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Rovers 4 City 2


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Match Report by Paul.

After sleeping on the result and performance I still feel the same - good win, much needed three points but a worringly awful performance. The first half was dire, from both sides, and if the PL is the best league in the world this game should be reported to trading standards. Rovers couldn't do anything right and City are just plain bad, I don't believe we are a poor team but so far we have haven't shown we are a good one.

Truth be told a better team than City could have been 5-0 up before we got a sniff at goal. I think I counted nine City chances in the first half, it was only thanks to Thatcher and Pedersen that we went in level at half-time. Defensively we were very poor and the rest of the side was struggling to put two passes together. I don't think anyone was especially bad, just the team wasn't working as a unit. Note we didn't create anything!

That Sparky made two changes at half-time, said it all. The guy next to me said to his five year-old visiting Rovers for the first time "Our manager is very, very angry with some of the players" Well I hope he was. Those changes made a big difference, I've always been more confident than most in Mokoena and thought he played well today. Nonda looks like a very good signing, give him the ball and he goes for goal, he doesn't try to bring in the rest of the team, he wants to score. His quick thinking at the thrown-in made the third goal simplicity itself for MGP and Benni.

The interesting rumour I heard at Ewood, emanating from Brockhall and involving a media source rather than a paid employee, concerned Todd and Gray. Allegedely, it will have to be dire circumstances before either plays for the 1st team again. Todd was supposed to have had a major row with MH about Oojer going straight into the team, despite not having trained with them. Gray's problem was not confronting Rooney, but rather being paralytic.

If this is true, and we appear to have major defensive problems, it's difficult to know how to respond. I would support Hughes, I can't moan about footballers who don't give a monkeys and then do anything other than support the manager when he disciplines them. A pity because I like Gray and we need Todd, who is behaving very childishly.

For me the defensive problems revolve around communication, neither Ouijer nor Zurab seem to be talkative players. Ouijer was all over the place yesterday, didn't seem to know where he should be in relation to the rest of the team. I imagine either Nelsen or Todd alongside him would have sorted this. This raises a question about Neill's captaincy, on pitch he should sorting it out, if he can't see the problem of two centre backs not communicating he should not be captain. I happily ranted at Ouijer yesterday when he scored, in fact I'd have driven him home to Holland but we must give him a chance if Todd and Gray are finished. What about McEveley, Neill, Zurab/Ouijer, Emerton?

After Hughes made the half-time changes our midfield looked strange. Who would create the chances? The Axe and Savage wouldn't, generally MGP doesn't create much, leaving us with Bentley. Better sies would have quickly spotted this and closed us down. I'm wondering if McCarthy could play deeper, even in midfield?

After a 4-2 home win I should feel much encouraged. I'm relieved we have three points and sit 12th this morning but still worried. There were glimpses of Blackburn Rovers yesterday but only glimpses. Don't underestimate how awful City were. This was a very poor game of football between one very bad team and another that is struggling to get going this season. Sparky knows this wasn't the great result it appears to be, I hope he can tighten things up befre we go to Boro.

Rovers: Friedel, Emerton, Ooijer, Khizanishvili, Neill, Bentley, Savage, Tugay (Mokoena 45), Pedersen, McCarthy (Gallagher 85), Jeffers (Nonda 45).

Subs Not Used: Brown, Peter.

Booked: Savage, McCarthy.

Goals: Sinclair 18 og, Pedersen 44, McCarthy 66, Gallagher 89.

Man City: Weaver, Richards, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Trabelsi (Beasley 35), Barton, Hamann (Ireland 78), Sinclair, Corradi, Dickov (Samaras 62).

Subs Not Used: Hart, Reyna.

Booked: Hamann, Richards, Corradi.

Goals: Barton 39, Ooijer 45 og.

Att: 18,403.

Ref: M Atkinson

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