Rovers finally win again at Ewood Park
On Monday 26th December we played Leeds United in front of a crowd of 20,244 who finally saw us win a home game again with Marshall having an influential role with both goals.
The opener was scored by Henley after Marshall had driven the ball in low and Green had saved and deflected the ball clear. Our left defender picked up on the loose ball and had the chance to score and he did not fail!
Hernández cancelled out that opener with a high and hard shot. Steele never moved. But the second half had barely started when Marshall got past Roofe and tried a vicious shot for the top corner. Green, who was superb to-day, did well to parry it but the ball fell to Byrne who looked odds-on the score and that's exactly what he did!
In fact, if it had not been for Green we would definitely have scored more goals, but at least we finally won a home game again!
Derby prove too strong for Rovers
Five days later, on Saturday 31st December we played our final match of the year against Championship table leaders Derby County at the iPro Stadium.
And our lads battled like fury - but Derby County proved too strong for us.
Derby almost scored an early goal when Anya crossed into the box from the left and Hughes climbed above Steele and scored, but it was ruled out as Hughes had strayed fractionally offside. But when Vydra got free in the penalty area and hit a speculative effort there was nothing Steele could do to deny the Czech striker.
We did get some chances, too. Lens and Conway both tried several shots at goal, but without any luck. However, Derby were the stronger team and they had the home advantage and if truth be told, they deserved to win the match.
So Derby are still the Championship table leaders and we will face Aston Villa at Ewood Park next. Things still look good for us but we cannot afford to loose too many points at this stage,
Bit of a slip up at Derby, nice to win at home again though. Looks like it's getting tough up there now.
Good win v Leeds - if they won that they wouldn't be far from playoffs so good to knock down someone trying to get in there
Unlucky not to get a point v Derby
Mixed emotions following dramatic six-goal thriller at Ewood Park
Few of the 17,178 fans who attended the match will easily forget the clash between Rovers and Aston Villa on Wednesday 4th January 2017.
Both teams wanted to win this six-pointer and it started well for us when Lens passed the ball into the area looking for the run of Conway (who replaced the injured Elliot Bennett) and to the delight of the crowd Conway scored with a fantastic header to give us the early lead with just two minutes on the clock!!
And we played well that first half hour, until McCormack almost scored when he blasted the ball towards the top corner, but Steele pushed it away brilliantly.
And then it was Ben Marshall's turn! He has been criticised lately, but he remains invaluable for us. Ward passed to ball to him after a long forward run and Marshall scored with a great strike to give us a comfortable two-goal lead just before half-time, with both goals scored by our wingers.
Now perhaps we became overconfident because the second half showed a totally different story. This time it was Villa who were in charge of the game and it took McCormack just seven minutes to score with a great strike. And it got much worse. A little later Grealish picked up on the loose ball and he hit it in low on his right foot. Steele managed to parry the ball but it fell to Ayew and he had no trouble applying the finish like a real striker.
That equaliser silenced the crowd and fear crept into our lads. Villa sensed that they could even win the match now and sure enough, disaster hit when Grealish was knocked to the floor by Marshall and a penalty was awarded! Ayew stepped up to take the spot kick and he confidently nestled the ball into the back of the net!
It was all or nothing now and our lads overcame their fear. Byrne came quite close when he shot right-footed on the half volley, but Burn did well to save and hold onto the ball.
And then Mulgrew came forward. Our Scottish defender jinked past Baker and skipped past the challenge of Adomah and shot for the top corner and found the net!!
We had squared the match two minutes into injury time!!
A very fascinating, but awkward game. We should have beaten Villa but in the end we could only count ourselves lucky to have drawn the game.
Now because Newcastle United won their game at Norwich (0-2) we dropped to fifth position on the table.
What a thriller! Looks like both you and Villa are losing consistency having been in that top 2 earlier on in the season.
A point gained maybe
Newcastle winning was probably good as Norwich would have jumped into playoffs
Déjà vu for Rovers and Chelsea
On Saturday 7th January 2017 we were eliminated from the FA Cup when Chelsea beat us (2-1) just like they had done in the EFL Cup match on 26th October 2016.
Once again we can be proud of the result, but once again they left us empty-handed.
Still, some of our players who have shown in both matches that they can actually perform at this level and that was very good to see. In the EFL Cup match Ward (DC) and Akpan (DMC) were our best players and this time Steele, Ward and Lens made the best impression.
Diego Costa scored both goals for Chelsea, the first one from the penalty spot and the second goal with just two minutes remaining, while Lens scored our goal just after the break with a fierce shot.
It was pretty obvious that we were no match for Chelsea; and even though the result did not make that very clear, the match stats certainly did.
Meanwhile, in this January transfer window many clubs are putting in bids for our players, but so far we have not lost any important first team player.
Meanwhile, we are trying to get our best players to sign new contracts rather than have them leave the club in the current transfer window and we have been quite successful already.
Very inconsistant at the moment. You could have done with the point at Derby, then having to salvage a point against Villa having been 2-0 up. I'm not spotting any stand out players, it seems to be different players every game.
How are the finances looking. Must have taken a hit with all the contract negotiations. Is there anything left for a big January signing ?
The artist formally known as The Eejit
Good work in keeping hold of Akpan! I usually sort out contracts at the start of every season, saves potentially losing players once they're in the final 6 months.
Expected elimination in the FA Cup but in fairness, you've not been absolutely pumped by them in both games.
Pumped by Chelsea (not by the scoreline) but hardly unexpected
Great news on the contracts front
Are Rovers ready for the Premier League?
When Samsami Sungo signed as manager for Blackburn Rovers F.C. he was told by the Board that they expected a respectable league position at the end of his first year as manager, but after week 19 the club were unexpectedly leading the table and fans' expectations were higher than ever.
Since then Rovers have dropped to 5th place and the question which is on everyone's mind right now is: Are Rovers ready for the Premier League? As one pundit put it, Rovers as a team are very inconsistent at the moment and they lack stand out players.
The Dutch manager remains silent. He said, soon after he had been appointed, that promotion is the long-term goal, but obviously the club has performed well above expectation and fans now demand nothing less than promotion this year.
Dutch striker Jeremain Lens was signed at the beginning of the season and so far he has done better than many fans had expected. Together with Akpan and Hoban (on loan from Watford) and to some extent Bennett and Steele, Lens has been responsible for the club's success so far.
But is it enough to secure promotion? And if they do get promoted, would Rovers even survive in the Premier League with their current squad?
Obviously the club shall have to sign some quality players if they do gain promotion, but who could they bring in to help bolster their squad?
And, more importantly, would the club actually benefit from promotion to the Premier League? Premier League promotion may be worth millions of pounds in hard cash, but is the club ready for it? Would they survive in the Premier League or would they immediately be relegated again?
None of these questions can be answered yet, and most fans don't even bother to ask the hard questions. But perhaps these are exactly the kind of questions they should ask themselves.
I think you'll finish in the playoffs but next year will be the year, once you've been able to add more quality after a cash boost!
Promotion. A season of survival, then mid-table and a cup.
The artist formally known as The Eejit
Dont you sign Bosmans ?
Or does nobody want to come to Blackburn ?
I had never expected Akpan to perform so well. And Hoban, of course, but he is on loan and Watford don't want to sell him to us.
Last edited by samsami; 30-11-16 at 02:10 PM.
A nice mid season summary of the squad stats
Good luck with the team, but I believe you do need a restructuring when you get to the premier league
Rovers inconsistent form continues to be a problem
On Saturday 14th January we played Rotherham United at the AESSEAL New York Stadium and unfortunately our opponents happened to play their best game of the season to-day.
For about half an hour the game was more or less in balance, but suddenly within five minutes it was all over! First Crouch scored the opener from close range, then two minutes later Blackstock found the net with a powerful header and finally, three minutes after that second Rotherham goal Mulgrew sent the ball to Byrne who scored for us, only it was ruled out because Bennett had strayed offside!
That was the breaking point and our lads resigned to their fate. Eventually Blackstock found the next a second time to score the third Rotherham goal, but none of that mattered anymore.
A poor performance by our team, although we weren't very lucky to-day, either.
Rovers defeat Huddersfield
On Saturday 21st January we played Huddersfield Town in front of a crowd of just 16,808 and this time our players pulled themselves together after the Rotherham loss. Of course, Schindler helped us quite a bit by punching Byrne in the face so that Hudderfield had to finish the match with ten men.
Lens scored a great goal just before half-time when Byrne, who had fully recovered from the punch in his face, sent the ball into the area for Hoban; Hoban headed it towards the goal and when Danny Ward could only parry it Lens collected the ball and applied the finish!
It took quite a while before the match was finally decided by Hoban who got above Kent to win the ball and found the net with a fine header. His second goal of the season.
Akpan was named Man-of-the-Match again - for the seventh time already.
Meanwhile, Rittenberg decided to join Dundee United, where he will probably spend a lot of his time on the bench.
However, Conway (average rating 6.89) has also opted to leave the club. He will move to Wigan at the end of this season. Conway is a useful sub but he is already 32-years old and we do have a number of talented youth players like Lewis Hardcastle and Joe Rankin-Costello who can't wait to join the first team.
And there was some good news as well when Ben Marshall (7.12) decided to stay with the club and signed a new three-year contract.
We are still on target to finish in the playoffs, but it is a very long season and perhaps it's just as well that we have already been knocked out of the League Cup and the FA Cup...
Oof, that's a shocker at Rotherham! Very bad day at the office!
Back to winning ways after though and great to see Marshall sign a new deal.
Could do with a good couple of games, or you'll start to lose touch with the teams above you...
Rotherham was a shocker and you got lucky with an early red card for the win in next game
I think even if you manage to W1 and L1 for rest of season playoffs will be safe
Crouch/Blacktock sounds a great tall man/fast man pairing for Rotherham
Rovers win at Portman Road
On Saturday 4th February 2017 we played Ipswich Town at Portman Road in our regular formation and with our best-possible lineup.
And with Tom Hoban as Man-of-the-Match (Hoban will be sorely missed after this season!) we outplayed Ipswich and won the game, even though our opponents had just managed to sign none other than Feyenoord's goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer(!) and the Dutchman actually played very well in his first match for Ipswich.
It was Lens again who scored the opening goal for us when he received the ball from Akpan and had a go from long range.
We had to wait until the very last minute before the match was finally decided by Bennett who was first to the rebound after Vermeer, who played an otherwise very solid game, had let the ball run free.
A well-deserved win; we are back to winning ways! Akpan's yellow card means he will miss the next match, though.
Rovers beat Sheffield Wednesday as well
The next week, on Saturday 11th February we played Sheffield Wednesday in front of a decent-sized crowd of 19,003 with Darragh Lenihan replacing the suspended Hope Akpan as central defensive midfielder.
And we played remarkably well again, only somehow we created precious few scoring chances and it took almost an hour before we decided the match. By that time we had already lost Bennett, who had come off with a knock in the first half to be replaced by Conway, who is leaving the club at the end of the season, but who is obviously still very useful for us at times when Bennett is unavailable.
Both of our goals were scored by none other than Ben Marshall, who is a happy camper again after he signed his new contract. Marshall once more showed his value for the club and he was promptly named Man-of-the-Match.
Byrne provided the assist for Marshall's first goal. After a long forward run he skipped past the challenge of O'Shea and found Marshall free in the box.
Although we created hardly any scoring opportunities we did show ourselves superior to Sheffield Wednesday and absolutely deserved to win the match.
So we are winning our games again while Wolves lost to Derby (0-1) and Newcastle unexpectedly lost away to Queens Park Rangers! We are back in the high life again!
2 brilliant clean sheet wins there - the Sheff Wed one a tad fortunate the keeper had a 'mare
Where are the Ben Marshall doubters now?!
Your defence is very good and goal difference could come into this........