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Match Report


Posted Sat 25 Sep 10 at 17:42 PM

Report: Blackpool 1 Rovers 2

Brett Emerton was Rovers' hero in the seaside sunshine as his injury time goal gave Rovers victory on the road for the first time this season.

As has so often been the case with the Ewood Park club this campaign, it had looked like they had squandered the victory when Blackpool substitute Matt Phillips cancelled out Charlie Adam's comedy own goal with a strike five minutes from time.

But as Rovers pressed deep into injury time, Phil Jones saw his effort blocked, then Benjani, but Emerton, on as a substitute at the start of the second half, curled the ball from the edge of the area to delight the travelling support.

Rovers should have seen the match wrapped up long before the late drama, but manager Sam Allardyce will have been pleased nevertheless to claim the win on his return to Bloomfield Road.

After the midweek cup match at Aston Villa, manager Sam Allardyce selected a more familiar line-up that showed just one change from the draw with Fulham seven days earlier.

The only change came in the centre of midfield with Steven Nzonzi making his second league start of the season in place of the injured Vince Grella.

The match started with all the excitement and noise a Lancashire derby generates, and just two minutes in and the woodwork was rattled.

It was the home side quick out of the traps, Michel Salgado had to be alert to divert a Gary Taylor-Fletcher shot wide and from the resulting corner from the left by David Vaughan, Salgado was in the right place once again to head Ian Evatt's goalbound header onto his own bar and away.

Rovers followed that up with a series of corners themselves, with the net bulging on six minutes courtesy of Chris Samba, but referee Mike Dean disallowed the header for a foul by Niko Kalinic on Matt Gilks in the Blackpool goal.

The game ebbed and flowed from end to end, Vaughan curled a centre just wide of Paul Robinson's far post, whilst Phil Jones fired over after Kalinic's neat lay-off.

In six of Rovers' previous seven games this season they had taken the lead first and on 20 minutes that statistic was increased to seven from eight, albeit in fortunate circumstances.

A twisting El-Hadji Diouf sent over a ball from the left, Niko Kalinic flicked it on, but only to Charlie Adam who attempted to cushion the ball back to his 'keeper but only succeeded in putting it into the corner of the net.

Eight minutes later and Rovers were the width of the post away from doubling their lead when a Morten Gamst Pedersen free-kick was glanced goalwards by Chris Samba, the ball seemed destined for the bottom corner only for it to bounce off the foot of the post, Kalinic couldn't force the ball home from the ensuing scramble. Two minutes from half time Kalinic and Pedersen combined for the Croatian to shoot, but Gilks just tipped his effort around the post.

The start of the second half saw Rovers make a change with Brett Emerton replacing Mame Biram Diouf, and it would be the Australian who would go on to have the first effort of the second period. It came on 57 minutes, Rovers broke well down the right through Kalinic, his cross found El-Hadji Diouf who teed up Emerton but Gilks made a fine stop.

Diouf retained possession and set up Kalinic but his cheeky back-heel went wide of goal.

Rovers continued to press and should have extended their lead, a break from a corner saw the impressive El-Hadji Diouf run 70 yards to cross for Phil Jones, the young Rover, excelling in his midfield role headed the ball powerfully across goal but Gilks saved well with an outstretched boot.

Diouf continued to torment the Blackpool back line, Pedersen stretched to cross, then Kalinic stretched to shoot but couldn't connect cleanly.

Those missed chances came home to roost for Rovers as Blackpool ended the match strongly. They served notice on 75 minutes when Eardley centred for Adam but somehow he headed wide of the goals that he'd found the back of the net of in the first half.

Rovers didn't react and Blackpool built the pressure, Robinson denied Gary Taylor-Fletcher before doing likewise to tip over Adam's deflected shot.

Lessons weren't learnt and just like at Villa Park on Wednesday night it was a substitute who would have a devastated effect. Former Wycombe winger Matt Phillips, on for just two minutes of his Premier League bow, took the ball towards the edge of the area and fired low under the legs of Givet and into the far corner of the net. Oh no not again.

Buoyed by the leveller the home side looked for the victory, only a last ditch challenge from Ryan Nelsen prevented Luke Varney getting a shot away after he had skipped past Samba.

But as the game entered the third minute of added time and with Blackpool pushing up Rovers hit them on the break, Diouf, the architect of everything that was good in Rovers' play, sent the ball which diverted to Jones, his shot was blocked, likewise Benjani, but Brett Emerton was on hand to curl his first goal of the season with a left-footer into the bottom corner.

Moments later the Australian almost doubled his account with a peach of a shot that Gilks did well to palm away.

But that didn't matter as referee Mike Dean's whistle sparked jubilant scenes as the players celebrated the win amongst the 2000 travelling Rovers supporters, throwing their shirts into the crowd.

BLACKPOOL: Gilks, Crainey, Eardley (sub Phillips 83 mins), Evatt, Harewood (sub Grandin 66 mins), Ormerod (sub Varney 65 mins), Vaughan, Taylor-Fletcher, Cathcart, Adam (c), Campbell.

Subs not used: Kingson (GK), Southern, Sylvestre, Keinan.

ROVERS: Robinson, Salgado, Samba (c), Nelsen, Givet, MB Diouf (sub Emerton 46 mins), Jones, Nzonzi (sub Andrews 67 mins), Pedersen, EH Diouf, Kalinić (sub Benjani 76 mins).

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

Booked: Harewood (Blackpool), Salgado (Rovers).

Attendance: 15,901

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