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Rovers 2 West Brom 0


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Rovers 2 Albion 0

Apart from the enforced change in midfield, due to the suspension of Robbie Savage, Rovers retained the same team that beat Man U. at Old Trafford last week. Whilst Albion changed from their normal 4-4-2 formation to play a 4-5-1 formation with Campbell as the lone striker.

It was therefore not surprising that with West Brom’s packed midfield, chasing down every ball, it didn’t allow Rovers, especially Tugay, any opportunity to express themselves, resulting in the first half turning out to be a dire spectacle of misplaced passes, with neither team taking control of the game.

West Brom made the first clear chance, in the 6th minute when Friedel saved from Greening’s, however from that point Friedel wasn't troubled through out the remainder of the game. For the remainder of the first half there was little goalmouth incident, apart from a header from Kuqi, shortly after he’d come on for the injured Bellamy in the 14 minute.

The second half began more lively, with Rovers attacking the Blackburn End, bombarding Kirkland’s goal. Rovers came close on a number of occasions with a couple of Pedersen free kicks and were denied a couple of penalty claims, when Dickov and Pedersen were pushed in the penalty box, however it looked like another of those days when the ball wouldn’t hit the back of the net.

On the hour mark, Hughes made a double substitution, bringing on Mokoena and Emerton for Tugay and Bentley, which gave Rovers a bit more bite in midfield and a more attacking influence down the right hand side.

After a countless, string of corners Rovers eventually gained their reward, when Kuqi rose above a packed Albion defence to convert a Pedersen corner from the left hand side. Que, the flying Finn’s impression of a Lancaster bomber belly flopping on landing as he celebrated his first premiership goal for the club. No sooner than the ground had stopped vibrating, Kuqi was bombarding the Ewood turf with another goal celebration.

With Dickov and Kuqi chasing down on an underpowered back pass by Albion’s Davies, two minutes before the end, the Finn was first to the ball and slotted it under Kirkland’s body into the back of the net.

Rovers: Friedel, Neill, Khizanishvili, Nelsen, Gray, Bentley (Emerton 61), Reid, Tugay (Mokoena 61), Pedersen, Dickov, Bellamy (Kuqi 14).

Subs Not Used: Todd, Enckelman.

Booked: Neill, Nelsen.

Goals: Kuqi 80, 88.

West Brom: Kirkland, Albrechtsen, Curtis Davies, Clement, Robinson, Gera, Chaplow, Wallwork, Greening, Kamara (Horsfield 78), Campbell (Ellington 67).

Subs Not Used: Moore, Watson, Kuszczak.

Att: 20,721

Ref: U Rennie

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Match report by RevidgeBlue

Very much a case of all's well that ends well on Saturday.

After such a great result at the theatre of merchandising you would have expected us to come out really buzzing but conversely the first half was appalling, as bad as anything I can remember under either Hughes or Souness. No obvious enthusiasm, commitment, movement off the ball or anything. The non stop contribution of Savage was sorely missed during this period.

The second half saw an increase in tempo, plenty of huff and puff, but no real improvement until the introduction of the 2 substitutes Emerton and Mokoena on 65 minutes. For some reason we then finally found the real urgency and desire which had been lacking for the previous hour, permanently penning the Baggies back on the edge of their area.

Nevertheless with 15 minutes to go it looked like being a thoroughly unsatisfactory afternoon. I had just been thinking how Kuqi and Dickov looked as though they didn't have 5 goals in them between them all season when Kuqi suddenly pulled out a great header from out of the blue for the first. A few minutes later he was gifted a second and everyone goes home happy.

Excellent result but we'll have to play a lot better than that most weeks to get anything. The best thing was obviously the two goals for Kuqi. I'm still far from convinced by him but you can't help but like his attitude and the added confidence derived from the two goals might just help him discover his touch and lead to a big improvement in his performances.

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