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Match Report


Posted Sat 13 Aug 11 at 17:04 PM

Report: Rovers 1 Wolves 2

Rovers suffered an opening day defeat as Wolves avenged last season's end of season loss with a 2-1 Ewood win.

It had started well for Rovers when Mauro Formica marked his Premier League debut with the opening goal of the game, rewarding Jason Roberts' hard work with a fine left-foot finish.

But the visitors levelled almost immediately when Stephen Fletcher rose at the back post to head home Matt Jarvis' centre.

No sooner had the second half got underway then Wolves were awarded a spot-kick after Salgado was adjudged to have fouled Jarvis in the area. Paul Robinson comfortably saved Kevin Doyle's tame effort, but as Rovers cleared to the edge of the area, Stephen Ward lashed the ball into the corner of the net.

Substitutes Ruben Rochina and David Goodwillie both went close, but it was a disappointing day for the Ewood faithful.

Ahead of the big kick-off Rovers were forced into a defensive reshuffle as three of their recognised back four were absent.

With Ryan Nelsen (knee), Chris Samba (groin) and Gael Givet (illness) all missing it meant Steven Nzonzi was employed as a makeshift centre half alongside Grant Hanley.

Up front Mauro Formica was making his Premier League debut alongside Jason Roberts, whilst the bench saw a host of potential debutants with Nick Blackman, David Goodwillie, Bruno Ribeiro, Myles Anderson and Adam Henley all named as substitutes for the first time.

Just four minutes in and Rovers thought they were in front. Morten Gamst Pedersen sending over a cross from the right that Junior Hoilett reached to poke goalwards, but Wayne Hennessey got his hand to the ball right on the line to stop the ball from crossing.

Rovers edged the following proceedings, corners from Pedersen and David Dunn causing consternation in the Wolves area, with the deadlock eventually being broken on 20 minutes.

A forward ball saw Jason Roberts brilliantly to hold off the attentions of Christophe Berra to work the ball wide to Mauro Formica. The young Argentine still had work to do as he let the ball roll across his body before firing a superb left-footed strike that crept into the far post despite Hennessey getting a hand to the effort. The Rovers players separated into two camps, one to celebrate with Roberts, the other with goalscorer Formica.

But the lead lasted just two minutes as the visitors levelled with a well worked move of their own.

Attacking down the right flank Wolves found space in the area for Matt Jarvis on the far edge of the area and he sent over a cross to the back post where Stephen Fletcher rose above Michel Salgado and into the back of the net.

Suddenly Wolves had their tails up, Fletcher headed wide from a corner kick, whilst Stephen Hunt should have done better after tricking his way into the area, firing high over Paul Robinson's bar from close range, then Roger Johnson headed over as they broke quickly.

Rovers ended the half with the greater possession and the greater threat, the movement of the frontline causing problems, but they couldn't carve open a stubborn Wolves defence to fashion any clear cut chances.

After new signing Radosav Petrovic was introduced to the crowd at the break, the start of the second half saw Rovers dealt a blow when Brett Emerton failed to reappear due to a hamstring injury, Ruben Rochina on has his replacement.

Then within thirty seconds another blow was dealt Rovers as the referee deemed Michel Salgado's challenge on Jarvis in the area to be illegal and pointed straight to the spot much to the Spaniard's horror.

Kevin Doyle stepped up but tamely hit the spot-kick to Robinson's left, the Rovers number one guessing the right way, but Stephen Fletcher kept play alive and although his cross was punched clear by Robinson, Stephen Hunt lashed the ball back with venom into the bottom corner of the net to give the visitors the lead.

Not the start to the second half that anyone associated with Rovers would have asked for.

Rovers looked for a quick way back, Morten Gamst Pedersen going close direct from a corner, David Dunn and Junior Hoilett saw efforts deflect wide, whilst Mauro Formica headed over when well placed.

But the best chance of that spell came on 65 minutes when from a Dunn corner Steven Nzonzi headed goalwards but Berra turned the ball behind.

David Goodwillie made his Premier League bow on 72 minutes, replacing Morten Gamst Pedersen, the young Scot given a hearty welcome by the Ewood faithful.

Rovers certainly weren't short of forward players, only the back four were recognised as defensive-minded. But despite this they had only a Ruben Rochina effort - a yard wide after good work by Junior Hoilett - to show as they struggled to pick open a resolute Wolves.

David Goodwillie almost did that when he turned his man in the box, but his curling effort was inches wide.

Steven Nzonzi was sent forward in the final exchanges but he got a booking for his troubles for being a little enthusiastic in the attacking third to cap a miserable day for Rovers.

ROVERS: Robinson (c), Salgado, Olsson, Emerton (sub Rochina 46 mins), Dunn, Formica (sub Blackman 84 mins), Pedersen (sub Goodwillie 72 mins), Nzonzi, Hoilett, Roberts, Hanley.

Subs: not used Bunn (GK), Bruno, Anderson, Henley.

WOLVES: Hennessey, Stearman (sub Foley 48 mins), Henry, Fletcher, Ward, Hunt (sub Maierhofer 90 mins), Johnson (c), Berra, Jarvis (sub Elokobi 76 mins), O'Hara, Doyle.

Subs not used: De Vries (GK), Ebanks-Blake, Hammill, Milijas.

Booked: Dunn, Emerton, Roberts, Nzonzi (Rovers), Johnson, Stearman (Wolves)

Attendance: 21,996

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