Arguably better than Steele!
Rovers defeat Hammers in controversial fashion
On Saturday 17th December we played West Ham United at the London Stadium without the injured Jason Steele and it was one of those matches that make you realise that truth is often indeed stranger than fiction!
All the ingredients were there. A red card, a missed penalty and a scored injury-time penalty that should never have been awarded in the first place!
Two decisions by the referee decided the match. One in the first half, the other in the second half in injury time.
There had been no shots on target yet when Lens was fouled in the penalty area with just 33 minutes on the clock, going past Ospina. The referee awarded a penalty and Ospina was sent off for his professional foul; Lens stepped up to take the penalty, but he sent the ball just over the bar!!
Now you'd think we would have little to fear of the Hammers now, but our lads knew well enough that they still had to be extremely careful, even playing against ten men. After all, our opponents still had the home advantage - and they have the better squad. But we did try. Lowe sent a pot-shot at goal, but Randolph saved. Lens also had two attempts on goal but just like last week, it just wasn't his day. On the other side, Raya showed safe hands once or twice with shots on goal by West Ham.
And then, when a goalless draw seemed unavoidable, the miracle happened! Lens picked up the ball one last time. He had no space to shoot so he fed Lowe, but Cullen blocked Lowe in a good, clean tackle. At least, that's what everyone at the London Stadium thought... only the linesman had his flag up... and after some discussion the referee awarded a penalty!
Cullen got away with a warning and after a word or two with Marshall, Lens stepped up confidently and this time he made no mistake!! And immediately the final whistle was blown!
What a match! And what a result! Flanagan was once more named Man-of-the-Match, but we also received four yellow cards again, which means that Wisdom will be banned for our next match. However, right now nobody cares about that.
So we're in 14th position on the table now, but Derby defeated West Brom (2-0) so we are still too close to the relegation zone for comfort.
Meanwhile, Shenton was injured in training so he has definitively played his last match for us. We have not been very lucky with the two players on loan this season.
Also, because of his yellow card Wisdom will now be banned for our next match on Wednesday. Lack of squad depth is finally catching up with us...
Phew! Got there in the end! Needed that, solid 3 point gap there now.
A win is a win - and much needed!
Premier League surprise leaders visit Ewood Park on Monday
On Wednesday 21st December Crystal Palace, the proud leaders of the Premier League, will visit Ewood Park.
And they don't only have Joel Ward. With Benteke as their lone striker (18 goals in 28 appearances) and with Zaha and Townsend as wingers they have a very strong team although their goalkeeper, Steve Mandada got injured when they played Chelsea on Saturday (1-1). This means that 22-year-old Callum Preston will probably play on Wednesday.
As to Rovers, Steele is still injured so we will play with Raya as goalkeeper again and with Nyambe replacing the banned Andre Wisdom.
Last edited by samsami; 09-01-17 at 07:36 AM.
It maybe a dodgy decision by the ref, but you made sure that you took full advantage. You'll get some dodgy decisions and lose some, so it will balance out. Just take the advantage. Still very tight at the bottom and quite a gap between Stoke and Swansea.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
Rovers defeat 10-man Eagles at Ewood Park
On Wednesday 21st December we played Crystal Palace, the surprise leaders of the Premier League, in front of a crowd of 32,834 - still with Raya as goalkeeper and Akpan as DMC and with AkÚ as central midfielder alongside Jason Lowe, which seems to work out better than when Shenton was playing in that position.
And just like four days ago, when we played West Ham, the match was decided by the referee when he showed Joel Ward the red card with just ten minutes on the clock! And this time, too, most fans had missed any foul that Ward must have made, but they were more than happy to give the referee the benefit of the doubt! After all, Ward is supposed to be "the rock around which the formidable Crystal Palace defence is built."
Of course, after he match nobody talked about the red card anymore, only about the fact that we had bagged six points in five days!!
After Ward had been sent off, Crystal Palace brought on Humphreys and they continued without Benteke as well, hoping for a draw or perhaps trusting in their counter-attacks, but certainly not taking any risks.
There were a couple of chances for Bennett, Marshall and Lens but it was Jason Lowe who found the net early in the second half when Lens headed the ball down to him and all Lowe had to do was control the ball and apply the finish!
After that opening goal we could simply lean of our superb defence and win the match against toothless 10-man Palace.
Lens, who played well and seems full of confidence again, was named Man-of-the-Match.
Our position on the table has improved dramatically after this second 1-0 League win in five days - plus we will be playing Watford at Ewood Park on Monday and Southampton on Wednesday! Things could hardly look brighter for us! But, of course we're not there yet. Anything is possible in football as we have seen this week and the best team does not necessarily win.
Two great wins there, six points when you might have expect zero is a nice bonus!
Good to see Akpan back in the team - I'm a firm believer in giving the players who got you promoted a chance to show what they can do in the Premier League. After all, some players perform way better than their atts might suggest
That is a great result and takes a huge pressure off you for the next 2 games.
Good to see the fans still turning up in numbers despite the rather poor offer of goals at either end.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
Excellent 3 points - Red card for the opposition helping you out again too!
You sent a brown envelope to the Referee's headquarters?!
No goals at Ewood Park
On Monday 26th December we played Watford in wet, slippery conditions in front of a crowd of 32,908.
Steele was back from his injury and Nyambe replaced the suspended Adam Henley and our fans expected goals, but they are not always all that realistic. They tend to forget that we score less than one goal per League match (and when we do score it's often against ten men...) and even against the team that resides at the bottom of the League we failed to find the net to-day.
In fact, the best chances were for Watford. Pereyra struck a free-kick and he came close, but Steele did well to get his fingertips to the ball. Steele also managed to turn the ball behind after a header by Behrami, who climbed above Flanagan after a Watford corner. And a banana shot by Ighalo from outside the box went only just wide.
Lens could perhaps have scored for us in injury time after a great pass by Lowe, but his shot skidded on the wet surface and went wide. Not that we would have deserved it..
Our defence was solid as ever, Nyambe played fantastically as well, but we just don't score goals. We hardly created any chances. Wisdom was named Man-of-the-Match.
So strangely enough we defeated West Ham and Crystal Place, but we failed to win our first two relegation six-pointers at Ewood Park! Part of the reason obviously is that we are better at defending than at attacking. Even so, we are in a relatively secure position on the Premier League table right now with the third relegation six-pointer coming up on Wednesday, so after just two days of rest. And three days later it's Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium!
I hope that the lack of goals isn't going to cost you. There must be some Bosmans coming available to sign for the summer.
Still, 6 points clear of relegation and 22 points is not a bad place to be at this stage.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
Extremely lucky to get a point there - worrying against the bottom team in league but I think this is how your season will be - totally unpredictable!
Fair play to the fans - cracking attendance against the whipping boys
Needed a win there, would have been good to have a 9 point gap on the bottom 3.
Can definitely see you investing in new strikers in the Summer!
Another goalless draw; Lens injured!
After just one full day of rest we played Southampton on Wednesday 28th December in front of a faithful crowd of 32,800 and for the third time this month we failed to win a relegation six-pointer at Ewood Park.
The result may have been almost predictable, but it certainly wasn't a boring match. We had Mulgrew replace the suspended Jason Lowe and Southampton could have scored after just five minutes already when Redmond was free of our last defender and attempted to hit the ball in low, but Steele saved well and held the ball. Three minutes later Boutal was left with a simple finish but he put the ball just wide and could probably have kicked himself for missing that chance.
Southampton was much stronger in the opening phase and with ten minutes on the clock Boutal tried to take the ball past Akpan, who took away the legs of Boutal, but much to our relief the referee turned down the penalty appeal!
We had our first chance with twenty minutes on the clock, but Akpan put the ball just over. Two minutes later it was Klavan who took away the legs of Redmond but once again Mr.Kah kindly turned down the penalty appeal! Things did not look good though. Still, the very next scoring chance was for Mulgrew who tried a header and hit the post! The rebound fell to AkÚ who unleashed a thunderbolt which Forster stopped with a great reflex save.
Most of our players were getting tired and the second half was considerably less eventful. However, there were far too many yellow cards and as a result Klavan will now be banned for our next match.
Deep into the second half H÷jbjerg actually found the net, but it was ruled out as Boufal had strayed fractionally offside and so the game petered out until the very last minute of the match when Lens had to go off injured. Jeremain Lens, the very last player we can afford to miss!
As usual our defence was solid enough, but we still fail to create proper scoring chances. The good news is that Ryan Nyambe is at the top of his form and he is already becoming a genuine first team player. It's very nice to have a youth player break through and perform well at this level!
So while we unexpectedly beat West Ham and Crystal Palace this month, we have only drawn our games at home to Sunderland, Watford and Southampton...
Lens' injury means that he will miss our next two Premier League matches, against Arsenal and Liverpool, and possibly also our FA Cup match against AFC Wimbledon. Fortunately, our physiotherapists have no long term concern over our striker.
Tighter than a ducks @ss that game - good collective effort by the "D" though
Get a point a game for rest of season and you are safe
Lens is a big blow but maybe time for someone to step up and shine given the chance in his place
I do not think your tactics/formation have anything to do with it (just the quality/depth of attacking mid and strikers) but are you tempted to change or happy with how things are?
What are the Jan window transfer plans given you have no cash - loan signings?
Still edging away, so definately a point won. The lack of goals is a big worry and if Lens is missing who do you have to step upto the plate ?
The artist formally known as The Eejit