Skip to main content

Match Report


Posted Sat 19 Mar 11 at 17:38 PM

Report: Rovers 2 Blackpool 2

Junior Hoilett's last-gasp leveller rescued a point for Rovers in a match of high drama at Ewood.

For 92 minutes of this enthralling encounter it looked like Rovers would be left frustrated and pointless until the Canadian's 93rd minute header saw the home side claim a fully-deserved point.

Rovers had started brightly but there were talking points aplenty in the first half. Luke Varney had goal chalked off by a linesman before the referee Howard Webb gave Blackpool a soft penalty, adjudging Ryan Nelsen had fouled Gary Taylor-Fletcher in the area when it seemed all the Kiwi had done was clear the ball against the player.

Charlie Adam made no mistake from the spot and would do likewise with a superb 20-yard free-kick moments later to see the Seasiders go in at the break with a two-goal lead.

Rovers set out their intentions of a comeback immediately after the restart as Steven Nzonzi shot inches wide. Chris Samba thankfully didn't miss the target from a similar position after Hoilett and Diouf saw shots blocked, the team captain drilling the ball through the crowded area on 49 minutes.

The home side piled forward, Martin Olsson hit the post, Chris Samba saw a header cleared off the line and then from a cross from the returning Phil Jones Hoilett touched the ball onto the woodwork yet again.

It looked like all of Rovers' efforts would be in vain, but when Paul Robinson launched the ball into the Blackpool box in the 93rd minute for once it dropped kindly and Junior Hoilett steered the ball into the back of the net to spark jubilant celebrations.

The draw was the least Rovers deserved after a stirring second half revival, the point seeing them rise a place in the league table.

Rovers made three changes from the side that harshly lost at Fulham last time out.

Ryan Nelsen returned from suspension, replacing fellow centre half Grant Hanley who failed a late fitness test, Roque Santa Cruz was preferred to Jason Roberts up front, whilst Brett Emerton was in with Gael Givet serving the first of a two-match ban. Martin Olsson moving to left back.

The game started brightly with Rovers showing lots of energy and enthusiasm and after just two minutes they threatened Richard Kingson's goal.

A Michel Salgado ball into the area saw Jermaine Jones acrobatically strike but it deflected over the bar. From the resulting Brett Emerton corner kick Ryan Nelsen drilled the ball back hard and low, it deflected off Roque Santa Cruz but was comfortably cleared.

Rovers continued to force the pace, Hoilett and Olsson lively down the left, the Canadian firing low and wide on the quarter hour with a shot from the corner of the area.

Then another Rovers corner saw the home side go close once again. Emerton's ball in from the left was missed by a flailing Kingson, Nelsen clipped it to the opposing post where Roque Santa Cruz headed it down for Steven Nzonzi but the midfielder headed wide from ten yards out.

Rovers had dominated the first twenty minutes of the half, but latter part was certainly one to forget.

On twenty Rovers were breathing a sigh of relief as Luke Varney thought he had opened the scoring. Charlie Adam's curled free-kick finding the on-loan forward who volleyed in from ten yards out, but there was a delayed reaction before the assistant referee on the Riverside raised his flag. Ian Holloway's side were furious, but in fairness to the official it was the correct decision.

Straight up the other end and Rovers were a whisker away themselves. Steven Nzonzi spreading play wide left with a clever header to Hoilett, the fleet-footed attacker clipped the ball over to the back post but it was inches to high for Mame Biram Diouf to connect with.

If the visitors were aghast at the decision to rule out Varney's strike, then Rovers were of the same emotion on 25 minutes when Howard Webb gave Blackpool a shock penalty.

Neat play saw Jason Puncheon find Gary Taylor-Fletcher in the area, but it seemed that Ryan Nelsen cleared the ball off the Blackpool player and behind for a goal kick, but the referee had other ideas and pointed to the penalty spot.

Blackpool captain Charlie Adam took the honours and made no mistake as Paul Robinson dived in the opposite direction.

Rovers may have plenty of reasons to complain about the visitor's first goal, but they had no answer to Charlie Adam's second. Brett Emerton had fouled the Scottish midfielder and Adam took the resulting free-kick, curling a superb 20 yard effort past a static Robinson.

Varney saw another strike correctly chalked off for offside before the first half closed, whilst Hoilett blazed wide to sum up a dreadful first 45 for all those of a blue and white persuasion.

Straight from the restart Rovers were inches away from pulling a goal back. Junior Hoilett tricking his way into the area before feeding Steven Nzonzi but he fired into the side-netting.

But on 49 minutes they weren't to be denied, Steven Nzonzi capitalising on the right flank to send over a teasing cross, Junior Hoilett saw his effort blocked, Mame Biram Diouf saw his saved but Chris Samba made no mistake in drilling it through the bodies and into the back of the net.

With their tails up Rovers almost immediately added a second, Jermaine Jones playing in Martin Olsson, the Swede driving into the area to shoot near post but his effort agonisingly struck the outside of the woodwork.

At the other end Jason Puncheon forced a fine save from Robinson as the visitors posed a rare second half threat.

Just before the hour mark Phil Jones made a welcome return to action for the first time in three months, replacing Brett Emerton in the centre of midfield. But it was from the run of his namesake Jermaine that Rovers again came close. Breaking quickly from a Blackpool attack the USA international looked to find Mame Biram Diouf in the area but a combination of defender and goalkeeper saw the ball deflect behind.

As the clock ticked down it became more and more frustrating for Rovers. Time and time again Junior Hoilett skipped past his man to charge into the area, but every time he played the ball across the six yard box there was a tangerine boot to clear.

To compound matters Chris Samba saw a header cleared off the line by Alex Baptiste, the captain's follow-up striking his own man Jason Roberts to deflect behind.

Moments later a cross from Phil Jones saw Hoilett get a touch but again it was agony as the ball clipped the far post. It seemed it just wasn't going to be Rovers' afternoon.

Chris Samba was now operating up front and with three minutes to go he climbed high in the area to meet a cross, Santa Cruz chose to play in Hoilett but he screwed his shot a foot over the corner of post and bar.

But Hoilett wouldn't waste another chance, and when Rovers were awarded a 93rd minute free-kick Paul Robinson launched it deep into the area, the heads went up and for once the ball dropped kindly and Junior Hoilett, Rovers' outstanding player on the day, headed home.

ROVERS: Robinson, Salgado, Samba (c), Nelsen, Olsson, Emerton (sub P. Jones 59 mins), Nzonzi (sub Roberts 72 mins), J. Jones, Hoilett, Santa Cruz, Diouf (sub Pedersen 79 mins).

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Kalinic, Rochina, Benjani.

BLACKPOOL: Kingson, Crainey, Evatt, Vaughan, Taylor-Fletcher, Grandin (sub Phillips 66 mins), Baptiste, Varney (sub Reid 81 mins), Cathcart. Adam (c) (sub Southern 88 mins), Puncheon.

Subs not used: Halstead (GK), Eardley, Ormerod, Beattie.

Booked: Emerton (Rovers), Taylor-Fletcher (Blackpool)

Attendance: 27,209.

    Latest Match Reports