As has been reported, it was an ugly win and if you donâ€™t believe it then stats of two Spurs shots on target and no corners should help convince you. As usual playing a Sam Allardyce team was about as enjoyable as chewing tin foil; it was a tetchy and snippy affair from start to finish with Rovers sponsorsâ€™ man of the match winner Vincent Grella doing the best impression of David Batty youâ€™ll ever see, suggesting that headless terrier performances arenâ€™t uncommon at Ewood these days. After one particular episode of trying to fend off the Australianâ€™s snapping attention Wilson Palacios ended up doing a bizarre impression of a Catherine wheel in the centre circle. No free kick was awarded and that pretty much summed up the performance of ref Philip Walton who let both sides get away with most of what they attempted, only Corluka ended up in the book.
We spent most of the first half battling to retain possession, composure and shape. Gomes made a couple of important saves from Di Santo, Defoe shot wide after one of our rare coherent passing movements but that was about it for a fractured & frustrating first half until Kranjcar chased down Huddlestoneâ€™s wildly sliced shot and sent a first time high cross into the penalty area where Peter Crouch headed in from close range. Long time Yiddo Paul Robinson reminded us of the good old days by remaining stuck to his line as disaster unfolded in front of him.
As if to confirm his part in the goal Robbo spent ages at the start of the second half receiving and giving applause to the away fans high in the upper tier. The prospect of those same fans serenading the team to the tune of Jingle Bells looked very distant as Blackburn dominated the opening 15 minutes after half time. Again Gomes made a crucial intervention as he spread himselfÂ when McCarthy shaped to shoot from point blank range. Iâ€™d already sunk into my seat in disappointed acceptance as our favourite Brazilian deflected the ball on to the post and Bassong toed the rebound away.
Redknapp decided enough was enough and firstly swapped Jenas on for Palacios, presumably to help give us more composure when in possession as Wilson was having a perfectly good game in his usual midfield tough guy role, and then ten minutes later brought Robbie Keane on for the ineffective Jermain Defoe. Defoe was having one of those games where he looks too small for the role of keeping the ball up and he wasnâ€™t finding enough room to make himself dangerous. Instead of playing right up against the centre backs Keane dropped off and all of a sudden we had a link between the front and the midfield. For the last twenty minutes we were in control and following a lovely break Crouch finished superbly across Robinson when Jenas slid him in after a lung bursting run.
More tributes to Robbo rang out from the Darwen End as well as Jingles Bells, â€œLetâ€™s all have a partyâ€ & â€œLetâ€™s all go to Dublinâ€.
So Dawsonâ€™s fine run as skipper continues, three wins and a draw. Whilst those around him were togged up as though setting out for the Russian front in midwinter Dawson not only was gloveless, he was wearing a sleeveless shirt as well. The win was achieved largely by the big man figuratively rolling up those missing sleeves and getting others around him to do the same. Fulham on Saturday will no doubt require similar efforts.
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