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[Archived] News Article -> 2011/12 Match Report: Rovers 0 Newcastle United 2

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Blackburn Rovers (0) 0 – 2 (1) Newcastle United
Dann (og) 12, Obertan 90 + 3
Referee: P. Dowd Attendance: 20,817

Football, it is said, is cyclical with clubs enjoying periods in the sun and periods away from the limelight. Thanks to Jack Walker and then the Walker Trust, the Rovers have spent all but two of the past 19 seasons in the sun. Now, thanks to Venky's, we are about to embark upon a journey into the shadows.

If ever a match highlighted the need for investment, this was it. The manager, as delusional as ever, remained upbeat in his post-match interview and trotted out his usual litany of statistics to prove that we were the better team. Listening to Kean's ramblings, my mind drifted back to words of the puppet master herself, Madam Desai, when she said that she felt football was about entertainment and not just winning. A glance at the league table shows just how little she knew about football then and how little she has grasped since. Twelve home games have thus far produced three wins and nine defeats. In other words, the Venky's brand of entertainment has seen 27 points dropped at Ewood Park out of the 36 available. Is it any wonder that we are hurtling towards relegation without anybody appearing to have the slightest inclination to apply the brake?

The miracle amidst the carnage of this season is that the club entered the transfer window still in touch with the safety zone. Even today, after the latest defeat, the Rovers are still within a couple of points of that vital 17th place. However, the margin for error seems to reduce with each passing defeat. Last season, when virtually half the table were involved in the relegation struggle, fortunes ebbed and flowed on a weekly basis. However, we are now eight points adrift of 15th place and the reality is that we are in a five-club struggle for survival.

Thus, when a weakened Newcastle United turned up at Ewood Park, still smarting from being dumped out of the FA Cup by Brighton & Hove Albion and with a five-goal thrashing at Craven Cottage still fresh in the memory, it was a rare opportunity to meet an out-of-form side and pick up three valuable points. The fact that we were unable to do so merely underlines how desperately short of quality we are in vital areas.

We continue to squander chances and Anthony Modeste suggests that whatever else he might be he is certainly not a goalscorer. Once again our beloved owners took the cheap option and in football, as in life, you often get what you pay for and on this showing we have a player who suggests he lacks the ability to take the sort of chances which will be crucial for Premier League survival. Work rate and endeavour count for nothing if a striker is unable to retain his composure and put the ball in the net when the half-chance comes along. That was the major criticism of Jason Roberts and Modeste would appear to be a striker of the same kind. "Works hard but unlikely to score too many goals" is perhaps the verdict on Modeste thus far.

Modeste got his chance to impress because David Goodwillie was struck down with flu. Apart from that change, the team was the same as that which did so well at Goodison Park last time out. Newcastle were without their African Nations Cup players as well as the recently suspended Yohan Cabaye.

After a promising start, the Rovers found themselves behind after just twelve minutes and once again defensive frailties came to the fore. A loose pass by Radosav Petrovic managed to dissect both Scott Dann and Jason Lowe with both opting to leave it to the other. The ball was worked to Ryan Taylor and when his shot came in, which in all fairness seemed to be covered by Paul Robinson, Dann stuck out a foot and managed to divert it into his own goal. It was the sort of horrendous goal that the Rovers have been conceding all season and one which could and should have been avoided.

The Rovers might well have hit back fairly quickly, but former Rover Danny Simpson was on hand to clear a Gael Givet effort off the line from a corner and when the Frenchman struck the rebound, he was unable to direct it on target.

Undeterred the Rovers continued to press, but without ever really creating a clear-cut chance. Free-kicks and corner-kicks taken by Morten Gamst Pedersen continued to provide the best opportunities, but the Rovers were unable to get on the end of them. One free-kick in particular was whipped across the face of the goal, but the Rovers players were on the back foot instead of attacking the ball. It was the sort of service on which Alan Shearer thrived.

The Rovers threatened down the left with the pace of Junior Hoilett and Martin Olsson while David Dunn was impressive in his use of the ball linking the midfield with Modeste up front. Whilst Dunn continues to be the one creative player who looks capable of opening up opposing defences, the fact remains that without Yakubu we lack a cutting edge and on this occasion Modeste wasted numerous opportunities to get the Rovers back in the game.

Hoilett was brought down on the edge of the area on the half-hour mark, which led to a melee that saw Ryan Taylor booked for his reaction to the incident. Incredibly, Fabricio Coloccini, who committed the foul, escaped without a caution. Pedersen's free-kick struck a defender and flew wide of the target.

As half-time approached, Petrovic fired a shot narrowly wide, while Leon Best headed against his own crossbar from a Pedersen corner. However, two minutes before the break the Rovers appeared to have been given a life-line when Simpson brought down Modeste, who had been played in by a delightful lobbed pass by Dunny. Phil Dowd had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and the Rovers' latest recruit was clearly anxious to take the spot-kick himself. However, Dunny pulled rank and grabbed the ball for himself. He stuttered on his run-up in an attempt to outfox the 'keeper, but Tim Krul guessed correctly and saved an effort which wasn't the most powerfully struck penalty that Dunny has ever taken. Givet and Pedersen attempted to score from the rebound but merely got in each other's way with the result that Givet's shot was easily saved by Krul.

The visitors made a change at half-time with James Perch replacing Hatem Ben Arfa as Alan Pardew adopted a more defensive approach. However, it was Newcastle who fluffed the first chance of the second period when Jonas Gutierrez, who had been so impressive in previous meetings between the clubs this season, made a hash of a reasonable opportunity.

Although the Rovers enjoyed plenty of possession, they failed to produce many clear-cut chances. Modeste, who was lively, hit a cross-cum-shot horribly wide, while Hoilett was unfortunate to see an effort blocked by Best. Newcastle, whenever the need arose, defended manfully and weren't afraid to put their bodies on the line to prevent the breakthrough.

With the Rovers looking increasingly unlikely to find the key to unlock the visiting defence, Kean finally made a change and introduced Mauro Formica for Petrovic. The switch almost paid immediate dividends when the Argentine found Dunn, who beat the Newcastle defence with a lofted ball for Modeste to chase. Having beaten the offside trap, the former French under-21 international lost all composure and fired his shot wide when he had time and space in which to take the ball on before shooting. Chances like this are the difference between relegation and survival and the failure to land a quality striker may well cost the club dear in the long run.

Krul was called into action when Dann popped up in the area and got on the end of a Pedersen free-kick, although the 'keeper had little to do as the ball came straight at him. Nzonzi then blazed over with a long-range effort and Formica squandered a glorious opportunity when he found the side-netting. Meanwhile, Kean had attempted to put more life into the attack when Ruben Rochina replaced the tiring Dunn, but the young Spaniard failed to make any impact.

As the game moved into added-on time, the Rovers had Givet and Dann operating up front in a desperate bid to snatch at least a point. However, the Rovers paid the price for their wastefulness in front of goal when Newcastle broke away and added a second goal. Once again the Rovers had no one to blame but themselves as they were the architects of their own downfall. Nzonzi, who had enjoyed another good game in midfield, gave the ball away to Gabriel Obertan and the former Manchester United winger immediately found fellow substitute Peter Lovenkrands with a quick pass. Obertan then raced forward and Lovenkrands hit a gloriously timed return pass into the path of Obertan. The winger was faced with a one-on-one situation with Robinson and slotted the ball past him with ease. It was the classic breakaway goal and one which was perfectly executed.

The goal was the signal for the Ewood faithful to get up and leave as the Rovers slumped to their ninth defeat at Ewood Park. The fortress Ewood atmosphere that Big Sam had engendered has long since gone as the Rovers have become something of a soft touch on home soil.

Perhaps one of the most worrying aspects of the club's fall from grace has been the fall in attendances. It would appear that the biggest protest is that taken by those fans who have turned their backs on Ewood Park and the Venky's circus. The gate of 20,817 was only made respectable by a sizeable contingent from Newcastle and one imagines that gates will continue to fall for the remainder of the season as the Rovers' descent into the Championship continues unabated.


Blackburn Rovers

Paul Robinson; Jason Lowe, Scott Dann, Gael Givet, Martin Olsson; Radosav Petrovic (Mauro Formica 66); Steven Nzonzi; Morten Gamst Pedersen, David Dunn (Ruben Rochina 78), David "Junior" Hoilett; Anthony Modeste
Subs not used: Mark Bunn (gk), Adam Henley, Grant Hanley, Simon Vukcevic, Jordan Slew
Manager: Steve Kean

Newcastle United

Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon; Ryan Taylor (Gabriel Obertan 89), Danny Guthrie; Hatem Ben Arfa (James Perch 46), Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best (Peter Lovenkrands 77); Shola Ameobi
Subs not used: Rob Elliott (gk) Mehdi Abeid, Dan Gosling, Shane Ferguson
Manager: Alan Pardew


Blackburn Rovers – Jason Lowe

Newcastle United – Ryan Taylor, Mike Williamson

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