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Rovers 0 Everton 0


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Having not watched Everton a great deal this season it is difficult to say whether they had a bad day on Saturday, what was clear on the evidence against Rovers, as the Blackburn End chanted, Champions League Your Having a Laugh.

It was clear from the start, Moyes’s tactics was to pack his midfield, defend deep and rely on the break away, which only reflects as a complement on how far Mark Hughes has brought the team on in the last few weeks.

If aliens had arrived at Ewood on Saturday, with no knowledge of the teams, based on the team that dominated most of the game, they would have clearly mistaken Rovers as the team second in the league whilst Everton looked like a team void of ideas and struggling at the foot of the table. For Rovers it was a game where to points were lost, but for Everton it was one point thankfully gained.

Whilst Friedel hardly raised a sweat, only having to par away a chest height shot from Marcus Bent, Nigel Martyn had to earn his wages and without timely clearances by his defenders, including a clearance off the line by Hibbert, he would have been picking up the ball from the back of the net, on more than one occasion. The one occasion that he did, after substitute Gallagher had broken through was ruled as being offside by the ref’s assistant.

Rovers for their part, whilst being the dominant attacking force throughout the game, even with the loss of Craig Short in the 20th minute where never troubled at the back, with substitute Nissa Johansson having a sound game in his preferred position of centre back. Johansson’s defensive partner Todd made one of the most bizarre tackles of the season and got booked for his endeavor, when after loosing possession dived head first across the path of an Everton player, could have been Cahill, but I was laughing to much at the time to take note. Todd’s ground height dive wouldn’t have gone amiss at Twickenham and although it was not a dirty challenge it did block the Everton attack, resulting in Todd getting the only Rovers yellow card of the afternoon.

For their part Everton received two yellow cards, whether referee Halsey was making allowances for the game being a North West derby but another referee may not have been so lenient on the Merseysiders methods of blocking players and holding up play. Whilst Bothroyd continued to end up on his backside, Dickov must have wondered whether there was a sign on his back saying, climb all over me.

Bothroyd and Dickov, now there lies a tale, whilst there is no complaints regarding their work rate, for strikers they are goal shy. Having sorted out the defence, Rovers attacking force is now a crucial factor that Mark Hughes must now address. Whilst sound at the back, (touch wood, fingers crossed,) we are not scoring, a crucial factor if we are to gain maximum points. Gallagher looked the business when he came on as sub, but unfortunately he never performs to his full potential whenever he starts a game.

With the game coming to a close it looked as if Rovers would get their just reward when, Emerton, who had given Everton’s defence a torrid time all afternoon, unleashed a shot from 20 yards only to see it clip the upright and go out for a goal kick.

For Everton, it was a point gained, but on Saturdays display Rovers have more chance of Champions League football next season, than the Merseysiders.

Rovers: Friedel, Neill, Todd, Short (Johansson 21), Matteo, Reid, Flitcroft, Ferguson, Emerton, Dickov, Bothroyd (Gallagher 83).

Subs Not Used: Stead, Pedersen, Enckelman.

Booked: Todd.

Everton: Martyn, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Carsley, Osman (McFadden 64), Gravesen, Cahill (Ferguson 63), Kilbane, Bent (Watson 87).

Subs Not Used: Wright, Yobo.

Booked: Hibbert, Carsley.

Att: 25,191.

Ref: M Halsey

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