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Match Report


Posted Tue 20 Mar 12 at 22:12 PM

Report: Rovers 2 Sunderland 0

Goals from Junior Hoilett and Yakubu saw Rovers comfortably see off Sunderland at Ewood Park.

After a first half in which Rovers dominated without reward, the goals eventually arrived in the second.

The deadlock was broken just before the hour mark when man of the moment Junior Hoilett lashed home from 12 yards from Morten Gamst Pedersen's throw into the area to put Rovers in command.

But the visitors should have equalised but Ji Dong-Won missed a glorious chance with 12 minutes remaining.

Rovers reaped the rewards of their hard work by grabbing a deserved second three minutes from time, Yakubu powering a header home from Bradley Orr's pinpoint cross.

The win sees Rovers claim another vital three points, they now lie five points ahead of the teams below them.

Despite having Gael Givet, David Dunn and Bradley Orr at his disposal Steve Kean kept faith with the same starting eleven that saw Rovers claim a 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out, and after just three minutes that almost paid dividends.

As Steven Nzonzi fizzed the ball up to Yakubu he chested the ball down for Junior Hoilett, who, despite being held by Michael Turner, he managed to break free, the Canadian returned the ball to Yakubu in the area but as he lifted his effort over the advancing Simon Mignolet, Sunderland captain Phil Bardsley arrived in the nick of time to acrobatically clear off the line.

Then on ten minutes Martin Olsson broke into the area on the overlap, but his near post effort was blocked by the legs of the Sunderland stopper, the rebound fell back to the younger Olsson but he fired over the bar with his second attempt.

A needed clearance from Jason Lowe soon followed as Sebastian Larsson's deep cross threatened, the young Rover just getting to the ball at the back post ahead of James McClean.

Rovers responded with a chance of their own, Grant Hanley glancing Morten Gamst Pedersen's free-kick narrowly wide.

Rovers continued to pose the greater threat with some neat interplay but without getting their efforts on target. Pedersen and Hoilett both saw free-kicks into the area cleared, whilst Mauro Formica fired wide on the half volley.

As the half drew to a close Sunderland started to come more into the game. Only a great tackle from Grant Hanley prevented Fraizer Campbell from getting a shot away after chesting the ball down well in the area, whilst Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos failed to connect on two occasions from dangerous corner kicks.

As referee Martin Atkinson blew the half-time whistle, Rovers had edged the first half but lacked the goals to show for it.

The second half wasn't as quick to get going as the first but like the opening half it was Rovers creating the first meaningful effort.

After Yakubu and Hoilett had combined the ball was played back to Morten Gamst Pedersen who drove the ball into the area it deflected nicely for Mauro Formica who left fly with a superb left-footed strike but Simon Mignolet was equal to it with a fine save diving to his right.

Just before the hour mark the deadline was finally broken and it was through man of the moment Junior Hoilett. It followed a similar pattern to the first goal the previous time at Wolves. Morten Gamst Pedersen with a throw into the area, the ball falling to the Canadian on the penalty spot and he volleyed home with a sweet left-footed strike.

Three minutes later and it was almost two. Again it was a Pedersen throw into the penalty area, this time Scott Dann got up to glance the ball an inch the wrong side of the far post.

Sunderland had rarely shown any attacking threat, but Martin Olsson was alert to make a tremendous tackle on 71 minutes when a ball across the area found McClean, the young Irishman fired it low across the area and just as it seemed that Nicklas Bendtner would score the Swede thwarted the Dane.

Black Cats boss Martin O'Neill responded by bringing on Ji Dong-Won for the hard working Campbell and within six minutes the Korean would spurn a gilt-edged chance to level.

Again the ball was worked down the left and as McClean cut it back across the area the striker fired over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Bradley Orr was brought on for Mauro Formica to shore up the right side of midfield for the final ten minutes but it was through his attacking play that Rovers grabbed a deserved second.

Steven Nzonzi started the 87th minute move, striding forward in possession before playing it wide for Bradley Orr to run onto, he advanced with pace before sending over a carbon copy of his bal for David Dunn to score against Aston Villa, this time it was the Yak who rose high to head home his 15th of the season.

For the second week in succession Rovers saw out time comfortably to once again claim a 2-0 victory.

ROVERS: Robinson (c), Lowe, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson, Formica (sub Orr 79 mins), Nzonzi, Pedersen, Marcus Olsson, Hoilett, Yakubu.

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Givet, Dunn, Modeste, Petrovic, Goodwillie.

SUNDERLAND: Mignolet, Bardsley (c), Bridge (sub Colback 77 mins), Turner, Larsson, Gardner, Campbell (sub Ji 72 mins), Vaughan, McClean, Kyrgiakos, Bendtner.

Subs not used: Gordon (GK), Wickham, Kilgallon, Meyler, Elmohamady.

Booked: Campbell (Sunderland)

Attendance: 20,056

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