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Just A Small Town In Europe


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A mistake by England’s Number 1, goal in each half, a sending off, a clean sheet, and a streaker, plus an atmosphere second to none, was a terrific finish to the season at Ewood Park as Rovers signed off with a 2-0 win against Manchester City, this afternoon.

Having qualified for Europe on Tuesday night against Chelsea, Mark Hughes made changes to the team, bringing in Mokoena at right back, Peter on the left and Kuqi and Dickov up front. However without regulars, Nelsen, Pedersen, Reid and Bellamy Rovers took the game to City from the start, taking complete command it was inevitable that they took the lead in the 35 minute when Calamity James in the City goal failed to hold Peter’s corner, allowing Rovers defender Khizanishvili to beat him from close range with a left foot chipped shot.

Rovers had to make changes early into the game when Mokoena was stretchered off injured, to be replaced by Bret Emerton, who in the second half linked well with Bentley on the right to set up Kuqi for Rovers second goal shortly after the restart.

With a two goal lead and in complete control, Rovers were reduced to 10 men when Tugay was sent off for a rash challenge on Sommeil who made a meal of the incident, to influence the referee with more rolls that Warburtons Bakery.

However even when down to 9 men when Kuqi went off for treatment on a cut head, Rovers never let City off the hook and continued to dominate and could easily have increased the lead with a Gray diving header that crept passed the post.

After the game there was the customary lap of honour from the players and a promise from Mark Hughes of more exciting times to come next season from Rovers, who are just Small Town in Europe.

Rovers: Friedel, Mokoena (Emerton 12), Khizanishvili, Neill, Gray, Bentley, Savage, Tugay, Peter (Gallagher 80), Kuqi, Dickov (Sinama Pongolle 64).

Subs Not Used: Enckelman, McEveley.

Sent Off: Tugay (59).

Booked: Neill, Bentley.

Goals: Khizanishvili 35, Kuqi 52.

City: James, Sommeil, Dunne, Richards, Distin (Wright-Phillips 83), Sinclair (Croft 69), Barton, Reyna, Musampa (Riera 61), Samaras, Vassell.

Subs Not Used: Weaver, Jihai.

Booked: Distin, Richards, Sinclair, Dunne.

Att: 25,731

Ref: H Webb

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