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

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Blackburn Rovers (0) 1 – 0 (0) Ipswich Town
Rhodes 61
Referee: K. Wright Attendance: 14,343

In a season when nothing has gone to plan it is, perhaps, not surprising that the attempts of Jordan Rhodes to write his name in the record books should be surrounded by uncertainty. Did he score in the sixty-first minute or should the goal be recorded as an own goal by Scott Henderson? Although Rhodes is in no doubt that he got the decisive touch and whilst Michael Appleton has been happy to credit Rhodes with the goal which was initially credited to Henderson and then later to Rhodes, the confusion rather summed up the way things have gone this season. Nothing, it would seem, is ever straightforward at Ewood Park these days.

New signing DJ Campbell had to be content with a place on the bench as Appleton opted to start with the same eleven that had delivered three points the previous week against Bristol City.

The first forty-five minutes were something of a non-event in terms of goalmouth action as both sides settled down to a war of attrition in midfield. In truth, both sides seemed to cancel each other out with neither side looking capable of delivering the telling pass that might open up a defence. The Rovers' most dangerous moves came from set-pieces with Morten Gamst Pedersen delivering some decent balls into the area. However, from free play the Rovers looked as toothless as the visitors with Rhodes and Colin Kazim-Richards starved of service.

The second half began in similar fashion, but gradually the Rovers began to see rather more of the ball in the final third. Once again, it was Kazim-Richards who began to unsettle the visitors with his physical approach to the game. Appleton, who has not been noted for his use of substitutes, opted for an early change with DJ Campbell coming on to support Rhodes and Kazim-Richards moving to right-wing.

Within minutes of the change the Rovers had grabbed the lead. A corner from Danny Murphy found Grant Hanley on the back post and he stabbed the ball goalwards without making a proper contact with the ball. Aaron Cresswell was on the line to clear but could only hit the ball towards Scott Henderson and Jordan Rhodes. In an instant the ball had found its way into the back of the net. Initially it was thought to have come off Henderson, but Rhodes seemed to get a boot to the ball at the same time and hence the decision to award him with the goal.

The goal enabled Rhodes to equal the club record of scoring in seven successive league matches — a feat last achieved by Eddie Quigley in the 1954–55 season — but, more importantly, it proved sufficient to deliver another vital three points.

Any debate about the legitimacy of Rhodes' claim to a share of the record ought to have been put to bed long before the end of this match. Inexplicably he spurned further chances to put the game and the debate to rest. Three times he saw headed opportunities fly narrowly wide.

The visitors had a chance near the end when Guirane N'Daw was inches wide with a shot from the edge of the area after a poor defensive header from Grant Hanley.

There was nothing pretty about this game and little that will linger in the memory. However, for this supporter it was a welcome return to a more pragmatic style of management which places the emphasis on points rather than entertainment.

The success over Bristol City the previous week added a few more to the gate and underlined the fact that although many fans will not return on a point of principle until the present owners have left, there are still fans out there that may be tempted to return if the Rovers can improve the results they achieve at Ewood Park. It was ever thus and, once again, puts into perspective much of the nonsense that the "Back the Badge" campaign was about before it faded into the obscurity that it so richly deserved. The public of Blackburn doesn't need to be told when and how to back their club and if the owners want to get the public back on side, then forget endless meetings with small groups of fans and simply put a winning team on the pitch. In over fifty years of supporting the club I have found it always to be the case that folk will come to watch a winning team and stay away if the team is struggling irrespective of the division in which we are playing. There is nothing unique about Blackburn folk in that regard: it is the same at all clubs. Attendances generally reflect how well a team is doing on the pitch.

A second successive win against potential relegation candidates has inevitably led to talk about the play-offs, which are now only four points away. However, in the opinion of this scribe, such talk is rather premature. Appleton's restructuring of the club is very much a work in progress and the Rovers are about to embark upon a difficult series of games. The next three Tuesday nights see the Rovers on the road to Brighton, Hull and Leicester — oh, the delights of being a travelling supporter — with a visit from Leeds United sandwiched in between. Indeed, the trip to Arsenal at the weekend might be viewed as light relief. However, if the Rovers can come through February unscathed, then it might — just might — be possible to start dreaming about a possible charge for the play-offs.

Defensively the performance against Ipswich was far from faultless. Whilst Jake Kean was untroubled in goal, there were one or two unsettling moments early on. Scott Dann and Grant Hanley improved as the game went on, although both remain prone to rather elementary mistakes. Bradley Orr again had a mixed afternoon with his distribution being found wanting on more than one occasion. Martin Olsson also had his problems at left-back and one suspects that any team with a couple of decent wingers will continue to cause us problems. It must be said that the defence improved after the interval and looked far more comfortable as the game went on.

Danny Murphy had a quietly effective game in midfield and kept things ticking over while Jason Lowe attempted to provide the movement in the centre of the park. However, whilst Murphy can still provide the occasional defence-splitting pass, Lowe is very much more limited in terms of distribution. Nonetheless, he did a decent job in closing down the Ipswich midfield.

Neither Markus Olsson nor Morten Gamst Pedersen made much progress on the flanks, but Pedersen still offered a threat from set-pieces until a reorganisation saw him replaced by DJ Campbell.

Both Jordan Rhodes and Colin Kazim-Richards were starved of service in the first half and found themselves on the periphery of the game. However, things changed with the introduction of Campbell. Kazim-Richards began to rattle the Ipswich defenders, who became increasingly agitated with his antics and this, in turn, seemed to inspire Kazim-Richards to produce the sort of form that is so effective at this level.

After the goal, chances began to come to Rhodes, who surprisingly was unable to make the most of them. Campbell had a fairly quiet introduction to life at Ewood Park, but there were one or two moments which suggested he could offer something different to Rhodes and Kazim-Richards. Undoubtedly, with these three and Leon Best, the Rovers must surely have the most formidable attacking quartet in the division.

With more arrivals likely and more of the foreign contingent being shipped out, it would appear that Appleton has been given a free hand to rebuild the club. It might not be pretty, but his pragmatic approach is surely what this club needs at this moment in time rather than the "Fancy Dans" that Shebby favoured. One can only hope that a couple of defeats will not see a return to the meddling in certain quarters of those in the boardroom and that the fans will stick with him even if, in all likelihood, it means another season of Championship football.


Blackburn Rovers

Jake Kean; Bradley Orr, Scott Dann, Grant Hanley, Martin Olsson; Morten Gamst Pedersen (DJ Campbell 57), Jason Lowe, Danny Murphy, Markus Olsson; Colin Kazim-Richards, Jordan Rhodes
Subs not used: Sebastian Usai (gk), Gael Givet, Fabio Nunes, Nuno Gomes, Josh Morris, David Goodwillie
Manager: Michael Appleton

Ipswich Town

Stephen Henderson; Richard Stearman, Luke Chambers, Tommy Smith, Aaron Cresswell; Carlos Edwards (Frank Nouble 80), Guirane N'Daw, Luke Hyam, Daryl Murphy; Aaron Mclean (Anthony Wordsworth 72), David McGoldrick (Michael Chopra 72)
Subs not used: Arran Lee-Barrett (gk), Elliott Hewitt, Patrick Kisnorbo, Andy Drury
Manager: Mick McCarthy


Blackburn Rovers – Colin Kazim-Richards

Ipswich Town – None

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