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Match Reports

Match Report : 12/01/2016

12 January 2016

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Report: Rovers 1 QPR 1

Hope Akpan rescued a point for Rovers in a 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers at Ewood Park.

The midfielder's header five minutes from time was the least the home side deserved after peppering the Hoops' goal for long spells.

Rovers started brightly but found themselves down at the midway point of the half, a counter-attack from the visitors ending with Leroy Fer firing home.

Rovers pressed for a way back into the game, but just as it looked like their efforts wouldn't be rewarded, they finally grabbed the leveller.

Ben Marshall's long throw eluded everyone at the near post and Akpan popped up at the back to head home.

Rovers could have clinched all three points in a frantic end to the match but Joe Lumley saved Jordan Rhodes' header.

Having not been involved in the FA Cup at the weekend, Paul Lambert made three changes from the side that faced Cardiff City ten days ago.

Elliott Bennett was handed a debut following his arrival from Norwich, Corry Evans returned from injury, whilst Tommy Spurr was back in the starting line-up for the first time since facing Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road last September.

Spurr's involvement on that day lasted mere minutes as he was stretchered off with concussion, but the defender would create the first opening for Rovers at Ewood on this occasion. His corner from the right was met powerfully by the head of Shane Duffy but the Irishman planted the ball just the wrong side of the post.

Former Rover Junior Hoilett had a lively opening, forcing Jason Steele into an early save, before the Canadian was denied by excellent defending by Ben Marshall after he had gotten the better of Duffy.

Then just past the quarter hour Ben Marshall was played into the penalty area by Jordan Rhodes, his square ball was kept alive by Craig Conway for Evans to shoot, Joe Lumley couldn't hold, but Rhodes couldn't take advantage of the situation.

But just past the midway point of the half it was the visitors who grabbed the opening goal on the counter-attack.

Quick thinking by Sebastian Polter set Hoilett racing clear and whilst his centre missed Matt Phillips - and Steele in the process - that allowed Leroy Fer the simple task of finding the back of the net.

Boosted by that goal Rangers looked confident in possession, striker Polter threatened, before Rovers were fortunate that Nedum Onuoha couldn't make the most of a corner falling to him on the edge of the six-yard box.

With Rovers struggling to get out of their own half, Paul Konchesky then put a ball into the box that Matt Phillips headed down to Polter, but Steele made an important close-range save.

Marshall looked to inject some much-needed urgency into the home side's play with a strong forward run, but after Conway's cross was put back by Bennett, Rhodes couldn't get his acrobatic shot on target.

Rovers started to build a head of steam as the first half drew to a close. Following a scramble from a corner, only a last-gasp challenge from James Perch prevented Rhodes from getting a shot on target, before another strong forward run from Marshall saw him pick out Duffy with his centre, but his downward header was straight at Lumley. The offside flag was raised regardless.

Then on the stroke of half-time another set-piece saw Rovers threaten further, however Duffy's back post header was scrambled off the line to safety.

The start of the second half saw the Hoops look the livelier of the two sides without ever putting Rovers under any undue pressure, whilst at the other end the long throws of Spurr were dealt well by Lumley in the opposition goal who was making his first league start.

Needing something to get back into the game, Paul Lambert made a double change as Chris Brown and Darragh Lenihan replaced Tom Lawrence and Corry Evans. Lenihan immediately signalling his intentions with a crunching challenge on Hoilett, whilst Brown kept the centre-halves busy.

Shane Duffy had played in every minute in the league this season but on 77 minutes his match was over. The Irishman had come off worse after a challenge with Polter and eventually limped off to be replaced by Lee Williamson with Lenihan moving back alongside Grant Hanley.

A minute later Rovers managed their first meaningful effort on target in the second half, but as a ball to the back post was met by Tommy Spurr, his header was easily claimed by Lumley.

Rovers continued to press QPR back in the closing ten minutes, Bennett saw a close-range shot somehow kept out, before a ball into the box ricocheted off the shins of Brown but away to safety.

But their efforts were rewarded five minutes from time when Rovers finally got back on level terms.

Ben Marshall sent a long throw into the box, the bounce of the ball eluded everybody at the near post but Hope Akpan was there to nod home at the back.

It was Rovers' first Blackburn End goal since September.

Roared on by a renewed home crowd, suddenly it was Rovers with their tails up, Marshall sending Spurr forward down the left, his cross was met by the head of Rhodes, but Lumley made the save low down.

Yet at the other end Jason Steele almost handed the visitors the points when his clearance went straight at Polter, but the rebound was kind to the keeper and he gratefully claimed the ball.

The home side kept pressing until the end, but when Rangers cleared away a last-gasp corner.

A share of the points was the right result, as Rangers were the better in the first half, Rovers just edging the second.

ROVERS: Steele, Marshall, Duffy (sub Williamson 77 mins), Hanley (c), Spurr, Bennett, Evans (sub Lenihan 66 mins), Akpan, Conway, Lawrence (sub Brown 66 mins), Rhodes.

Subs not used: Raya (GK), Henley, Olsson, Taylor.

Goals: Akpan 85 mins.

Booked: None

QPR: Lumley, Hall, Onuoha (c), Phillips (sub Petrasso 88 mins), Fer, Konchesky, Faurlin, Henry, Hoilett (sub Chery 90+1 mins), Perch, Polter.

Sub not used: Hudnott (GK), Mackie, Luongo, Angella, Tozser.

Goals: Fer 24 mins.

Booked: None

Attendance: 12,285 (including 335 visiting supporters)

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