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Rovers 1 Newcastle 1


Alan75
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Match Report by Scotty

Edited by Alan75

My heart sank when I heard the team before the game.  No Short (what's wrong with him now?), Douglas on the left still and, worst of all, Gallagher relegated to the bench.  I thought Cole had to be brought back into the team but not at the expense of Gallagher.  

Anyway, in the first half all my fears proved to be groundless.  We were superb, probably the best we've played at home since the opening day of the season.  

Emerton and Neill tore Newcastle apart down the right, Gray overlapped brilliantly down the left, and Tugay, playing in a more advanced role than usual, pulled the strings in midfield.  We snapped into every tackle, competed for every high ball and generally bossed the game.  All we needed was a finish.  Off the top of my head Douglas (2), Emerton, Babbel, Cole, and Stead (2) all had presentable chances to open the scoring - they all missed.

We had a couple of scares at the back but the back four and Friedel dealt with them comfortably enough.  So, we went in at half time at 0-0 but we had played them off the park.  There was a nagging feeling though that we would regret not scoring while we were so on top.

Sure enough, the second half started and it was like the two teams had swapped shirts.  Suddenly Newcastle were a yard quicker and they started to put us under a sustained period of pressure for the first time in the game.  Robson had obviously tore a strip off them at half time.  They won a series of corners and, from one of them, a hopeful cross was allowed to bounce in our six yard box.  Friedel and Babbel collided with each other in an attempt to clear the ball and Bellamy was left unmarked at the far post to finish off a difficult chance.

Our confidence sapped, theirs grew.  The next twenty minutes or so saw Blackburn chasing the ball as Newcastle kept possession and looked threatening whenever they went forward.  However, our defence held out somehow thanks to some good challenges, some bad finishing by Newcastle, and a bit of luck.

Following the replacement of Douglas with Gallagher, we gradually started to come back into the game.  Emerton, who had been well shackled in the second half by Newcastle, started to get a bit more freedom.  Gallagher made some of his increasingly impressive runs from the left and the forwards started to retain possession a bit better than they had done previously in the half.  

The equaliser eventually came and it was no surprise that Gallagher was the catalyst.  He was found after another good run into the inside right channel and his cross was superb.  Stead still had plenty to do though and his finish was precise.

Blackburn being Blackburn we still had a nervous last five or ten minutes to endure, especially one particular scramble where Newcastle seemed to have at least five chances to score but fluffed them all, but we held out and earned a well deserved point.

© 2004 BRFCS.com

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