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Match Reports

Match Report : 08/03/2016

8 March 2016

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Report: Rovers 2 Birmingham 0

Rovers recorded a fourth straight home league win with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Birmingham City.

First half goals from Tony Watt and Danny Graham were enough for the home side to claim yet another victory at Ewood Park.

The game sprang to life on 20 minutes when Corry Evans clipped a ball to the back post for Shane Duffy to nod down and Watt poked home.

Then three minutes later Rovers doubled their advantage as Graham slammed in after collecting a Jason Steele ball upfield.

Tommy Spurr, as well as goalscorers Watt and Graham, could have stretched the home side's advantage in the second half, whilst Jacques Maghoma and Michael Morrison, who hit the post, went close for the visitors.

With the side working hard in front of him Steele had little to do in the Rovers goal, but he showed fine reactions to keep a Diego Fabbrini shot out in the closing stages to ensure all three points for Paul Lambert's men.

After an opening where Rovers saw plenty of the ball without posing too much of a threat, it was the recalled players Corry Evans and Tony Watt that played a key role in putting the home side in front on 20 minutes.

A throw from Ben Marshall saw Evans deliver to the back of the area to where Shane Duffy nodded down and Watt showed good close control to turn and prod home from six yards for his first league goal for the Rovers.

Birmingham, who were unchanged from last Thursday's win over Hull City, had kept six clean sheets in their last eight outings, but three minutes later Rovers were celebrating a second goal.

As striker Clayton Donaldson went down in the box at one end, Jason Steele showed great awareness to send a long ball upfield, Danny Graham showed excellent strength to hold off Paul Robinson before firing through the goalkeeper's legs and into the back of the net.

The Rovers front two continued to pose problems for the visiting defence, Tomasz Kuszczak had to save bravely as Watt chased a Graham flick. Then the two combined once more but the Scot miscued his shot.

As Rovers looked for a third before the break Darragh Lenihan showed great tenacity to win the ball in midfield, but the Irishman's shot from distance flashed over the bar.

After offering little as an attacking force in the first half, the visitors made a change at the break with Diego Fabbrini replacing Maikel Kieftenbeld to add more going forward.

Yet it was Rovers who spurned three quick-fire chances to stretch their advantage.

On 55 a Marshall free-kick dropped for Watt in the area, his shot was blocked but the ball ran to Tommy Spurr coming in at the back post but his effort was somehow kept out.

Then as Rovers maintained their pressure an Elliott Bennett centre picked out Watt, but his header was straight at Kuszczak.

The Birmingham stopper was quickly called upon once more as Marshall sent Graham racing forwards, he blasted goalwards but the Polish international made an impressive save.

However the visitors hit back with two chances of their own inside sixty seconds. 

A spell of possession saw them work the ball into the area as Jacques Maghoma tried to bundle the ball home, as Grant Hanley looked the clear, the ball struck Bennett but thankfully the ball bounced behind.

Then from the resulting corner kick Rovers failed to clear their lines, Michael Morrison saw his first shot blocked, the second bounce off the post and away.

In what was becoming an increasing stretched encounter Watt flashed a shot just wide following an interception by Lenihan, before half-time substitute Diego Fabbrini ghosted past two challenges before letting fly but Steele made a fantastic save diving to his left.

The closing stages saw boss Paul Lambert shuffle his his pack with Simeon Jackson and Chris Brown sent on, and with Duffy, Hanley, Marshall and Spurr peerless at the back, Rovers were able to snuff out any further threats to close the game out comfortably to claim yet another home win.

ROVERS: Steele, Marshall, Duffy, Hanley (c), Spurr, Lenihan, Evans, Bennett, J. Gomez (sub Grimes 50 mins), Watt (sub Jackson 64 mins), Graham (sub Brown 86 mins).

Subs not used: Raya (GK), Ward, Akpan, Conway.

Goals: Watt 20 mins, Graham 23 mins.

Booked: J. Gomez, Bennett, Evans, Lenihan.

BIRMINGHAM: Kuszczak, Grounds, Robinson, Kieftenbeld (sub Fabbrini 46 mins), Gleeson, Donaldson, Cotterill (sub Buckley 64 mins), Maghoma (sub Solomon-Otabor 79 mins), Toral, Morrison (c), Caddis.

Subs not used: Legzdins (GK), Spector, Davis, Shotton.

Goals: None.

Booked: Grounds.

Attendance: 12,774 (including 793 visiting supporters)

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