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[Archived] Match Report: Blackburn Rovers 1 - 2 Shrewsbury Town

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Parsonblue's match report:

Tuesday 11th August 2015 – Capital One Cup 1st Round

Blackburn Rovers 1 v 2 Shrewsbury Town

Blackburn Rovers (1) 1

Lawrence (own goal) 30

Jason Steele; Ryan Nyambe, Darragh Lenihan, Matt Kilgallon, Tommy Spur; John O’Sullivan (Modou Barrow 57), Lee Williamson, Corry Evans (Danny Guthrie 65), Ben Marshall; Nathan Delfouneso, Chris Brown (Fodé Koita 56).

Subs not used: David Raya (gk), Jordan Rhodes, Shane Duffy, Craig Conway.

Manager: Gary Bowyer

Shrewsbury Town (1) 2

Collins 9, Barnett 31

Jayson Leutwiler; Matt Tootle, Jermain Grandison, Connor Goldson, Matt Sadler; Liam Lawrence, Abu Ogogo, Ryan Woods, Martin Woods (Junior Brown 85); James Collins (John-Louis Akpa Akpro 76), Tyrone Barnett.

Subs not used: Calum Burton (gk), Shaun Whalley, Mark Ellis, Liam McAlinden, Jordan Clark.

Manager: Micky Mellon

Referee: Mr. G. Eltringham

Bookings: Blackburn Rovers– Tommy Spurr

Shrewsbury Town – Matt Tootle, Jayson Leutwiler

Attendance: 5,280

Rovers’ League Cup hoodoo, which seemed to have been vanquished during our Premier League years, has certainly returned with a vengeance now we are back in the Football League. MK Dons, Carlisle United, Scunthorpe United and now Shrewsbury Town can be added to the list of ignominy which has seen the likes of Wrexham, Rochdale, Workington and Stockport County dump us out of this competition. Quite why the manager believed that fielding a “squad team” would work this year when the past three seasons have ended in failure is a question only he can answer. Whilst the blame for selection rests solely with the manager a number of players need to look at their own performances on the night. Given the opportunity to stake a claim for a starting place at Huddersfield on Saturday they simply tossed the opportunity away with a lacklustre performance which was as depressing as it was predictable. If there were positives to be taken from Saturday’s defeat against Wolves there was precious little to be enthused about with this performance. A trio of new boys came out with credit – Delfouneso, Koita and Barrow – but after that positives were thin on the ground. Perhaps young Nyambe could be excused and at least after an early error, that led to Shrewsbury’s first goal, he did show character in playing a part in the equaliser and never gave less than one hundred per cent. But apart from that is was a night to forget.

Shrewsbury made one change from the side which lost to Millwall on Saturday whilst the Rovers made nine changes with only Delfouneso and Marshall retaining their places. Ryan Nyambe was given his senior debut whilst fellow Academy graduates John O’Sullivan and Darragh Lenihan also stepped into the starting eleven.

The game was just nine minutes old when Nyambe’s pass inside put Lee Williamson in no man’s land and although the midfielder tried to rectify the situation with a lunging tackle he failed and Abu Ogogo stepped in and fired a shot goalwards which Jason Steele saved but merely deflected the ball into the path of James Collin who stoked the ball home into an empty net.

An excellent run down the right by O’Sullivan ended with a pass to Delfouneso who cut inside and then curled a shot just beyond the far post.

Shrewsbury came back and Collins played a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Ogogo who tried to take the ball around Steele. The keeper dived at the feet of the Shrewsbury forward who fell to the ground claiming a penalty but the referee merely awarded a corner.

It was the visitors who were making all of the early running and the Rovers looked strangely out of sorts as passes went astray and even the normally reliable Williamson and Kilgallon looked all at sea.

However, the Rovers were given a lifeline on the half-hour mark when Nyambe attacked down the right, exchanged passes with Delfouneso and then played in a ball towards the near post. It appeared that Delfouneso had forced the ball home but it was later confirmed that it was Liam Lawrence who had got the final touch and so it was credited as an own goal.

However, within a minute Shrewsbury had restored their lead with another comedy of errors in the Rovers defence. Kilgallon failed to clear his lines, Williamson was caught in possession and when Tyrone Barnett fired home Steele was beaten far too easily on his near post. It was a dreadful goal and typical of the lax defending which has been the Rovers Achilles’ heel for far too long now.

Marshall forced an excellent save from Leutwiler but the Rovers went in at the interval trailing and had done little to suggest that they might rectify the situation in the second-half.

The Rovers came out early for the second period but the pattern of the first forty-five minutes didn’t change. Indeed, after 54 minutes the visitors ought to have been 3-1 ahead when Collins found himself in space at the back post when the ball came across to him. However, instead of finding the back of the net he whacked the ball high into the stands.

Somewhat cruelly, the loudest cheer of the night from Rovers’ fans came just two minutes later when Chris Brown was finally put out of his agony and replaced by Fodé Koita whilst Modou Barrow came on to make his debut in place of O’Sullivan.

Suddenly, the Rovers started to offer more of a threat and there seemed to be a renewed urgency about their play, particularly when Danny Guthrie replaced Evans.

The towering presence of Koita began to unsettle the Shrewsbury defence and the ‘keeper did exceptionally well to keep out a header at the back post from the Frenchman. Koita then showed an adept piece of skill when he brought down a long clearance from Steele, turned and blasted a thunderbolt of a shot which was just inches away from finding the top corner of the net.

For a period of about fifteen minutes the Rovers looked like they might force their way back into the game but Shrewsbury were always dangerous on the break even though they didn’t always make the most of some promising situations. Barnett found himself with an excellent chance to clinch the game but fired straight at Steele when in a good position and free from any markers.

With the game moving into added on time it looked as if Koita might have rescued the situation when he climbed above everyone to head the ball firmly downwards but it crept just past the post.

Four minutes of added on time were seen out by the visitors with little difficulty and the Ewood faithful left in disgruntled mood after yet another League Cup campaign came to embarrassing end.

Just days into the new season and the manager is attracting a fair amount of criticism – some fair, some not – after two home defeats. Whilst on paper the starting eleven ought to have been good enough to deal with Shrewsbury, in truth they never looked like getting a grip on the game, let alone winning it. The buck stops with the manager with regard to selection and clearly some of these players are not performing to the levels expected of them. Steele did little to enhance his claims for a regular first team spot and looked very unsure as a last line of defence. However, the back four proved totally inadequate on the night. Nyambe, on his debut, had a tough night but stuck to his task and played a major part in the equalising goal. Matt Kilgallon and Darragh Lenihan really struggled as a centre-back partnership and one suspects that Hanley and Duffy will quickly be restored for Saturday. Likewise Marcus Olsson should be restored in place of Tommy Spurr who struggled to make any impression at left back and was, all too often, left floundering.

The midfield was particularly disappointing. Lee Williamson had a nightmare, although the guy never stop trying to make something happen, whilst Corry Evans made little impression. John O’Sullivan failed to make the most of his opportunity and was strangely subdued by his standards whilst Ben Marshall flitted in and out of the game.

In attack, Nathan Delfouneso again impressed with his movement and certainly looked happier playing through the middle. Sadly, for Chris Brown things simply go from bad to worse. The harder he tries the less things go for him. His selection was a strange one as he had missed the majority of the pre-season and, in truth, looked anything but fit.

Fodé Koita and Modou Barrow were probably the main two positives on an awful night for the Rovers. Barrow looks to have the pace that we have lacked whilst Koita proved a real handful with his physical approach to the game.

The fact that a number of other Championship clubs fell at this hurdle having made the same gambles as Bowyer with regard to team selection is no consolation. The Rovers ought to be beating teams like Shrewsbury and when they don’t they can expect the sort of reaction that the crowd gave them tonight. Being the victim of a giant killing can happen to anyone but four successive seasons as the victim is beyond a joke. We are only into the first week of the season and already the pressure is building on the manager and sadly, much of it is self-inflicted. However, with six new players having arrived and the possibility of more to come it is clearly going to take time to mould them into a team. Nonetheless, the Rovers need to gel and gel fairly quickly if they are not to give themselves an uphill battle for the rest of the season.

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Thanks Parson for a great report as I was unable to attend last night but you usually see the game the same as I do.

We do not see eye to eye over the manager but you make some telling comments here.

A lot of Bowyers problems are self inflicted. My issue is that he appears to have learnt little in three years and shows repeat failings particularly with regard to defence. To my mind he has learnt nothing.

It is a horrible time to be a Rovers fan. Bowyer seems so much the Jack Marshall and I cannot wait for the next Ken Furphy to arrive with some nous, guile but above all passion.

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Don't feel he's fully fit if I'm honest yet. If he ends up being a dud, fair enough, but there is no point writing him off just yet. Particularly as he's one of the only players in the squad with pace.

I sometimes think if Messi turned up and started playing for us, some of our fans would slam him for being too greedy......

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Thanks PB. Much appreciated for those of us who live too far away to be able to get to midweek games. One factual error (I think) is that we have, in fact, been knocked out of this cup from a team from a lower division FIVE years running, not four. Although the phrase you actually used was 'giant killing' so the first of the sequence (Cardiff away in the quarter final in 2011/12) you may not have thought was a giant killing.

Thanks again.

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Can't argue with much of that PB. I could only add to it really. Shrewsbury had a blatant handball from Lenihan missed by the ref (and seemingly a lot of people). Was right in front of my eyes and I'm sure GB would have kicked up a fuss if it was the other way round.

I didn't think Steele looked bad and certainly think you show your favour towards Raya. I'll have to check the goals/highlights again as I seem to have successfully repressed some of last night's game.

I don't think Delfouneso did much. I think he looked livelier than some, as did O'Sullivan but the end product is lacking in both cases. At least with those two (and Nyambe) you knew you were getting 100% effort.

It was a sloppy pass from young Nyambe but in his defence no one was showing for him. I play full-back and feel for him. He gets passed the ball under pressure, no winger showing up the line, our CMs miles away and opposition players closing in. If Williamson would have been more awake to the situation and supported, they may not have scored.

Only thing to add, as you rightfully criticise the manager and his selections, is just to add how the players don't seem to have a clear role. It's like Football Manager (a game). Sticking players anywhere, swapping and tinkering and hoping it works. The players look like they met each other yesterday. No cohesion and no idea from the bench. They all look so unfit too, what's going on at Brockhall?

Koita our one shining light in the fact that he was more of a handful and was unlucky to have his header saved. I do think you missed a couple of Shrewsbury chances late on in your report, but can't blame you. They cut us open a good few times and finishing let them down.

Very disappointing! Thanks for the report, whilst I didn't wholly agree with your interpretation on the Wolves game, I can certainly relate to this one.

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Delf looked pretty lively to me and if backed up properly he and Koita could give some defences problems. However the manager has learned nothing and needs replacing urgently.

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