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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 24 Feb 15 at 21:45 PM

Report: Rovers 1 Norwich City 2

A second half comeback from Norwich City saw Rovers taste defeat on Tuesday night.

Goals from Cameron Jerome and Bradley Johnson cancelled out first half Alex Baptiste's opener as the Canaries registered a fifth win in a row and inflicted a fourth home defeat on Rovers.

After an even start it was Rovers who grabbed the opener at the midway point. Tom Cairney floating a free-kick into the box that was met by the head of defender Baptiste.

Rovers had done well to hold Norwich at bay but under increasing pressure the visitors drew level on 65 minutes when second half sub Jerome fired home at the back post.

Both sides had half chances as the match entered the closing stages but it was settled by a superb strike from Johnson with six minutes to go. The midfielder finding the top corner with a sweet shot from outside the area.

Rovers pressed to the end with Cairney and Gestede both seeing efforts blocked to leave the home side empty handed.


It was a fast and furious start under the Ewood lights, but there was little fluidity on show. The ball spent plenty of time in the air during the first 20 minutes with neither side able to make headway.

In the battle of the twins it was the Olsson of Rovers who was seeing more of the ball, although it was Martin Olsson who had the first meaningful chance of the game on 19 minutes.

A diagonal ball over the back of the Rovers defence from Bradley Johnson saw the Norwich full back race to connect but the former Ewood favourite's touch let him down when it counted.

Aside from an early cross that Rudy Gestede couldn't quite reach, Rovers had been contained well as an attacking force, so it was somewhat of a surprise when they took the lead at the midway point of the half.

After Craig Conway got the better of fellow Scot Steven Whittaker to the left of the Norwich box, the Rovers midfielder was upended.  Tom Cairney took the resulting free-kick and his centre was perfectly met by Alex Baptiste who headed home his third of the season.

The Canaries should have been level 90 seconds later as Olsson teed up Lewis Grabban, but with the goal at his mercy the striker mis-kicked.

The visitors ended the first half strongly with Rovers defending stoutly. Jonathan Howson and Grabban both firing over when well placed, whilst Baptiste and Grant Hanley both made important blocks at crucial times.

Rovers made a change at the break with Josh King coming on for Jordan Rhodes in an attempt to exploit the spaces amongst the Norwich defence.

And although the Norwegian soon showed Sebastien Bassong a clean pair of heels with a typical run from the forward, it brought about a premature end to King's evening as he pulled up shortly afterwards.

That meant a second change in the space of just six minutes as Ben Marshall was sent on as his replacement.

But a change for the visitors proved to be the catalyst for the turnaround as Norwich sent on Cameron Jerome for Nathan Redmond.

Just ten minutes after his introduction, the experienced striker made his mark, finding space at the back post to blast Wes Hoolahan's centre through the legs of Jason Steele and into the net.

Rovers went straight up the other end in a bid to regain the lead and it almost came courtesy of an own goal as Baptiste's centred. But as Johnson diverted the ball towards his own goal, keeper John Ruddy was alert to the danger to push the ball aside.

The Canaries came back with a series of chances. Howson fizzing a 25-yarder just wide, before seeing a first time shot well saved by Steele.

But with six minutes to go Norwich grabbed the goal that would give them all three points.

Rovers closed the space down on the edge of the box as Howson looked to shoot, instead it came out to Johnson who, in a striking similarity to the goal he scored at Carrow Road back in August, curled the ball into the top right corner of Steele's goal.

Steele then stopped the visitors from stretching their advantage with a superb save to thwart Jerome as the clock ticked into added time.

Rovers pressed to the end for a share of the spoils, Tom Cairney seeing a shot blocked by Bassong before Gestede saw a header stopped in the six-yard box.

Steele came up for a last-gasp corner, but the Canaries saw out the danger to ensure they would leave Ewood with all three points.

ROVERS: Steele, Baptiste, Hanley (c), Kilgallon, Olsson, Cairney, Spearing (sub Brown 80 mins), Evans, Conway, Rhodes (sub King 46 mins (sub Marshall 52 mins)), Gestede.

Subs not used: Eastwood (GK), Henley, Williamson, Duffy.

Goals: Baptiste 22 mins.

Booked: Spearing.

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy, Whittaker, Johnson, Martin (c), Grabban, Howson, Hoolahan (sub Andreu 82 mins), Redmond (sub Jerome 54 mins), Olsson, Bassong, Dorrans (sub Tettey 66 mins).

Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Turner, Garrido, Josh Murphy.

Goals: Jerome 65 mins, Johnson 84 mins.

Booked: None.

Attendance: 13,530 (including 1060 visiting supporters).

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