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Match Report


Posted Mon 02 Apr 12 at 21:59 PM

Report: Rovers 0 Man Utd 2

Rovers were undone by two late goals as they couldn't repeat their New Years Eve heroics.

At Old Trafford on the last day of 2011 Rovers surprised all with a 3-2 win, but although they were in the match for three-quarters of the game at Ewood Park goals in the last ten minute from Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young broke Rovers' resolve.

The first half had seen the visitors start strongly with Rovers having the better as it drew to a close, Hernandez and Carrick going close for the visitors before De Gea denied Marcus Olsson and Grant Hanley with sublime saves.

The second half followed a similar pattern with both sides having spells of pressure. Rovers had the ball in the net on the hour when Pedersen fired home but Nzonzi had taken the ball out of play before finding the Norwegian.

Robinson saved from Rooney and Rafael before Yakubu spurned two great chances to put Rovers in front, and that would prove costly as first Valencia (81) and then Young (86) scored stunning goals to settle the match.

For Rovers, they battle on in their bid to avoid the drop, for United, they edge ever closer to a 20th title.

Ahead of the game Steve Kean made just the one change from the side that lost away at Bolton. Bradley Orr coming in with Mauro Formica dropping to the bench.

Jason Lowe retained his place in the starting eleven despite breaking his hand at the Reebok last time out, he moved into midfield as Orr went to right back, but there was no place for Gael Givet due to hamstring trouble.

With a chance to put daylight between themselves and rivals Manchester City at the top of the table the visitors started strongly with three opportunities within the opening 15 minutes.

On seven a pinpoint cross from Wayne Rooney out on the left saw the ball find Javier Hernandez in the area but the Mexican touched the ball wide of goal.

Then four minutes later and Chicharito would go closer from an Antonio Valencia centre, poking the ball goalwards at the near post it needed quick reactions from Paul Robinson to reach backwards to stop the ball from going over the line.

United continued their early pressure as Michael Carrick took advantage as space opened up in front of him to shoot, but his effort flashed over the bar.

It took Rovers 18 minutes to fashion an effort at the opposition goal but it required a fine save from David De Gea to thwart. A ball out of defence from Grant Hanley saw Yakubu flick the ball onto Junior Hoilett and as he outpaced Michael Carrick the forward let fly only to see the United number one make a fine one-handed save.

That attack was brief respite as United came back on the attack, Jonny Evans shooting tamely at Robinson before former Rover Phil Jones headed wide from Valencia's centre.

But as the first half drew to a close it was Rovers who went close to breaking the deadlock on two occasions with a spell of pressure.

On 45 a long throw from Pedersen saw Hoilett pressure Evra and as the ball landed for Marcus Olsson outside the area he struck the ball sweetly towards goal, it seemed certain to be heading to the top corner for the Swede's first Rovers goal but again De Gea denied with a stupendous one-handed save.

From the resulting corner Rovers threatened once more, again it was Pedersen with the delivery, Grant Hanley rising without pressure to head goalwards but the Spanish stopper tipped the ball over the bar.

Neither side made a change at the interval as Rovers fashioned the first chance of the second half when Bradley Orr sent a ball into the box which Scott Dann glanced wide.

Play then went up the other end with Wayne Rooney firing wide after cutting in from the left before the England striker tested Paul Robinson from 20 yards with a free-kick, the Rovers number one taking no chances in pushing the ball wide.

Robinson was called into action once more on 57 minutes when defender Rafael Da Silva left his right back berth to advance, the Rovers goalkeeper choosing to push the shot from the Brazilian away from danger.

Then it was Rovers' turn to press once more, Yakubu couldn't take advantage of a Michael Carrick error when he lashed over the bar from distance, before the Nigerian fired wide at the near post from Pedersen's through ball.

Danny Welbeck came on for Javier Hernandez with Ryan Giggs soon following in place of Phil Jones as United switched to 4-4-2, but not before a Morten Gamst Pedersen free-kick saw De Gea save low, Rio Ferdinand quickest to react to the rebound to clear.

A minute later and Pedersen would have the ball in the back of the net, but as Steven Nzonzi pulled the ball back from the byline it had just crossed behind. The Norwegian lashed home in fine style but it wouldn't count.

Play then switched back to the other end with the red side's turn to press. Scott Dann blocked well after Patrice Evra burst into the box, defensive partner Grant Hanley headed away a Giggs corner kick, before Bradley Orr robbed Evra as the Frenchman threatened.

Two Rovers chances in the space of three minutes in the final quarter could have seen the home side take the lead. Hoilett found Pedersen who slipped the ball into Marcus Olsson in the area, he looked for Yakubu five yards out but Evans made a vital tackle.

Then from a Pedersen throw into the box Scott Dann flicked, Junior Hoilett nodded but again Yakubu failed to find the target as he acrobatically flicked wide.

A minute later and Rovers would regret those spurned opportunities as the visitors took an 81st minute lead thanks to a quite stupendous shot. There seemed little on as Antonio Valencia advanced into the penalty area on the right but the former Wigan man took the ball outside Martin Olsson before lashing an unstoppable shot across goal and into the far corner of the goal. Robinson had no chance.

Five minutes later and the lead was doubled and again there was little Rovers could do about it as Ashley Young, on for only five minutes, took the ball along the edge of the area before firing low into the bottom left corner of the net.

Stunned by the two goals in five minutes Rovers couldn't offer a response, they had more than played their part in a fantastic match of football, but unlike the side at the top of the table they just lacked that little extra when it mattered.

ROVERS: Robinson, Orr, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson, Lowe, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Marcus Olsson, Hoilett, Yakubu.s

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Dunn, Modeste, Formica, Petrovic, Rochina, Henley.

MAN UTD: De Gea, Evra, Jones (sub Giggs 63 mins), Ferdinand, Evans, Rooney, Hernandez (sub Welbeck 61 mins), Carrick, Rafael, Scholes (sub Young 79 mins), Valencia.

Subs not used: Amos (GK), Smalling, Park, Pogba.

Booked: Hanley (Rovers), Valencia (Man Utd).

Attendance: 26,532

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