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Match Report


Posted Sun 21 Nov 10 at 15:33 PM

Report: Rovers 2 Aston Villa 0

A Morten Gamst Pedersen brace saw Rovers inflict a 2-0 win over Aston Villa at Ewood Park on Sunday.

The Norwegian international maintained his fine goalscoring touch with a first half free-kick that was a carbon copy of his recent strike against Wigan, before diverting a 66th minute Ryan Nelsen strike into the back of the net.

The visitors were off colour with only Stewart Downing and Ashley Young posing any threat, Downing forcing a fine save from Robinson, whilst Young hit the bar with a second half header.

Rovers continued to pose the greater threat, El-Hadji Diouf headed over when well placed, whilst Pascal Chimbonda curled a shot wide.

The win, in front of new owners Venky's, sees Rovers climb to 11th in the league table.

Following last week's defeat at White Hart Lane, manager Sam Allardyce made three changes for the visit of Aston Villa.

One of those was enforced as the hamstring injury sustained by Brett Emerton whilst on international duty, meant a place back in the starting eleven for David Dunn. Jason Roberts and El-Hadji Diouf also started, preferred to Niko Kalinić and Pascal Chimbonda who dropped down to the bench.

Ahead of the match Rovers' new owners, Balaji Rao and Venkatesh Rao of Venkys were given a standing ovation as they were introduced to the Ewood faithful, and that set the tone for a stirring first half display.

Just two minutes in Junior Hoilett, excelling on his return to the Rovers starting line-up, found Jason Roberts down the right, he returned the ball to the young Canadian but his effort was blocked.

Rovers kept the ball alive until Phil Jones was upended on the edge of the box and it looked for all the world that Morten Gamst Pedersen would take the free-kick but instead it was shifted right to Chris Samba, but his driven effort flew wide.

The visitors went straight on the counter with Stewart Downing running at pace down the right and into the area but Robinson made a comfortable save at the near post.

It was an open start, Jones almost threading the ball through to Jason Roberts, after the home side had passed the ball well.

The 14th minute saw a moment of controversy after referee Michael Oliver accidentally collided with Rovers defender Gaël Givet. The defender was prone in the centre circle and as the referee waved play-on, Ashley Young twisted and turned Michel Salgado inside out but Robinson pushed aside his shot across goal.

That was a rare opportunity for the visitors as Rovers continued to pose the greater threat. On 18 David Dunn played a wonderfully deceiving pass to feed Jason Roberts in the area but former Rover Stephen Warnock was back with a vital challenge as the Rovers striker was set to shoot.

Then a Pedersen throw into the area caused problems for the visitors, not least as Friedel punched against the back of Warnock, the ball eventually landed with Gaël Givet but he couldn't keep the effort down.

Hoilett sliced a volley wide of goal. Before from another Pedersen delivery both Ryan Nelsen and David Dunn had sight of goal but neither could find the target.

A minute later a Pedersen free-kick from the right was glanced over by Roberts.

There was a break in play after a clash of heads between Stephen Warnock and El-Hadji Diouf. Villa captain Richard Dunne accusing the Rovers player of using an elbow which he vehemently denied. Whether Warnock thought so too might be the reason as sixty seconds later he crudely fouled Diouf on the right touchline.

Warnock was to regret his rash challenge as in first half added time up stepped Morten Gamst Pedersen, and he fired home a tremendous free-kick that was a carbon copy of his goal against Wigan Athletic in the previous home encounter. Brad Friedel got a glove to the ball but was unable to stop it finding its place in the top corner of the goals.

It was a deserved end to the half as aside from an Ashley Young shot across goal, Gerard Houllier's side had rarely threatened.

Rovers were dealt a blow at the start of the second half as Gaël Givet was unable to continue through illness. Pascal Chimbonda on as one Frenchman replaced the other at left back.

The visitors who started the second period brightly creating as many chances in two minutes as they had done in the first half.

On 47 minutes Villa worked the ball well through midfield, picking out Ashley Young who shot in an instant, Paul Robinson doing well to parry the ball away.

Villa kept possession and the England man would go even close sixty seconds later, Stewart Downing, cutting in from the flank picked out Ashley Young who rose to power a header goalwards, but as Robinson stood flat-footed, he was fortunate to see the ball slam against the crossbar.

Rovers retaliated with some fine play of their own, after Jason Roberts had got the better of Richard Dunne the ball was fed wide to Hoilett before he swept the ball inside to the unmarked Jones 25 yards out. The 18-year-old had time to control the ball before shooting, but his low effort was straight at Brad Friedel.

Friedel was called into action on 61 minutes saving low as another Pedersen centre flashed into the area, then Jason Roberts sent El-Hadji Diouf racing through but he couldn't beat Friedel with his attempted chip.

The former Rovers stopper was powerless however as Rovers doubled their lead on 66 minutes.

As El-Hadji Diouf sent over a corner from the left the ball came out to Pascal Chimbonda, he saw his effort blocked only for the ball to find Ryan Nelsen, he kept his effort hard and low and Morten Gamst Pedersen stuck out a boot and diverted the ball into the back of the net from six yards out.

That prompted the visitors into a change as Robert Pires came on for Stephen Ireland, Rovers were themselves forced into another change as Pedersen could no longer continue, his replacement Herold Goulon coming on for his senior debut.

Despite being two goals to the good Villa continued to pose a threat, particularly through the inventive play of Stewart Downing and Ashley Young. The two combining on the right to see Downing cut in on his left and shoot, but his vicious effort was beaten away by Robinson.

Nathan Delfouneso replaced the quiet Gabriel Agbonlahor on 78 minutes and a minute later he beat the back line to connect with a ball over, but couldn't get his header on target. Fellow sub Chris Herd saw a header moments after his introduction cleared from a corner.

The visitors kept pressing and probing, pushing Rovers further back but the defence held strong to claim a welcome clean sheet, and another three point haul with their third win in four outings.

Next stop Old Trafford.

ROVERS: Robinson, Salgado, Samba (c), Nelsen, Givet (sub Chimbonda 46 mins), EH Diouf, Dunn, Jones, Pedersen (sub Goulon 72 mins), Hoilett (sub MB Diouf 64 mins), Roberts.

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Kalinić, Hanley, Morris.

ASTON VILLA: Friedel, L. Young, Warnock, Dunne (c), Downing, A. Young, Ireland (sub Pires 68 mins), Agbonlahor (sub Delfouneso 78 mins), Clark, Bannan, Hogg (sub Herd 81 mins).

Subs not used: Guzan (GK), Osbourne, Lichaj, Lowry.

Booked: Clark (Aston Villa)

Attendance: 21,848

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