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Match Report


Posted Wed 02 Feb 11 at 22:00 PM

Report: Rovers 0 Tottenham 1

Steve Kean's side suffered their first defeat on home soil in 2011 after an inspired performance from Heurelho Gomes kept Rovers at bay.

Peter Crouch's 4th minute header proved to be the only goal of the game, a match that Rovers had the better of for long periods.

But against Brazilian stopper there was to be no way through, the first half saw him prevent Vedran Corluka heading into his own goal, whilst David Dunn went close on three occasions.

The second half the blue and wide tide continue towards the Spurs goal, but Gomes made three superb saves in a matter of minutes. At the other end Paul Robinson denied Defoe then Lennon.

Rovers pressed late into added time for that elusive equaliser, Chris Samba saw his goalbound header diverted over the bar by Jenas, then with almost the last kick of the game Gomes once again saved to deny Keith Andrews.

Rovers made four changes from the side that faced Aston Villa in last weekend's FA Cup.

Back into the starting eleven came Ryan Nelsen, David Dunn, Jermaine Jones and Mame Biram Diouf for the match against high-flying Tottenham Hotspur.

Gael Givet didn't make the game due to a troublesome groin injury, whilst Grant Hanley, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Steven Nzonzi and Nikola Kalinic, who replaced Roque Santa Cruz early last week, all dropped to the bench.

A rousing reception was given to Venky's Chairwoman Anuradha Desai, who was making her first visit to Ewood Park, but unfortunately it was the visitors who were celebrating after opening the scoring with a goal from their very first attack of the game.

Just four minutes was on the clock when Tottenham took the lead, Rafael van der Vaart cutting inside from his right wing berth to send a ball into the area where Peter Crouch rose high above Chris Samba to head into the corner of the net. That wasn't the start the home fans wanted.

That stung Rovers into an immediate response, creating enough chances to win a hatful of matches, but somehow they were unable to get the leveller their play deserved.

Sebastien Bassong got a vital touch to an 8th minute cross from Martin Olsson to divert the ball away from a ready to pounce David Dunn, then as Junior Hoilett fed Olsson, he drilled the ball across the six yard box with Mame Biram Diouf unable to connect.

Play continued towards the Tottenham goal, Diouf saw an effort blocked on the edge of the area, then from yet another Olsson cross Jermaine Jones and Junior Hoilett were thwarted in the six yard box by some desperate defending.

When Rovers did find a way past the Spurs back four, they couldn't get past Heurelho Gomes in goal. A long ball forward from Robinson caught the Brazilian flapping, but he made amends to palm aside the resulting shot from Hoilett.

After Olsson dominated the opening twenty minutes for Rovers, the latter part of the half was the David Dunn show.

On 22 minutes Dunn latched onto a neat layoff from Jason Roberts to fire narrowly over, then from another Dunn shot, Gomes just about held on as Diouf readied himself to pounce. Then following another flowing move which saw Olsson combine with Roberts, Dunn steered the ball inches wide of the far post.

The chances didn't stop there, Ryan Nelsen headed wide at the near post from a Dunn corner. Then from a Dunn free-kick, the New Zealander got too much on the ball to deflect it over the bar.

Aside from their goal and some promising runs by Aaron Lennon, the visitors had offered little in the way of a threat on Paul Robinson's goal. A free-kick from van der Vaart that flew over the bar a rare offering.

As the opening 45 drew to a close Gomes came to Spurs' rescue once again when from a ball into the area, Vedran Corluka almost headed into his own net but Gomes raced backwards to divert the ball wide.

Aside from the first four minutes it had been an entertaining first half, alas that was when the visitors opened the scoring.

After deadline day signings, Mauro Formica and Ruben Rochina, had been introduced, Rovers started the second half as they'd finished the first.

Thirty seconds had been on the clock when a threaded ball through from Jermaine Jones saw Mame Biram Diouf beat the offside trap, but he couldn't beat Gomes with his effort.

But then Paul Robinson was called upon to make two stupendous saves in the matter of minutes.

A quick break on 58 minutes saw Aaron Lennon race forward, he teed up Defoe on his left, but Robinson pushed his shot aside. Then three minutes later the fleet-footed Lennon had a go himself, Robinson superbly saving one-handed.

Jones and Dunn were sacrificed for Nzonzi and Pedersen as Kean sought to inject some fresh legs into proceedings. Hoilett bringing the ball down on his chest to force an impressive one-handed save from Gomes.

The save Gomes made on 72 minutes was perhaps even better, turning aside Diouf's first time effort.

Then as Pedersen drilled a free-kick through the wall, the Brazilian made another sublime stop to beat away the Norwegian's effort.

Harry Redknapp may have named two 'keepers on the bench, but the one in goal was having an unbelievable night.

Benjani was introduced with ten minutes to go, but with the visitors retreating an limiting space chances were at a premium.

Those premium chances arrived at the death, Samba seeing his header diverted over the bar by Jenas, then following the resulting corner and scramble, Gomes, as he'd shown so often on the night, was alert to thwart Keith Andrews' effort through the crowd.

ROVERS: Robinson, Salgado, Samba (c), Nelsen, Olsson, J. Jones (sub Nzonzi 64 mins), Andrews, Dunn (sub Pedersen 67 mins), Hoilett, MB Diouf (sub Benjani 82 mins), Roberts.

Subs not used: Bunn, Kalinic, Grella, Hanley.

TOTTENHAM: Gomes, Lennon, Jenas, van der Vaart, Palacios, Gallas (c), Crouch, Defoe (sub Sandro 76 mins), Bassong, Corluka, Assou-Ekotto.

Subs not used: Cudicini, Pavlyuchenko, Kranjcar, Khumalo, Pletikosa, Woodgate.

Booked: Jones, Nzonzi (Rovers), Corluka (Tottenham)

Attendance: 23,253

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