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Rovers 1 Charlton 0


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After the disappointment of Saturday's defeat at Villa Park, Rovers bounced back with 1 - 0 home win against Charlton, thanks to a text book header from Australian International Bret Emerton.

Rovers who had dominated the first half eventually got the winning goal five minutes before the break when Ferguson cut the ball back to Thompson, whose pin point cross found Emerton free at the far post and the Australian made no mistake in thundered his header back across the goalmouth into the back of the Charlton net.

These are Souness's players, but what is becoming increasingly obvious, this is Mark Hughes team. To date Hughes has had to work with the players that he inherited and he must take credit for transforming players who performances at times last season were'nt fit to wear the shirt.

A defence that was full of schoolboy errors is now gelling to a point that Friedel is becoming a spectator. Just one save to make all afternoon, admittedly a good save that prevented Charlton a certain goal.

Across the back Todd and Nissa are becoming rock solid in the middle, and dare I say it. Todd is becoming the new Short. Even when he made a mistake, he quickly recovered to snuff out the danger.

Whilst Neill isnt attacking so much his defending is improving, although his jinking run into the 6 yard box late in the game had us all gasping. A surging run by a full back into the opposition penalty area, late in the game also showed how fitter the team is now under Hughes.

Unfortunately Hughes still needs to resolve the left back position as it does give me the shakes when ever the opposition attack down the right.

Although not a cultured player, Flitcrofts battling and hard tackling helps to protect the defence and allows Ferguson more freedom to venture forward.

Emerton who under achieved the most last season is now showing why he was such a sought after player a few seasons ago, even playing on the left and out of position he causes teams problems.

Whist I have mentioned certain individuals, there are no star players, none that the kid on the park can identify with, this is because the players are playing as a team, they are playing as a unit. That is principally why the team isnt conceding goals.

On todays display I wouldnt nominate any one player as man of the match. It was a collective performance of individuals who have gelled as a unit.

If I were to highlight one player it would be Stead, who would get my vote for most unlucky player. He grafted hard today, running into channels and trying to create chances for himself. The shot just before half time, after he'd gone round the defender and cut in from the corner looked a goal all the way, until the Charlton keeper got a hand to it.

Rovers: Friedel, Matteo, Todd, Johansson, Neill, Emerton, Flitcroft, Ferguson, Thompson (Reid 88), Dickov, Stead (Gallagher 80).

Subs Not Used: Pedersen, Enckelman, McEveley.

Booked: Stead, Matteo.

Goals: Emerton 41.

Charlton: Kiely, Hreidarsson (Hughes 71), Fortune, El Karkouri, Young, Kishishev (Euell 60), Holland, Murphy, Rommedahl, Johansson, Thomas (Konchesky 60).

Subs Not Used: Stuart, Andersen.

Booked: Rommedahl, Hreidarsson, Young.

Ref: A Wiley

Att: 19,819.

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