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Match Report


Posted Sun 23 Jan 11 at 18:04 PM

Report: Rovers 2 West Brom 0

A goal in each half saw Rovers record a comfortable 2-0 win over West Brom to rise up to seventh in the table.

After a start in which the visitors had the better, Rovers slowly came into the match, getting their reward four minutes before half time when the unfortunate Gabriel Tamas headed superbly into his own goal to put Rovers in front on 41 minutes.

The ever-impressive Junior Hoilett soon blasted a second after the restart and from then on there was really only ever going to be one winner.

Jerome Thomas offered the visitors hope but up against Paul Robinson there was to be no way past. The Rovers 'keeper twice denying the Albion winger.

Rovers could have added further goals with Hoilett, Roberts and Santa Cruz all going close in the latter stages on an otherwise comfortable Ewood afternoon.

Ahead of the game Rovers made two changes from the side that faced Chelsea last time out.

There were first starts for transfer window signings Roque Santa Cruz and Jermaine Jones, as Ryan Nelsen missed out with a knee injury. Mame Biram Diouf the other change as he dropped to the bench.

Both new signings were given a warm applause ahead of the game getting underway, they would get similar at the end, but some supporters will have barely made it to their seats when the first chance of the game came and went.

Morten Gamst Pedersen saw his pass intercepted by James Morrison and he fed Peter Odemwingie in an advanced position, the Nigerian shot early but Paul Robinson saved well diving to his right.

A deflected Jerome Thomas effort soon followed, as Paul Scharner did well to collected the ball as Samba and Robinson hesitated.

The visitors were seeing plenty of the ball early on but with Rovers hunting in packs, closing space down well, particularly from debutant Jones, chances for either side were hard to come by.

Slowly Rovers started to come more into the game with David Dunn, Martin Olsson and the ever impressing Junior Hoilett having a greater influence.

Brilliant skill and close control from Hoilett deserved more, but he couldn't pick out a blue and white shirt in the area. Then a centre from Olsson almost picked out Dunn but the ball skimmed unkindly off the head of an Albion defender.

On the half hour the underused Boaz Myhill was called upon to make two saves in quick succession. The first saw Olsson fire through the crowd with the former Hull 'keeper saving with his legs.

Then from the resulting corner kick, Chris Samba made space to turn and shoot, Myhill brilliantly turning the ball aside.

The pressure continued to build, Santa Cruz saw his cutback cleared after fine play by Hoilett, before Samba was inches wide with another drilled effort.

At the other end an an untimely slip by Michel Salgado allowed Jerome Thomas a clear route to goal, but he saw his effort deflect off Samba and into the side netting.

Any thoughts that half time would arrive without the deadlock being broken were extinguished on 41 minutes. David Dunn sending over a pinpoint cross from the right, but whilst it was intended for Niko Kalinic, the ball in fact found Albion defender Gabriel Tamas and he guided a superb header into the top corner of Myhill's goal. Niko couldn't have done any better.

It could have been two moments later, Myhill denying Roque Santa Cruz from close-range.

No sooner had the second half got under way than Rovers were celebrating a second goal.

It started down the left with David Dunn linking up well with Pedersen. Dunn feeding the ball inside for Niko Kalinic to cleverly chest the ball down into the path of Junior Hoilett, and with the panache and confidence of a player at the top of his game the young Canadian smashed the ball into the roof of the net. The force and swerve taking it past Myhill.

A fine way to net your first Premier League goal.

Michel Salgado came close to opening his Premier League account soon after but again Myhill saved well, whilst following quick feet by Dunn, Santa Cruz was set free, but he chose to try to find Kalinic and the chance was gone.

But it was at the other end where the emphasis started to shift, with Paul Robinson worked far too much for Steve Kean's liking.

He had already pulled off a finger tip save to deny Jerome Thomas, before he then saved well diving at the feet of the former Arsenal graduate prompting "too good for England" chants from the Rovers supporters in the WEC Darwen End.

Steven Nzonzi made his long-awaited return to action just past the hour mark, replacing the hard working David Dunn, Jason Roberts also coming on for Kalinic.

But with Thomas continuing to be the proverbial thorn in Rovers' side, Steve Kean made his final change prompting a defensive reshuffle. It saw Grant Hanley coming on to replace Michel Salgado to partner Samba at the back, Givet switched to left back and Olsson moved over to the right. Albion's gain down the left disolved with the switch.

Hoilett was denied by the deflected boot of Tamas, then as a the match entered added time, a superb run by Olsson saw his shot saved by Myhill, but neither Morten Gamst Pedersen nor Jason Roberts could fire home the rebound.

Then there was still time for Roque Santa Cruz to go close, but his curling effort flew the wrong side of the post.

That would have been the cherry on the cake had Roque registered on his return but it mattered not, Rovers playing out the remaining time with ease to register their first double of the season, a hat-trick of home wins, and up to seventh in the table.

It was an afternoon full of positives.

ROVERS: Robinson, Salgado (sub Hanley 76 mins), Samba (c), Givet, Olsson, Hoilett, Dunn (sub Nzonzi 64 mins), Jones, Pedersen, Kalinic (sub Roberts 64 mins), Santa Cruz.

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), EH Diouf, Benjani, MB Diouf.

WEST BROM: Myhill, Olsson, Cech, Morrison (sub Bednar 76 mins), Brunt (c), Thomas, Mulumbu (sub Tchoyi 57 mins), Odemwingie, Tamas, Scharner, Jara.

Subs not used: Carson (GK), Ibanez, Shorey, Zuiverloon, Cox.

Booked: Thomas (West Brom).

Attendance: 24,057

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