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Match Report


Posted Tue 24 Aug 10 at 19:47 PM

Report: Rovers 3 Norwich City 1

MAME Biram Diouf marked his first Ewood Park start with a hat-trick as Rovers booked their place in the next round of the Carling Cup with a 3-1 win over Norwich City.

The Senegal international, on a season long loan from Manchester United, opened the scoring on 29 when he latched onto Chris Samba's flick from Morten Gamst Pedersen's throw into the area.

Rovers had many chances to increase their lead, particularly in the second half when both Amine Linganzi and Diouf struck the woodwork in a two-minute spell.

But the pressure eventually told when Diouf followed up Pedersen's saved header to force the ball over the line.

Diouf's third goal was the pick of the night when from a superb cross by Pedersen he powered a fine header into the back of the net to ensure he claimed the match ball with six minutes remaining.

Norwich rewarded their travelling support with a late consolation when Jens Berthel Askou, but it was an otherwise comfortable night for Rovers.

Whilst Sam Allardyce made eight changes from the side that started against Birmingham on Saturday, he was still able to name an eleven full of experience.

Vince Grella and Pascal Chimbonda made surprise returns to the eleven having recovered from injury earlier than expected, whilst there were first Ewood starts for Mark Bunn in goal, Amine Linganzi in midfield and Mame Biram Diouf up front.

It was Mame Diouf who had the first chance at goal on ten minutes. A cleared Pedersen corner eventually found its way to the young Senegal striker but he mis-kicked in front of goal. Gael Givet got his foot to the loose ball but Rudd made the save low down.

Rovers were enjoying plenty of possession with some neat approach play, a cross field pass from Lars Jacobsen picked out Diouf on the left of the area, he headed down for Amine Linganzi, but the midfielder's half volley deflected over the bar.

Then it was Brett Emerton's turn to deliver a key ball into the area, Pedersen got his head to the ball to arrow it downwards, but Rudd was there to push the ball away.

Norwich had offered little as an attacking force until the 20th minute. A ball in from the right found the Canaries' captain Grant Holt unmarked in the area but Bunn saved his header well.

Vince Grella and Linganzi kept things ticking in the centre of midfield, whilst Emerton and Jacobsen combined well down the right. But for all of Rovers' neat passing play, that final ball had eluded them, but that changed a minute before the half hour when one of Rovers' throw-in routines paid dividends.

Morten Gamst Pedersen sent a long throw into the area, Chris Samba flicked on at the near post and Mame Biram Diouf arrived at the back post to head home his first goal for the club.

Two minutes later and a similar routine could have lead to a further goal. This time Pedersen's throw went over Samba and fell to Diouf, his shot was blocked, Samba tried to follow up but went to ground, though his claims for a penalty fell on deaf ears.

With just the one goal to their name Rovers couldn't settle, and to their credit Norwich came more into the game as the half drew to a close. Simeon Jackson, who scored against Rovers for Gillingham at this stage of the competition last season, hit a great shot from the edge of the area on the stroke of half time, but Mark Bunn was equal to his efforts as he dived to touch the ball around the post.

Both sides were unchanged at the start of the second half, and within five minutes of the restart both sides had attempts on goal.

Norwich were first with a 25 yard effort from Grant Holt, the ball may have taken a deflection on its route to goal meaning Bunn couldn't hold onto the ball, but he claimed it at the second attempt.

In an instant Bunn switched play down the other end of the field, with Mame Biram Diouf jumping to head the ball over Canaries' 'keeper Declan Rudd, however the ball bounced wide of the empty net.

On his return to action following a calf injury, Vince Grella got through a useful hour in the centre of midfield before being replaced by Steven Nzonzi. Phil Jones also came on for Chris Samba as Sam Allardyce freshened up his squad.

Norwich continued to press and probe, Bunn had to be alert in the Rovers goal as from a near post corner Holt again won the ball, but the Rovers stopper showed good reactions to push the ball aside.

With the score at 1-0 there was always the possibility that Norwich could grab an unlikely leveller, but a five minute spell with fifteen minutes to go in the second half saw the visitors eventually crack.

On 74 Rovers were the width of the post from doubling their lead, when Junior Hoilett fed Pedersen into the box, his ball across the area was headed clear but only as far as Amine Linganzi, the Frenchman struck the ball well but it bounced off the post and away.

A minute later and the fleet-footed Hoilett saw his legs taken right on the left edge of the area. Pedersen again delivered in the area, perfect for Mame Diouf, but he somehow headed against the woodwork from inside the six-yard box.

Would Rovers regret those misses? It certainly looked like it could be the case when from two further corner kicks Givet saw one poked effort blocked, then another headed wide. The latter chance eventually saw Givet head down the tunnel after a clash of heads with Linganzi.

79 minutes did however see Rovers finally get the second goal their play deserved, Hoilett advanced down the right to whip the ball to the back post, Pedersen saw his header saved but Mame Diouf was on hand to force the ball home. The linesman on the far side ruling the ball had crossed the line despite the Norwich defence's best efforts.

Five minutes further on a place in Saturday's third round draw was secured with the goal of the night. Morten Gamst Pedersen firing over a superb centre where Mame Biram Diouf more than made up for his earlier headed miss when he rose to power the ball into the back of the net.

With a minute to go Rovers goalkeeper Mark Bunn made a stupendous save to deny Stephen Hughes from close range, but from the resulting corner the home side's copybook was blotted when an unmarked Jens Berthel Askou headed into the top corner of the net.

The three additional minutes saw no further scares as Rovers safely progressed through to the next round.

ROVERS: Bunn, Jacobsen, Samba (c) (sub Jones 62 mins), Chimbonda, Givet (sub Olsson 79 mins), Emerton, Grella (sub Nzonzi 62 mins), Linganzi, Pedersen, Hoilett, MB Diouf.

Subs not used: Fielding (GK), EH Diouf, Judge, Morris.

NORWICH: Rudd, R. Martin (sub Hughes 72 mins), Gill, Holt (c) (sub Johnson 68 mins), Jackson, Hoolahan (sub McNamee 68 mins), Fox, Lappin, Ward, Francomb, Askou.

Subs not used: Ruddy (GK), Surman, C. Martin, Smith.


Attendance: 9,235

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