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[Archived] Rovers 1 - 0 Crystal Palace


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Well now we all have to turn are attentions back to the league. Our dreams of FA Cup glory are over, but at least Todd’s elbow ensured that our run ended with a bang rather than a whimper and also made sure that Van Persie won’t be scoring again tonight.

The meeting with Crystal Palace offers us the chance to virtually secure Premiership survival, while a defeat, or even a draw, could mean that we have a nervous few days waiting for our next win, and also make it even more difficult to overcome the disappointment of Cardiff.

In the earlier encounter back in December we saw a result that has become synonymous with the Hughes regime, a nil-nil draw. It was our first scoreline of this sort since the home match again Bolton back on April 21st two seasons before, and now it has become something of a trademark. In many ways that game can be viewed as the turning point of our season. Since then we have lost only five league games and we have climbed further away from the drop zone to sit in a rather comfortable and yet still dangerous 14th, nine points above the bottom three.

On paper this appears the sort of game you would want, a home game against a struggling side, short on points, goals and confidence and who appear to be heading back to the lower divisions, but Crystal Palace have fight. Dowie has instilled a grit and determination that matches any other side in the Premiership, and despite their lack of quality this, along with Johnson’s goals, have meant that they will come into this game knowing that a win could take them out of the relegation spots. Every point is valuable, and we are certainly in for a game.

Our recent form certainly makes us favourites, with only Arsenal (boo) and Chelsea picking up more points than us over the past six games, though surely Palace will be buoyed by their comeback against Norwich and see this as an excellent opportunity to pick up points and give themselves a hope of staying up. One thing is for sure, tackles will be hard, and where quality may be lacking it will be made up for in the sheer determination that both sides will play with.

Interview with a Palace Fan

How have you viewed your return to the top flight?

Really it's been a good season. I felt coming up that we didn't stand much of a chance, there were no real big signings, and though Palace fans all felt that we had a few talented players I don't think we ever gave ourselves a real chance of survival, so from that perspective the season has been a success and really just hoping that now that we find ourselves in with a shot of staying up with only a few games left that, fingers crossed, we can do it.

Player of the season so far (not that there is probably much need to ask)?

Well has to be Johnson really, though of late he hasn't been nearly as effective. I don't know if opposition supporters have noticed but he really hasn't scored that many recently, and as you are pointing out to me as I'm answering this it is true that he seems to have poor balance and that big mean Premiership defenders take advantage of this and often push him over to stop him from scoring, luckily the ref always seems to notice, so yes, that is how he scores a lot of goals.

Routledge has also had an excellent season, but because of the big fiasco with him leaving and the nonsense that went on during the January transfer window I would never give him the credit he probably does deserve.

What have you thought about Rovers this season?

Well have to be honest I expected you to finish 8-10 at the beginning of the season, though it was pretty obvious that you didn't have a goalscorer, but still thought you would make do without because of what looked like a good midfield, so I was surprised to see you down with us at the start. I'm not saying I wasn't pleased, don't dislike your lot at all but we knew we would struggle so we were happy to have as many teams in the mix as possible. Since Hughes has taken over though it appears to be a different story, you've gone from bottom and are now in really good form, so you aren't really a team we want to play against.

Having said that you are still in trouble if you lose a couple in a row, and without a true goalscorer I think we will always feel that we are in with a chance against you, difficult thing is because of that defense you have not sure we will be able to score, but with the attack you have not sure you will either.

Probable line-up?

I would hope that we will use the same team that fought back so well against Norwich on Saturday, though with maybe Torghelle starting instead of Butterfield, and perhaps Riihilahti coming in but no so sure about that.

Prediction?

Well I'm not going to be great on this because amazingly enough I can see this going one of three ways, you'd been told Palace fans had the greatest insight hadn't you?

Something tells me 0-0, your poor attack and also your strong defense preventing either team from finding the net, and if I was a betting man this is what I'd go for.

If Johnson can find his feet in the game, or more than likely find out how to be knocked off of them, I could see us getting a couple goals and taking this 2-0.

Also though, and this is what I really feel, you will bounce back after the defeat at Cardiff and we will see a good display by some of your threats like Pedersen and Emerton and we could end up on the wrong side of a 3 or 4 goal thrashing as I've seen has happened to a few teams up at Ewood recently.

One final question, are we Bully Boys or Knockout Kings?

Well, I don't really see what all the fuss was about. I could find dozens of games like that from the Premiership this season and there weren't any terrible tackles, I don't think the Van Persie incident was done on purpose and to be honest he had it coming anyway.

I would have liked to have seen you through and given the small boys someone to shout for, but I really think you got on the wrong end of all this by rubbing most up the wrong way. The big boys didn't like you being there, and despite the scoreline, actually giving them a game, and the mid-table teams were jealous of the fact that one of their own was there and it wasn't them, so that just left us down at the bottom putting on the blue and white for a day, shame you couldn't make it really.

I would certainly have given you knockout kings had you won, and would have been a good two fingers to all of those who get on the back of the underdog, your recent form shows you must be able to play football, so I'm hoping everyone in our camp keeps their mouths shut so we don't end up doing what soft Nigel did and having a big slice of Humble pie after playing you Northern Numpties.

Thanks to Mike who took the time to answer the questions, though it was hard to get him to shut up!

Edited by den
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Palace have done very well to come back to grab a point against a wonky Norwich in a 3-3 draw today. Rovers will be feeling very low after the semi-final but I have confidence in Hughes' motivation skills.

Rovers to win 3-1.

Edited by philipl
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Excellent preview, very well written.

If we play as well as we did today we should get at least a draw. If we win it will put all relegation fears down, allow us to possibly leapfrog Brum with a game in hand and give us a look at a possible mid table finish.

Team I would go for:

                     Stead

Pedersen                      Emerton

            Savage      Reid

                      Moko

Matteo   Nelsen   Todd   Niell

                      Friedel

It is possible that Hughes will stick with Dickov and Thompson but I think a couple of changes would do us good.

Edited by joey_big_nose
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From reading the press today, Johnson can expect to spend 90 minutes looking like that on Wednesday!

I listened to the Palace v Norwich game on the Radio yesterday and it sounded like Palace could not cope with Ashton, McKenzie and Huckerby running at them. Norwich could and should have scored a lot more than the three they got.

Hope that Reid and Emo do their stuff for Rovers in that respect. I'd expect our defence to cope much better than Norwich's against the Palace front line- Routledge is out of form, Freedman is predictable and Johnson just needs watching all the time. Need to be careful as Palace are the penalty-winning kings.

Palace are giving free transport to their fans for the trip to Ewood. I don't know how many are coming up but the Rovers deserve a good backing from the home faithful to help push them up the table in what promises to be a very entertaining game.

At this stage of the season and looking at their remaining fixtures, Palace

have got to come to Ewood looking for a win.

PS Palace have lost their last four away games conceding 14 goals in the process.

Edited by philipl
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Excellent preview, very well written.

If we play as well as we did today we should get at least a draw. If we win it will put all relegation fears down, allow us to possibly leapfrog Brum with a game in hand and give us a look at a possible mid table finish.

Team I would go for:

                     Stead

Pedersen                      Emerton

            Savage      Reid

                      Moko

Matteo   Nelsen   Todd   Niell

                      Friedel

It is possible that Hughes will stick with Dickov and Thompson but I think a couple of changes would do us good.

i'd stick with Dickov.He was one of our better players yesterday. But i agree with playing Sav and Emo. We looked so much better IMO, when they came on.

and BTW- for those you could'nt be arsed to go yesterday-you better go on wednesdat

Edited by greggyk
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i feel alarmingly confident of getting a result out of this, the boys responded to "bully boy" criticism last time by sticking 3 past norwich, and given the way that hughes seems to be able to motivate them, i am sure that they will draw positives out of the way they were able to contain arsenal for most of the game. if palace come to defend then we could be in for a tedious match with the odd goal nicking it, but if they come to try to play then we should be able to take the game to them... i'll go for 2-0 rovers, pedersen to score another screamer and stead to score with a deflected shot from 10 yards out.

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Aside of my prediction (1-1).

One thing we as Rovers supporters need to do on Wednesday is to get behind the team like we did at Cardiff, this will help the team through the early stages as the diappointment of Saturday looms on their minds.

We have to get behind them from the first minute. tinykit.gif

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It would be nice to think so den!

At least, we can expect that Sparky and Bowen will get the lads properly prepared for it- we haven't had any Souness-esque let downs against bottom clubs from the new management team yet.

Fortunately (I hope!), the ref is Rob Styles so not one of those you would be worried about being influenced by Saturday's yelping.

Last two Rovers games he covered were the wins at Boton and Fulham and before that he did the 2-2 Liverpool game at Ewood. Interestingly he reffed the Palace v Norwich game on Saturday- turned down three Palace penalty appeals (apparently one was a nailed on pen.) then gave the fourth which was more marginal from which Palace brought it back to 3-3.

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I think/hope we will beat them 1-0. MGP to nick the winner, although I'd really like to see Stead on the scoresheet again. MH will motivate the team for another crucial game which could save us for sure. thumbs-up.gif

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This is the first real setback we have suffered under Hughes so it's going to be interesting to see our attitude towards the game.

We were undone yesterday by some quality football which I don't think Palace are capable of producing so I'm fairly confident of us keeping the score down. A 1-0 or 2-0 I reckon.

Friedel

Neill

Todd

Nelsen

Matteo

Emerton

Reid

Mokoena

Flitcroft

MGP

Stead

Enckelman

Savage

Thompson

Dickov

A N Other

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Following an encouraging start under Sparky, we lost two games back-to-back 4-0. At that time we looked to be in deep trouble with a completely inadequate team with the worst defence and rock bottom of the table.

Now we are just very disappointed after conceding late goals when needing to chase the game against one of the best teams in Europe.

Wednesday is a challenge but not of the magnitude faced last November. I have every confidence in the lads.

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I don't think they'll be too gutted at losing the two late goals. We had taken a defender off for an attacker so left gaping holes at the back.

I think we'll bounce back nicely to humble Palace.

That is always assuming we keep them out of our area. Sky's Goals on Sunday showed a penalty league for this season. Palace were top with 12 awarded and Bolton were second with 6. Double the amount of penalties, how on earth do they get them? no wonder they are still in with a shout!

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