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Rovers 1 Leicester 0


Alan75
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Terrible game, crap performance, great result. And in the cup the result is all that matters.

We lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation with the same team that started against Everton. This was odd. Stead finally scores a goal and looks confident again, we're playing against a lower division team who show no ambition at all, we're at home, yet we leave Stead on the bench and only play one up front. Oh well.

We started off ok and gradually got worse as the first half wore on. In the first 3 minutes Pedersen hit a cracking free-kick from about 25 yards out onto the post - Walker was just watching it and hoping. Then about 10 minutes later Dickov was played through but rushed his shot when composure was required.

And that was about it from us. We had lots of possession, passed the ball neatly at times, and created absolutely nothing. Leicester worked hard to deny us space in the final third but we made it easy for them by lacking any sort of width or creativity. As the half wore on Leicester came in to it more, kept the ball a bit better, and started to exert some pressure. They never really looked like scoring though and only had a snapshot from a half-cleared corner to show for their efforts.

0-0 at half-time and a very bored crowd.

We started the second half as badly as we'd finished the first. Leicester set the tempo, pushed a few more men forward, and comfortably contained what little threat we had. Changes had to be made and Stead came on around the hour mark to replace Mokoena, meaning a change in formation to 4-4-2. Not much changed though. We still huffed and puffed without looking dangerous at all.

Emerton came on for Reid with around 25 minutes to go and that seemed to be the catalyst for us to slowly get on top. Straight away Emerton beat his full-back and crossed for Pedersen to "score", only to have the game brought back for an earlier foul on Emerton. To be fair, the Leicester players had stopped once they heard the whistle, allowing Pedersen in. But the incident gave us a lift and we started to stretch the game and get behind a tiring Leicester team for the first time in the match.

Another good cross from Emerton fizzed across goal where the in-coming Neill seemed to be pulled back before he could apply the finish. Should have been a penalty. Pedersen then fired a close to the corner flag free-kick across the six yard box that somehow managed to evade any sort of touch.

The breakthrough eventually came with ten minutes to go. A cracking cross-field ball from Neill was instantly controlled by Pedersen. He drove into the area, drew the defenders tackle with a neat back-heal, and was brought down for a nailed on penalty. The ref waited what seemed like an age before giving it. Dickov stepped up and blasted the ball into the net without any sort of finesse at all. Who cares?

Leicester threw on their subs and had a real go towards the end but we survived reasonably comfortably to see out the game.

4-1-4-1 worked so well at Everton because Everton were committed to attacking, being the home team. The formation allowed us soak up their attacks and hit them on the break with runners from midfield linking up with the lone forward. At home though, against a team who weren't remotely interested in attack, it didn't work. There was no space to break into, any runners were easily tracked, and our lone forward was marked out of the game. Our wide players lacked the pace or creativity to beat their markers and nobody in a Rovers shirt had the skill or courage to run at Leicester and try to commit some of their players. Instead we knocked the ball around in an attempt to draw them out - they stayed put.

What it did do though was tire them out, and our superior fitness showed at the end. Once we'd switched to 4-4-2, once Stead and especially Emerton had been introduced, we started to exploit the spaces that appeared late on and created some chances at last.

Friedel had nothing to do. Johansson was beaten once or twice by Gillespie but did ok in the main. Neill played well, especially in the second half when he pushed forward well at times and set-up the penalty. Probably my man of the match. Todd and Nelsen coped well with their giant forward although I didn't think nelsen was quite as composed as he usually is.

Thompson wasn't great and gave the ball away at times. Reid was solid enough, tackled well, won headers, but didn't give us much going forward. Ditto Flitcroft. Mokoena was excellent as a defensive midfielder and covered the defence superbly. Emerton made a real impact when he came on and we should have scored from one of his crosses before the penalty.

Dickov was poor today and seemed more interested in scrapping with Leicester's defenders, but he's scored the goal that's sent us into the semi-final so that'll do for me. To be fair to him, he had preciously little supply. Stead did ok without ever really getting a chance at goal.

We played crap, I think we started with the wrong formation, and I'm sure any neutrals watching on TV must be wondering how the hell we're in the semi's. But we are there and I'm delighted. If we keep playing crap and winning all the way to lifting the cup no-one on here will care.

Roll on Cardiff, we're unbeaten there remember.

Match report written by Scotty

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Todd, Nelsen, Johansson, Mokoena (Stead 56), Thompson, Flitcroft, Reid (Emerton 67), Pedersen, Dickov.

Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Tugay, Matteo.

Booked: Dickov.

Goals: Dickov 83 pen.

Leicester: Walker, Kenton, Dabizas, Dublin, Maybury, Gillespie, Williams (Hughes 87), Gudjonsson, Nalis (McCarthy 86), Tiatto (Connolly 87), de Vries.

Subs Not Used: Hirschfeld, Stewart.

Booked: Dabizas, de Vries, Tiatto, Gillespie.

Att: 22,113

Ref: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).

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