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Sundays 1-1 draw against Spurs at Ewood Park, will be discussed all week in the media and remembered for the penalty incidents and the sending off of 2 players.

Once again the inconsistent attributes of our officials will over shadow the performances of both teams and a spectacular 30 strike by Tugay, that will surely be a contender for goal of the season..

A game that had flowed end to end in the first half with neither keeper being troubled, came to life on the half hour, when Tugay picked up a clearance to unleash a thunderbolt shot for 30 years past Robinson in the Spurs net.

However after celebrating his wonder strike, Tugay was alleged to have brought down Ghaly, and referee Dowd awarded a penalty. However worst was to come when after consulting his linesman he issued Tugay a red card.

With Rovers down to 10 men, Defoe converted the penalty to make it 1-1. Yet within minutes Rovers should have been awarded a penalty of their own when Mido blatantly handled in the box, however on this occation neither Dowd or his linesman saw the incident.

Despite being down to 10 men Rovers team spirit shone through and were unlucky when McCarthy came close with a clever flick that nearly beat Robinson at the left hand post.

With the game coming to a close, Spurs’s Ghaly was sent off for an alleged elbow on Gray, which incensed Jol, who was then sent to the stand by Dowd.

Match Report by Scotty

It was a big game today. A defeat, coupled with the fact that we're not playing next weekend, could have seen us going into December in the bottom three. A win and we're back into the mid-table scrum with about 10 other teams. So, it was good to see Savage and Emerton back in the team, but a shame that Neill missed out (Zurab was suspended as well but I wasn't too bothered about that). Gray and Henchoz replaced Neill and Zurab.

Nothing much happened for the first 15 minutes. The only real incident of note was when Rovers put together the best passing move of the match that found Nonda in space on the edge of the Spurs area. Sadly though his classy finish was wasted as he was rightfully adjudged off-side. Other than that the game was just scrappy and littered with mistakes, with Spurs having marginally the better of it. Eventually though Rovers started to get a grip of midfield and began to exert some pressure, but the goal still came like a bolt out the blue.

A long cross to the far post was met by Pedersen. He headed across goal, the ball was cleared by a Spurs defender, and Tugay volleyed the clearance into the net like a tracer bullet. Another 25 yard gem from the Turkish magician that lit up Ewood.

The game quickly sank back into the scrappy mess it was before the goal. We created little, gave the ball away constantly, but defended solidly until the last couple of minutes before half-time. Thankfully Spurs were just as bad as we were, but they did create two good chances just before the break - Mido spurned them both with poor finishes.

So, 1-0 up at half-time which was nice, but it had been a poor game (wonder goal aside) and we needed to improve if we were going to take all 3 points.

Spurs started the second half well. They were suddenly a yard quicker than us and pulled us all over the place in defence. Within the first five minutes of the half Mido hit another poor finish wide when he should have done better, then he had a goal disallowed for correctly being called off-side, and then they got the goal.

A good move saw Henchoz get dragged out wide on our left, leaving a huge gap for Ghaly to run into from midfield. Tugay did his job and tracked the run, but then dived in needlessly when the ball reached Ghaly in the area. Ghaly's clever turn would have took him past Tugay and clean through on goal had Tugay's trailing leg not accidentally brought him down. Accidental or not though it was a clear penalty and, by the letter of the law, a correct sending off. However, you have to question a law that results in Tugay getting a 3 match ban for an accidental trip when a player can make two cynical, dangerous tackles, receive two yellow cards for them, and only get a one match ban. Anyway, Defoe's penalty was expertly taken and we suddenly had it all to do.

A couple of minutes later we were awarded a free-kick halfway inside the Spurs half wide on our left. Savage swung the ball towards Ooijer on the far post but slightly overhit it, the ball sailed over Ooijer's head, struck Mido on the chest and then bounced off his out-stretched arm straight into his path enabling him to complete the clearance. Ewood as one shouted 'handball'. I can understand the ref not giving it as the TV replays showed that his view was obscured, but how the linesman - standing no more than 10 yards away with a completely unobstructed view - didn't give it is beyond me.

The incident seemed to fire Rovers up and we started to play our best football of the match. Mokoena came on for Nonda and suddenly the team were first to every ball, snapping into tackles all over the field. Our passing still wasn't great though, we still lacked real quality, and consequently we didn't create much in terms of real chances. But we did start to dominate possession and, for most of the second half, it looked like Spurs were the team down to 10 men.

In injury time Ghaly was harshly sent off for 'elbowing' Gray but it was too late to have any real impact on the match. As valient as our second half effort was we hadn't really done enough to deserve the 3 points and a draw was probably a fair result in the end.

Friedel hardly had anything to do. He had no chance with the penalty, made a couple of comfortable saves when he had to, but most of Spurs' best chances were hit off target.

Our back four did well apart from five minutes either side of half-time. Henchoz and Ooijer looked as solid a centre-half pairing as we've had this season - Ooijer in particular looked classy in possession and frequently stepped into midfield to spray the ball about. Emerton didn't play at his early season best but still got forward well at times and was rarely caught out defensively. Gray had probably his best game for over a year, paticularly after we'd gone down to ten men. He more than anyone showed the necessary drive and determination required to compensate for the missing man, frequently joining in the attacks and generally getting stuck in. He deserved his man of the match award but it should be noted that he didn't have a right winger up against him today (Spurs played a very narrow 4-4-2) which meant he didn't have much to do defensively. I'll wait a couple more games before I eat humble pie and admit I wrote him off too soon.

Tugay was the only quality performer we had in midfield today and, once he'd been sent off, we were never likely to create a winner. He'd have walked the man of the match award if he'd played the whole game. Savage looked a yard off the pace at times and both Pedersen and Bentley were guilty of wasting possession all too often. Bentley, in particular, seemed to be battling with Mido for the 'Worst Shot of the Match' award. Pedersen did beat his full-back a couple of times though which was a shock to me at least.

Up front it was all wrong. I'm starting to wonder whether Nonda is just a fair weather player - plays well with the sun on his back but goes missing in the cold and the wet. He was just awful today. No movement, no strength, no hold up play, no work-rate, no skill. No good. I was a big fan when he first joined but I'm starting to lose patience with him. McCarthy wasn't much better to be honest but at least he shows the odd brilliant flash here and there, enough to make you think he might score soon.

We were poor today, but so were Spurs and we were left wondering what might have been had the penalty against Mido been awarded. You can understand why both teams lacked confidence, we've lost our last 4 and Spurs haven't won away all season, but it's hard to understand why so many of our players are playing below the levels they were a few weeks ago. Maybe it is just confidence, maybe it's because they're hampered by injuries and aren't fully fit, who knows, but hopefully Hughes and his staff can use the upcoming break after the Feyenoord game to get everyone fit again and instil some belief back into the team.

As I said last week, our next 4 games are all winnable. If we can show the same spirit and determination we showed in the second half today, and add a bit of quality on top, then we'll reach Xmas in a good position. Tugay suspended for 3 games though isn't good.

Rovers: Friedel, Emerton, Ooijer, Henchoz, Gray, Bentley (Peter 85), Savage, Tugay, Pedersen, Nonda (Mokoena 65), McCarthy (Jeffers 87).

Subs Not Used: Brown, McEveley.

Sent Off: Tugay (60).

Goals: Tugay 23.

Spurs: Robinson, Lee, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto, Ghaly, Zokora, Huddlestone, Davids (Malbranque 46), Defoe (Berbatov 83), Mido.

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Keane, Murphy.

Sent Off: Ghaly (90).

Booked: Mido.

Goals: Defoe 62 pen.

Att: 18,083

Ref: P Dowd

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