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Match Report


Posted Sat 12 Feb 11 at 17:18 PM

Report: Rovers 0 Newcastle Utd 0

It was a frustrating afternoon for both sides after a goalless draw at Ewood Park.

After the two sides had served up 15 goals in last week's matches, it was perhaps inevitable that this game wouldn't be a similar goal feast.

The early exchanges didn't indicate how the game would pan out, in a bright opening Roque Santa Cruz headed against a post, whilst at the other end Peter Lovenkrands saw a lob bounce off the top of the crossbar.

But after that neither goal was threatened too often, Newcastle enjoying the better of possession throughout, Rovers struggling to get their passing game going.

Paul Robinson saved well to deny Fabricio Coloccini at the start of the second half whilst Steve Harper comfortably denied Chris Samba's downward header.

Rovers pressed late on but up against a well-drilled Newcastle United there was to be no way through as the points were shared.

Manager Steve Kean made four changes to the side from their previous league outing seven days earlier.

Roque Santa Cruz returned after a groin injury had kept him out of the last two outings, and he was partnered up front by Niko Kalinic. Last week's pairing of Jason Roberts and Benjani dropped to the bench.

The other two changes came in midfield with David Dunn and Steven Nzonzi preferred to Morten Gamst Pedersen and Brett Emerton who were named amongst the substitutes.

The opening to the match was a lively affair with both sides striking the woodwork inside fifteen minutes.

Rovers threatened first on ten minutes when from a Paul Robinson free-kick upfield, Chris Samba headed onto Roque Santa Cruz, but the Paraguayan was inches away from re-opening his Rovers account as his header struck the post. Niko Kalinic reacted the quickest but he couldn't find the target with an outstretched boot.

Five minutes later and it was the visitors turn to rattle the frame of the goal. Again it was a long ball forward causing the problems, Jose Enrique sending the ball forward, Chris Samba totally lost the flight of the ball allowing Peter Lovenkrands to steal in behind, he lobbed the ball over Paul Robinson but was unfortunate to see it bounce off the top of the crossbar.

Aside from half chances the remainder of the first half belonged to the visitors, creating a host of corners and enjoying the majority of the possession.

However the closest they came to breaking the deadlock was from a Leon Best poke wide on 32 minutes, followed by a centre from Jose Enrique that just needed a touch from Lovenkrands to divert it home.

For those of a blue and white persuasion it was a frustrating half after a bright opening. The home side struggled to gain any momentum not helped by overzealous refereeing from Stuart Attwell.

First half injuries to Junior Hoilett and Roque Santa Cruz meant two enforced changes at the start of the second half. Morten Gamst Pedersen coming on for Hoilett, whilst Jason Roberts replaced Santa Cruz.

Pedersen and Roberts were the match winners when the two sides met at St James' Park earlier in the campaign, but it was to be a frustrating afternoon for the home side.

Newcastle started the second half as they had done for the majority of the first. Joey Barton fired over early after the restart, then from his corner an unmarked Fabricio Coloccini saw his goalbound strike brilliantly saved by Paul Robinson.

Steve Kean made his third and final change on 65 minutes replacing David Dunn for Brett Emerton and reverting to a more traditional 4-4-2 rather than the diamond formation that had been previously employed. Despite the change, the impetus remained with the visiting side.

Jonas Gutierrez fired over after Newcastle failed to make the most of a quick break, then as Chris Samba struggled to clear the ball in his own area former Rover Danny Simpson saw his near post shot well held by Robinson.

Rovers finally came into the game late on, Chris Samba saw a header saved by Steve Harper, whilst following a break involving Jermaine Jones and Brett Emerton the ball was fed to Jason Roberts, but symptomatic of the game, the Rovers forward was crowded out and couldn't get his shot away.

Shefki Kuqi returned to Ewood Park as a substitute in the final minute for Newcastle but there was to be no late drama. Referee Stuart Attwell underlining his erratic performance by blowing the final whistle as an injury-time free-kick was sent into the Newcastle box.

ROVERS: Robinson, Salgado, Samba (c), Nelsen, Olsson, Hoilett (sub Pedersen 46 mins), Jones, Nzonzi, Dunn (sub Emerton 65 mins), Kalinic, Santa Cruz (sub Roberts 46 mins).

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Grella, Benjani, Hanley.

NEWCASTLE: Harper, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Nolan (c), Williamson, Barton, Lovenkrands (sub Ranger 77 mins), Simpson (sub Perch 76 mins), Gutierrez, Best (sub Kuqi 90 mins), Tiote.

Subs not used: Krul (GK), Campbell, Guthrie, Ferguson.

Booked: Salgado (Rovers), Gutierrez, Tiote, Barton (Newcastle).

Attendance: 26,781

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