November 10, 2012 by Made In Brum
Blackburn Rovers 1 Blues 1
Blues battled to a hard earned and fully deserved point at Ewood Park this afternoon. After a shaky start where they fell behind to a penalty, Marlon King pulled the game level with his ninth of the season. Today, Blues proved they can mix it with the best that the Championship has to offer. But this performance wasn’t all about grit and scrapiness as at times, Blues looked the better side, and on another day, could have took all three points.
Rovers started on the front foot with Danny Murphy the catalyst of everything they did. His chipped ball found Jordan Rhodes, but after going past the on-rushing Jack Butland, he was denied getting his shot away by a goal-saving tackle from Steven Caldwell.
After 13 minutes, the hosts early pressure paid off as Mauro Formica was bought down inside the area by David Murphy. Ruben Rochina calmly dispatched the penalty to give new manager Henning Berg a dream start. The lead only lasted four minutes though as Nikola Zigic nodded Chris Burke’s cross onto the post before King poked home the equaliser.
King’s goal seemed to spur Blues on as they began to stamp their authority on proceedings. King almost put Blues ahead with a powerful 20 yard drive that went narrowly over the bar. For all of Blackburn’s quick passing moves, the end product was very little as Blues’ players were working hard to close down any space, Wade Elliott in particular, did not stop running.
Nikola Zigic was clattered by ex-Blues defender Scott Dann prompting a goal-mouth scramble. Somehow, the ball cannoned up and over the upright. The big-man was causing them problems and after his flick-on was controlled by King and passed forward, Burke would have been through on goal but for a vital interception by Grant Hanley.
An opening half that saw both sides have a goal ruled out for offside was becoming more and more open. Chances for Morrison and Burke were blocked and Rhodes blazed wide from close range.
In the second half, Blues started brightly. Morrison, as usual, pulling the strings, Mullins tidying up and the two wide men bombing up and down the pitch. In the 48th minute, Burke’s cross found Zigic who headed wide.
Rovers were beginning to apply pressure when Paul Robinson came to Blues’ rescue clearing Rhodes’ header off the line. The Scotland international should have done better with his next effort, but he blazed wide from the right hand side of the box.
Blues responded when Murphy’s shot was saved. Rovers came right back with a chance of their own, but Formica’s effort was parried by Butland.
Zigic was obviously becoming leggy and was replaced by Nathan Redmond. Lee Clark was clearly seeing the need to clog the midfield up.
The game was there to be won. Mullins saw his strike tipped over the bar by Rovers ‘keeper Paul Robinson and Fabio Nunes blasted hopelessly over. Dann stopped Morrison running clear after he picked up a lose ball from Dickson Etuhu as the clock ticked down. Neither side could find the all important winner, but you get the feeling that Blues will be the happier camp with this point. Henning Berg still awaits his first win as Rovers boss.
Blues ratings- Butland 7. Spector 6. Robinson 7. Caldwell 7. Murphy 6. Burke 8. Mullins 7. Morrison 7. *ELLIOTT 8. King 7. Zigic 7…SUBS USED- Redmond 6. Ambrose n/a.
Match report by Rob Wildey.