right, Ryan Nelsen saw his initial shot from close-range by Boffin but the rebound went straight to the Kiwi and he kneed the ball over the line for his second goal of the season.

West Ham's response was to make a double change, bringing on Carlton Cole and Junior Stanislas for Spector and Barrera. Whilst Rovers were forced into a change of their own after Samba limped off to be replaced by Phil Jones.

Unfortunately for young Jones his time on the field would be less than ten minutes as he was forced to hobble off on 67 minutes. Scottish under 21 centre half Grant Hanley on to replace his former Academy team-mate for his Ewood debut.

Matthew Upson was the width of the post from getting the visitors back on level terms when a centre deflected into his path off Pedersen, and from that West Ham built up a head of steam that would result in the equaliser.

Carlton Cole missed a golden chance on 74 minutes when he headed over when unmarked in the area, but four minutes on they weren't so wasteful.

As David Dunn and Tal Ben-Haim tussled on the right the Israeli got the better of the Rover and his ball found Scott Parker. The midfielder twisted and turned into the area, the ball finding its way nicely to Junior Stanislas and he steered the ball past Paul Robinson into the far corner of the goal for an equaliser that had been coming.

With Rovers having made all of their substitutions due to injuries Steve Kean was unable to freshen up his side further, Avram Grant made his final change with Benni McCarthy back on the Ewood turf.

David Dunn fired over from the edge of the box, then Rovers thought they had regained the lead with eight minutes to go when David Dunn found the back of the net from a corner kick, but Mike Dean had blown for an infringement in the six yard box.

Morten Gamst Pedersen inches off target with a trademark free-kick from the right as Rovers pressed late. In added time he'd go closer with another another free-kick.

Rovers don't have a great Premier League record against West Ham, and it would be case once again.

ROVERS: Robinson, Givet, Nelsen, Samba (c) (sub Jones 57 mins (sub Hanley 67 mins)), Salgado, Dunn, Pedersen, Emerton, EH Diouf, MB Diouf, Roberts (sub Benjani 10 mins).

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Olsson, Kalinic, Hoilett.

WEST HAM: Boffin, Ben-Haim, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Dyer (sub McCarthy 82 mins), Parker, Barrera 9sub Stanislas 57 mins), Boa Morte, Upson (c), Spector (sub Cole 57 mins), Piquionne.

Subs not used: Larkins (GK), Reid, Faubert.

Booked: Emerton, Givet (Rovers), Ben Haim, Tomkins, Boa Morte (West Ham).

Attendance: 21,934

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