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[Archived] News Article -> 2012/13 Match Report: Rovers 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0

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Blackburn Rovers (1) 1 – 0 (0) Sheffield Wednesday
Hanley 5
Referee: P. Gibbs Attendance: 13,782

Eric Black's first win as caretaker manager brought an end to a winless streak which had produced just three points from the previous five outings. If the performance was far from convincing at times, there is no doubt that there were glimpses, as at Derby on Saturday, that there is a touch more organisation about the way in which Black sets the team up to play. Of course, third from bottom Sheffield Wednesday is hardly the sort of opposition that one should fear. Indeed, in normal circumstances one might have expected a more convincing win than this edgy affair. However, these are not normal circumstances and for a team which can often make a colander seem watertight by comparison a win, a clean sheet and three precious points were all that mattered.

Black sprung something of a surprise when he opted to put Morten Gamst Pedersen, one of the better performers at Pride Park, on the bench and introduce Grant Hanley in the centre of defence. A defensive reshuffle resulted in Gael Givet being moved to left-back while Martin Olsson occupied Pedersen's place on the left-wing.

Black could hardly have anticipated that the introduction of Hanley would make the impact it did after just five minutes when the Scottish international defender gave the Rovers the lead. David Dunn produced a typical piece of skill to beat two men in the area and make progress along the dead-ball line before firing the ball across goal for Hanley to tap home.

The goal signalled a period of play that was some of the best that the Rovers have produced this season. With Dunn at the heart of everything, the Rovers played with a confidence that has been missing all too often of late. Sadly, it didn't last. Miguel Liera fired wide when he might have done better and Michail Antonio really ought to have brought Wednesday level when he controlled a long ball on his chest but poked his quickly taken volley wide of the post.

The sight of Dunn leaving the field, somewhat gingerly, after 35 minutes with a calf problem was a major blow to the Ewood faithful. Although Ruben Rochina announced his arrival with a rocket like shot, which Chris Kirkland did well to stop, the loss of Dunn proved to be something of a turning point in the match.

The visitors gradually began to enjoy more possession, but fortunately the Rovers defence held firm despite one or two scares.

The second half began with Wednesday enjoying plenty of possession, and in truth they ought to have done better with a couple of crosses which they didn't make the most of. One chance which fell to Liera, Wednesday's impressive centre-back, seemed likely to end in the back of the net, but inexplicably the giant defender headed wide. Fortunately, there weren't too many clear-cut chances which fell to the visitors. Ironically, it was another defender, Lewis Buxton, who created a decent opening for himself before firing wide.

The Rovers struggled to make much impression as an attacking force with Jordan Rhodes, once again, all too often left as an isolated figure. The lad may have many attributes in the penalty area but linking up play and leading the line is something which he appears to be ill at ease with. Nonetheless, on the one occasion he did manage to play Rochina in the young Spaniard was thwarted by the legs of Kirkland, who deflected his goal-bound effort away from danger.

The Rovers improved in attack when Pedersen replaced a strangely subdued Olsson for the final quarter of an hour. Indeed, the Norwegian international almost doubled the lead with a 20-yard free-kick which was deflected and seemed to have beaten Kirkland before Liera cleared off the line. Rochina also had a fierce drive tipped over by Kirkland as the Rovers renewed their attacking intentions in the closing stages.

However, Black sensibly introduced Danny Murphy for the final few minutes to try to keep possession as the Rovers closed in on an all-important win.

Defensively, the Rovers are starting to look a little more solid and clearly Black is working on the training ground to improve this aspect of the Rovers play. However, as he readily admitted in his post-match interview, the passing and ball retention is something that still needs to be improved. Nonetheless, it is a refreshing change to hear the manager acknowledge weaknesses in the performance and clearly it is something on which he is working hard to improve.

The back four were generally sound throughout. In midfield Jason Lowe caught the eye with a hard-working performance, while David Dunn was outstanding for the 35 minutes that he was on the pitch. Ruben Rochina had one of his better games and there is no doubt that he has skill in abundance. However, there are many flaws in his game and one feels that these need to be addressed if he is to fulfil his potential. Nonetheless, he remained the most potent threat we had, as Jordan Rhodes struggled to make much impression on a fairly rugged Wednesday defence that was ably served by Martin "Tiny" Taylor.

These were three vital points which enabled the Rovers to jump from twelfth to fifth place in the league. Another three points against Watford on Saturday and the new manager, whoever it may be, will have a decent platform on which to build. The fact that the Rovers have played so poorly for much of the season and yet are still in fifth position merely underlines how mediocre the Championship really is. On any given day any side can beat another, which is what makes this league so fascinating.

Sadly, the attendance was hugely disappointing and clearly the uncertainty with regard to the appointment of a new manager has done nothing to persuade people to return to Ewood Park.


Blackburn Rovers

Paul Robinson; Bradley Orr, Grant Hanley, Scott Dann, Gael Givet; Colin Kazim-Richards (Danny Murphy 83), Jason Lowe, Dickson Etuhu, Martin Olsson (Morten Gamst Pedersen 74); David Dunn (Ruben Rochina 35); Jordan Rhodes
Subs not used: Jake Kean (gk), Mauro Formica, Nuno Gomes, Diogo Rosado
Caretaker Manager: Eric Black

Sheffield Wednesday

Chris Kirkland; Lewis Buxton, Martin Taylor, Miguel Liera, Daniel Jones (Chris O'Grady 89); Jose Semedo, Jermaine Johnson, Ross Barkley, Paul Corry (Rodri 76); Michail Antonio, Gary Madine
Subs not used: Adam Davies (gk), Chris Maguire, Joe Mattock, Danny Mayor, Nejc Pecnik
Manager: Dave Jones


Blackburn Rovers – Colin Kazim-Richards

Sheffield Wednesday – Miguel Liera

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