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[Archived] News Article -> 2012/13 Match Report: Charlton Athletic 1 Rovers 1

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Charlton Athletic (1) 1 – 1 (1) Blackburn Rovers
Jackson 27 Etuhu 16
Referee: D. Deadman Attendance: 17,169

Steve Kean may have vacated the building, but little else had changed with regard to what was produced on the pitch. Sloppy at the back, lacklustre in midfield and a strike force that spent much of the match isolated and feeding on scraps was the order of the day at The Valley. This performance illustrated just what a big job any new manager will have in trying to turn this underperforming group of individuals into a winning team, for once again the Rovers were second best for much of the match.

One assumes that the match plan was that laid out by Kean and his coaching staff during the week and a couple of changes were made to the team which suffered defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough. Jason Lowe and Morten Gamst Pedersen occupied the wide positions in midfield in place of Bruno Ribeiro and Fabio Nunes, who both dropped to the bench.

The opening was a fairly cagey affair, but it was the home side who almost drew first blood when Salim Kerkar drove the ball low and hard across a packed goalmouth and saw his effort flash just wide of the far post.

However, within a minute of that narrow escape the Rovers had taken the lead courtesy of a wonderful flowing move which was started by Dickson Etuhu. The former Fulham midfielder found Jordan Rhodes, who played the ball back to Nuno Gomes and the Portuguese international delivered an inch-perfect ball into the path of Etuhu. The Rovers midfielder capped a powerful run with a perfect finish and again underlined the fact that he has the potential to become the type of box-to-box player that the Rovers so badly need at the moment. Having taken the lead on 16 minutes, the Rovers began to look more confident and there was a much more fluid approach to their play.

However, just as the large travelling support started to believe they might be witnessing the rebirth of a new and brighter future, the old failings returned. The referee adjudged that Leon Cort had been pushed as he rose for a header and pointed to the penalty spot. Both Scott Dann and Pedersen had jumped with Cort and the referee seemed to indicate that an incredulous Pedersen was the man he was holding responsible. However, Paul Robinson came to the rescue. Although Johnnie Jackson sent the former England man the wrong way, he saved the shot with his legs. Sadly, the relief was short-lived for the travelling fans as the Rovers failed to clear the ball and when Danny Green fired in a shot, Jackson was able to divert it into the back of the net. It was yet another sloppy goal to concede as the Rovers had had ample opportunity to clear the ball. It would appear that the page about "kicking the ball into row Z" and regrouping appears to be missing from the Rovers' defensive coaching manual.

The equalising goal, on 27 minutes, completely changed the complexion of the game as the Rovers, inexplicably, went back in their shell and allowed Charlton to dominate them for the remainder of the match.

The home side developed a number of promising moves which needed a string of blocks from the visiting defenders to keep the scores level. Gael Givet, Bradley Orr, Martin Olsson and Scott Dann all blocked efforts which looked to be on target, and on one occasion the woodwork came to the rescue when Green's effort from the edge of the area struck a post.

The second half started with the surprise appearance of Grant Hanley in place of Givet. The former French international had been involved in one or two heated discussions with colleagues during the opening forty-five minutes but certainly didn't appear to be injured.

The second half started in much the same way as the first had ended with the home side in total control.

As an attacking force the Rovers were practically non-existent. A half-volley from Nuno Gomes which flew narrowly over the bar was the closest the Rovers came during the second half. Jordan Rhodes struggled to get into the game and was having to feed off scraps from a midfield that was forced deeper and deeper by an energetic opposition. Inexplicably, Gomes, who was the one player who looked as if he might be able to create an opening for the Rovers, was withdrawn. Whilst the introduction of David Dunn injected some life into the Rovers, one couldn't help think that Dunny and Gomes together might well have been a combination worth trying.

As the game entered its final stages, Robinson was called upon on more than one occasion to keep the home side at bay. Danny Green, who had been a constant danger on the right wing for Charlton, fired narrowly wide and then forced Robinson to brilliantly turn aside a fierce drive. With the game deep into injury time, Bradley Wright-Phillips produced a spectacular overhead effort which Robinson did well to turn over the bar.

The final whistle was greeted with a huge sigh of relief from all concerned with the Rovers as the players celebrated another hard-won point away from home.

Paul Robinson was undoubtedly the man who ensured that the Rovers returned to Lancashire with a precious point. He produced some excellent saves as the home side looked ready to overwhelm the Rovers at times. In defence the Rovers simply don't appear to have the right balance. Neither full-back looked particularly comfortable. Martin Olsson, in particular, allowed Danny Green far too much time and space, while Bradley Orr was again found wanting for pace at times. In truth, neither full-back offered too much in an attacking sense with Olsson only making occasional overlapping runs.

In midfield the Rovers looked quite pedestrian at times, which was a surprise considering the fluidity that produced the goal. Dickson Etuhu again suggested that he could be the ideal "box-to-box" player if he was given more freedom to get forward. However, he seems to be under instructions to remain shackled to Danny Murphy at the moment. Murphy was again disappointing and is really struggling to find the form which impressed so many during his time at Fulham. Not only does he look slow in movement at the moment, but he seems slow in thought and is too easily caught in possession. An on-form Murphy ought to be able to dominate games but at the moment he is struggling to make any impression.

The use of Jason Lowe on the right-hand side of midfield was mystifying. Having seen Simon Vukcevic give an impressive performance for the Reserves earlier in the week, it was depressing to see Lowe plodding up and down the wing. Having watched Lowe over the years in the Academy and Reserves, I've never quite seen what he brings to the team and certainly not in a wide midfield role. Morten Gamst Pedersen has been much maligned and is clearly not the player he once was but seems fundamental to the way the Rovers are playing at the moment. Both Dann and Robinson continually fired the ball in his direction as he was the one player who was capable of winning the ball in the air. With Pedersen being asked to play narrow it required Olsson to overlap and this simply didn't happen enough. Again, one has to point a finger at the coaching staff for the lack of organisation.

In attack, Nuno Gomes was a shining light. He tried to instigate things despite the appalling service he received. Sadly, not all his colleagues are on the same wavelength and don't always read where he is going to put the ball or when he is going to dummy a defender to allow the ball to run through into space. Apart from the goal, it was Gomes who came closest to scoring with his half-volley that flew narrowly over the bar.

Jordan Rhodes endured another frustrating 90 minutes with the £8 million striker being starved of service for much of the afternoon. If the Rovers can't get the ball to him in the final third, then he becomes impotent as an attacking force. At The Valley he was having to drop deeper and deeper to get the ball and, as a result, became less of a threat to the opposition.

Dunny gave a bright cameo late on and again reminded everyone that he still has something to offer. One can't help but feel that Dunn and Gomes might be a combination worth trying in a bid to deliver a better quality of service to Rhodes. If we are not going to utilise the wings then we need people who can pass the ball accurately in the centre of the field.

Results elsewhere demonstrated, once again, just what an open league the Championship is. There are no outstanding teams and everyone appears to be capable of winning games and losing games in equal measure. With the money that has been invested in the Rovers squad, we really ought to be producing better performances than we have done thus far. However, having failed to produce any level of consistency this season, the fact remains that we are only one point off the top of the table.

If the owners make the right appointment, there is every chance that their wish of returning to the Premier League might yet be achieved. However, this is Venky's and with rumours of interest in Garry Flitcroft as a possible managerial candidate one cannot help but fear the worst.


Charlton Athletic

Ben Hamer; Lawrie Wilson, Leon Cort, Michael Morrison, Chris Solly; Danny Green, Dale Stephens, Danny Hollands, Salim Kerkar (Cedric Evina 90); Johnnie Jackson (Bradley Pritchard 53); Bradley Wright-Phillips
Subs not used: David Button (gk), Scott Wagstaff, Jordan Cook, Michael Smith, Dorian Dervite
Manager: Chris Powell

Blackburn Rovers

Paul Robinson; Bradley Orr, Scott Dann, Gael Givet (Grant Hanley 46), Martin Olsson; Jason Lowe, Danny Murphy, Dickson Etuhu, Morten Gamst Pedersen; Nuno Gomes (David Dunn 73); Jordan Rhodes
Subs not used: Jake Kean (gk), Fabio Nunes, Mauro Formica, Ruben Rochina, Bruno Ribeiro
Caretaker Manager: Eric Black


Charlton Athletic – None

Blackburn Rovers – Danny Murphy, Jason Lowe

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