soccernet blog
Blackburn Rovers
March 19, 2009

No consolation for Blackburn that they lost 4-0, then Hull lost - controversially - only 2-1, no more than the way Watford feel about the same score after Cardiff's penalty.

Arsenal made 6 changes from the Blackburn game, but Arshavin could still play with a stitched-up foot. It must be like playing in the tropics for him. Rovers looked outclassed, stitched-up, and have to pick themselves up for West Ham on Sat'dy. They're not going down.

The Rams start training on July 1 - the new season starts on August 8. They will be playing
Burton Albion, Notts County, Chesterfield, then touring the West Country, playing Yeovil, Torquay United and Exeter City. August 1st will bring a Premier or foreign side to Pride Park.

Barnsley, our opponents on Sat'dy, took a giant stride up after falling 0-1 down to Palace yesterday, scoring 3 to finish 3-1, and surging up 3 places to 19th, displacing Plymouth on the same points with a goal difference of -11. They need a 3-0 win over us to displace us on 46 points. Forest drop into the zone, and we are 5 points above them. If we had lost to them, we would be below them, with Barnsley & Plymouth. Meanwhile, Tommy Smith put Watford ahead at Cardiff tonight after 8 minutes, but Jay Boothroyd equalised 6 minutes later. The point would have put Watford into 15th, displacing Coventry on the same points, but Ross McCormack has just been yellow-carded in the 97th minute for celebrating his goal in the 94th, which keeps Watford on the same points and goal difference as us. Cardiff's move up means we're 16 points below the play-offs, Burnley are now 6th. Still, it's survival this season, then show that we're better than Burton Albion now, as well as the pick of the West Country, before we go for promotion. Leicester will come up, West Brom will come down, the rest is all to play for.

March 14, 2009

Less than half-an-hour left, Rams are 3-1 down, 'tho apparently 56% to 44% for possession, while Blackburn have just gone 2-0 down to a rampant Arsenal with 53% possession.
Henderson' s lurking for a hat-trick.
Sheff Utd
01 Kenny
32 Bromby
05 Morgan
06 Kilgallon
03 Naysmith
04 Cotterill
30 Naughton
21 O'Toole
28 Quinn
18 Ward
07 Henderson
02 Halford, 09 Lupoli, 13 Bennett, 19 Beattie, 20 Howard
13 Bywater
28 Albrechtsen
22 Todd
19 Nyatanga
02 Connolly
23 Teale
30 Eustace (46 Bannan)
08 Savage
25 Barazite
20 Davies
11 Hulse
06 Kazmierczak, 10 Villa, 12 Price, 16 Sterjovski, 33 Bannan
Ref: Iain Williamson
Att: 27565

Yellows for Todd, Eustace, Hulse, our goal-scorer, made by Teale. As I write, Barry Bannon, on loan from Aston Villa, makes it 3-2 with a GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.
Made by Steve Davis, who has been impressive all afternoon.Barry can stay, too. Possession's now 52% for the Blades, but we have our second corner, comes to nothing.

Arshavin has two for Arsenal, also looking for a hat-trick.
01 Almunia
03 Sagna
05 Toure
20 Djourou
22 Clichy
14 Walcott
17 Song Billong
15 Denilson
23 Arshavin
08 Nasri
26 Bendtner
21 Fabianski, 02 Diaby, 10 Gallas, 11 Van Persie, 12 Vela, 27 Eboue, 40 Gibbs
01 Robinson
22 Simpson
04 Samba
02 Ooijer
21 Givet (13 Dunn)
18 Diouf
15 Mokoena
13 Khizanishvili (66 McCarthy)
03 Warnock (55 Olsson)
12 Pedersen
30 Roberts
38 Bunn, 05 Kerimoglu, 08 Dunn, 10 McCarthy, 17 Andrews, 24 Treacy, 29 Olsson
Ref: Phil Dowd
Blackburn also have three yellows, Diouf, Mokoena, Khizanishvili - and now Ooijer after 75 minutes.

Rams putting on another Villa player - Tito Villa for Barazite.

Burnley are 5-0 up at home to Forest, 5 names on the scoresheet.

As for Blackburn's hard-won 15th position, Newcastle are 1-1 at Hull, Middlesbrough are 1-1 to Portsmouth, Stoke are 2-1 down at Everton. 3rd goal for Arsenal. Arshavin made it with a shot which Robinson parried, for Eboue to score.

The battling Rams have Teale running through to pass to Villa, whose shot is deflected over for a Teale corner, and Connolly slips as he shoots over. They continue to press, but lose the ball, and it's back up the other end for the Blades' fourth, Halford, who came on after 72 minutes for Bromby, passing through for Beattie, who came on after 83 for Cotterill.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have a fourth, a penalty which Eboue converts, but Middlebrough have equalised to help make it less of a long journey home, as Blackburn hold on to 15th. Stoke are in the zone, Pompey clamber out. West Ham visit next Sat'dy.

I'll be at Pride Park, we'll be swelling the crowd with half-a-dozen of us on a family visit, including my Aussie cousin, as we battle Barnsley. They have just lost 0-1 to Blackpool at home, pitching them into the zone as Norwich move out with 3 points by beating Plymouth, and Saints draw 0-0 to QPR. We cede 16th to Watford, with a 2-2 home draw to the Owls giving them 46 points, goal difference -4, while ours slips to -5 with that 96th minute Blades' goal. Blackpool's win gives them 46 points, GD improved to -12. 19th Plymouth, 43, -13, 20th Norwich, 42, -8, 21st Forest 41, -18, then Barnsley 40, -13. Really scary for Forest is the games in hand, Barnsley have played 36, Forest 39, only 7 games left to Barnsley's 10. Saints have 8 left. Bottom are Charlton, devastated after levelling with then losing to Wolves, doomed, dead with 28 points. It begins to look as if they'll be joined by a petrified Forest, and perhaps even the Saints will descend into Hell....

March 12, 2009

15 Blackburn 28 3 5 6 15 21 4 4 6 17 23 -12 30
16 Stoke 28 7 4 3 17 13 0 4 10 10 31 -17 29
17 Newcastle 28 4 6 4 20 22 2 4 8 14 23 -11 28


18 Portsmouth 27 5 2 7 18 22 2 5 6 11 22 -15 28
19 Middlesbrough 28 4 6 4 12 15 2 2 10 8 25 -20 26
20 West Brom 28 5 2 7 19 27 1 2 11 6 27 -29 22

Roma equalised against Arsenal, and they're playing extra time... another tiring team... penalty shoot-out coming up... is that Sam smiling? Arsenal's Eduardo saved by Roma's goalie, Roma score, Pizarro Van Persie 1-1. An awful penalty from Roma's Vucinic. Walcott scores 2-1. Brazilian Baptista 2-2. 3-2 for Arsenal, Frenchman Nasri. Montella sidefoot 3-3. Denielsen places, shoots, scores down the middle, 4-3, Totti 4-4. Toure 5-4. Aquilani 5-5. Sagna 6-5. Riise 6-6. Diaby 7-6. Tonetto misses... Arsenal are through. I'm not entirely clear how that helps Blackburn. Max Tonetto blazed over the bar, and all 4 English teams are through.

As the commentator says, it's a long way to come to see Fulham's Danny Murphy head a bouncing ball forward for Clinton Dempsey to put away, 1-0 to Fulham after 2 minutes.

Stephen Warnock hits one after turning, it's hit the inside of the post, and out. As close as Derby's non-winner last night, should have been the equaliser, 17th minute. Between the 2nd & 17th minute, it could have been 3 or 4-0, but we've survived that, and could have been level.

After 22 minutes, Clinton Dempsey's penalised for handball, but it's just a weak shot from El-Hadji Diouf for Mark Schwarzer to save. Blackburn's resident Dane, Morten Gamst Pedersen isn't doing any better, a weak shot, a weak corner, a centre which is cleared, it has no conviction, no confidence. This is one evening when we need to take centre stage, none of the others are playing in the League, but the mid-field is looking shaky, and Fulham have 60% possession. Jason Roberts has a half-chance, it doesn't quite come to him, and his header goes straight to Schwarzer. Half-time as El-Hadji Diouf gets a yellow for a foul on Hangeland.

Second half, Jason Roberts clears a corner from El-Hadji Diouf, Danny Murphy gets a yellow for a foul on Tugay Kerimoglu. Fulham corner. Keith Andrews makes way for top scorer Benny McCarthy, and Steven Warnock hits a stupendous strike, somehow saved by Schwarzer. It should be 2-1 to Blackburn, both from Warnock. Encouraging, but it'll need power and luck to get past Schwarzer, and Fulham are still dangerous. Rovers desperately need a goal.

It's Samba squaring it to El-Hadji Diouf, who equalises! GOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL 1-1 69th minute. Here's Steven Warnock, shoots, how does Schwarzer save that one? That's the best yet, it's a hat-trick against a different goalie, but that shot would have been on anyone's goal of the month. Even so, the game's changed, maybe there is something to the fatigued Fulham theory, plus Sam's half-time talk has reached mythical status.

Fulham changes 77th Aaron Hughes replaced by Toni Kallio, 80th Zoltan Gera off for Diomansy Kamara. Hodgson going for the win, despite Blackburn now having more possession and looking more likely. Clinton Dempsey header goes over. Blackburn changes Aaron Mokoena coming on for Tugay Kerimoglu, and as they look to make the last change, Roberts shoots, GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

Fulham 1 Rovers 2! Believe it! Morten Gamst Pedersen delivered, Jason Roberts, well inside the penalty area, hits it low into the middle past Schwarzer, who's no longer looking invincible. Five minutes left. Then four minutes of added time. 3 points and 15th at stake.

On comes Erik Nevland for Simon Davies. We get a corner, 3 added minutes gone. It's back with Fulham, Erik Nevland going for glory, but Paul Robinson's equal to it. Final whistle. Back to London on Sat'dy, but it's only Arsenal, so I'll have a look at the Rams away to the Blades.

All very well enjoying the Rams' away point, but we're squatting on this site since Derby's was dissolved into the ether, and Blackburn is the Southampton of the Premier, 3rd bottom. Imagine if they won this game, they would be 15th with 30 points, not 18th with 27, above Stoke, on 29, Newcastle & Portsmouth on 28; only Pompey also have a game in hand. OK, as a Rams' fan, I have to declare an interest and say, can we have Newcastle for next season please, but that's because we managed 4 out of our 11 points from the Toon army last season, and we would like to try for all 6 points next season as we mount a promotion campaign.


Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Etuhu, Murphy, Gera, Dempsey, Johnson.

Subs: Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Kamara, Dacourt, Gray, Stoor, Kallio.

Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Andrews, Kerimoglu, Warnock, Diouf, Roberts, Pedersen.

Subs: Bunn, Khizanishvili, Simpson, Dunn, McCarthy, Mokoena, Villanueva.

So it's Fulham away, 10th, and it's Roy Hodgson, ex-Blackburn. Sam, you beat them 1-0 at home back in September. Any chance of 3 points? "The win would obviously be great because it stretches that points difference that little bit farther and we'd maximise that game in hand. But if we can't win it, make sure we don't lose it. You have to look at recent form and results and say they have had a little blip. We could be playing them at a good time, mentally they might be a little drained because of their last two games."

Well, at least Giles Barnes isn't fit enough for tem yet. Roy? "The lucky thing for Blackburn, as for Tottenham, is they have a manager of great experience - both of football and of the Premier League. Because of that I do not think they are going to get caught out by anything that happens and they will also be able to put perspective on victories and defeats. That is important."

March 11, 2009

Well, that's how it should have been going by our numbers - 705 out of 17,567 - but the first thing the Rams minstrels noticed was this striking Southampton stadium barely half-full, so to the Verdi tune that's mis-translated as "My name's Antonio" they sang "Your ground's too big for you..." followed by a tribute song to Idiakez, who made 13 appearances for the Saints before being injured, after we transferred him - he moved back to George Burley. The 2006–07 season Championship playoff semi-final on 15 May was Rams v Saints. After the tie finished 4–4 on aggregate after extra time, the match went to a penalty shootout and Idiakez missed the crucial penalty helping send his former club through to the final. At the end of 2007–08, Southampton released Idiakez. He is currently on trial with Major League Soccer side San Jose Earthquakes. I just hope he reads this over there. Thanks again Iñigo Idiakez Barkaiztegui, born 8 November 1973 in San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa. Gracias amigo por falta, la pena de.

Ah, culture, isn't it magnificent when it all comes together! Oh when the Rams go marching in...

We had the first shot, Mile Sterjovski after 5 minutes, they had the first corner, and Bywater saved at the Rams' fans end, then one over the bar. Up the other end, Hulse offside, back for another corner, then a free kick, and an unfair challenge on Bywater. A real scare, the ball bounced off Nyatanga, and Chris Perry was almost on to it.

Our first good chance after 20 minutes was a delivery from Barazite to Hulse, who headed over. A corner 4 minutes later from Nacer brought a header going wide from Hulse. Still, the new boy, John Eustace, settled in very well immediately, and it was a foul on him which brought a free kick from Teale, passed the wall, but wide. Tune "Winter Wonderland": Gary Teale, you're a wonder, Gary Teale, you're a wonder, You used to be shyte, now you're alright, walking in a winter wonderland.

Bywater had to save from Marek Saganowski, but the first half petered out, just a little joy on hearing that Forest were losing, bringing a song about them and Saints going down together.

After a decent steak-and-kidney pie - joining their chicken balti pie from before the game - it was "We are Derby, Super Derby, we are Derby, Super Rams" and that continued non-stop until the 58th minute when they scored. Adam Lallana had come on in place of Morgan Schneiderlin.We'd both opened it up somewhat, Hulse headed wide, Teale's was saved, Hulse had one saved, then Robbie Savage cleared their cross for a corner. The ball came long from Gillett, Bywater tracked it, and backed off, it fell to Chris Perry who hit the bar, and it bounced back in off the heels of Aussie Mile Sterjovski. "Sing when you're winning, you only sing when you're winning..."

Just after Surman shot wide with a gaping goal begging for 2-0, Nigel took Mile off, replaced him with Nathan Ellington, who showed some decent touches, made Hulse look a bit less lonely up front, but looked slow. Teale had a shot, saved, Hulse had an unfair challenge on their goalie. He didn't seem to have his shooting boots on, but I'm not sure I'd have had Nigel's bottle, after Paul Wotton was brought on as a substitute for Andrew Surman, he took Hulse off and put Steve Davies on. That's it, I thought, we've lost this; still, there's 13 minutes left.

Davis James Saeijs Perry Skacel Schneiderlin (46 Lallana) Gillett McGoldrick Surman (69 Wotton) Saganowski (90+1 Paterson) Euell Subs Bialkowski Lallana Wotton Liptak Paterson
Bywater Connolly Albrechtsen Nyatanga Todd Sterjovski (63 Ellington) Savage Eustace (86 Kazmierczak) Teale Hulse(77 Davies) Barazite Subs Carroll Villa Kazmierczak Ellington Davies
Ref: Kevin Friend

Within 6 minutes, Steve had made a decent cross, had a shot cleared, then scored from an Albrechtsen cross. Martin, our resident Dane, gets some stick from the fans, but he was steady enough, and he made the GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL for Steve. Two minutes later, we gave John Eustace a standing ovation, as he left the field to be replaced by Przemyslaw Kazmierczak.

Steve Davies then had a great run down the right, past the defender, curled his shot in at the Rams' fans end, and I can see it now, bouncing back off the inside of the post, a tiny fraction taking two points away, and confirming Steve as Super Sub. Soon after, Adam Lallana had an effort at goal from deep inside the box hitting the post. An away point was pretty valuable by then, having looked as if we should have had three earlier. We stay 16th with 46 points from 36 games.

Saints slip to 2nd from bottom, with Norwich winning, and we have Watford on 45 from 46, Plymouth & Blackpool 43, Forest 41, all 3 from 48 games, Barnsley 40 from 35 games - I've just received the tickets for the five of us for the home game on 21st, you know who you are - Norwich 39 from 38, Saints 38 from 37. Charlton Athletic are one of the shocks of the season, they're gone, 28 points from 37 games. Last night they were ahead at Reading, then 2-1 down before scrambling a draw, now they have Wolves at the door. We have them home on April 25th already relegated.

March 8, 2009

OK, back down to 16th as Crystal Palace managed to beat Preston; we were 15th because we played at 1 p.m. before the rest of the pack. Still, that leaves us "only" 11 points behind Preston, the last play-off position, 'tho we are also "only" 8 points ahead of the Saints into whom we'll be Marching on Tuesday.I watched Man U's demolition job on Fulham 4-0 in the FA Cup, and felt that we did better in the previous round, but we're a decade away from Man U's level... Blackburn are a good side to "benchmark" for the Rams: we need to build a side that can survive in the Premier.

Nigel, pleased? "Without a doubt it is the most pleasing three points since I have been here. It was the way we achieved it without playing great and taking the game to the opposition."

Absolutely! I was gutted when we threw away two points home to the Swans after losing to Doncaster. "I think it has evened itself out after midweek. The way the games went you might have thought we would have got three points on Wednesday. We don't particularly want to play like that, especially in front of our home supporters."

Chris Porter off with an injured hip after doing a good job as goal-grabber, Jay McEverley's out too, it's make-do-and-mend time? "Another two to add to the list. We should just about be able to scramble together a 16 to go to Southampton on Tuesday."

How have you motivated Robbie Savage? "We've just told him to do what he's been doing over the last 10 or 15 years. Bar the last 6 months."

March 7, 2009

was my old Grandparent's address, and it took 52 seconds for the Rams to score today. Aussie Mile Sterjovski burst into the box, could see he was blocked, but passed for goal-grabber Chris Porter to score GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL 1-0.

After that, Bristol showed why they are Championship challengers, but were kept out by Bywater's brilliance all through the first half, and well into the second. Then Williams hit an unstoppable shot from 25 yards for 1-1, and it looked like another two points down the drain. That was forgetting Super-Teale, the new supercharged Cloughie version, who swept in a cross for Hulse to bag the winner: GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL 2-1.

Derby: Bywater, Connolly, Albrechtsen, Nyatanga, McEveley (Kazmierczak 80), Barazite, Sterjovski (Villa 87), Savage, Teale, Hulse, Porter (Todd 46).
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Ellington.

Booked: Todd.

Goals: Porter 1, Hulse 85.

Bristol City: Basso, Orr, Carey, McCombe (Sproule 62), Fontaine, McAllister, Williams, Johnson, McIndoe, Maynard (Styvar 74), John.
Subs Not Used: Weale, James Wilson, Akinde.

Goals: Williams 83.

Att: 30,824

Ref: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

45 points from 35, 15th, I'll get over to Southampton and see them live on Tuesday evening.

March 5, 2009

32 Brown 02 Ooijer 04 Samba 06 Nelsen 21 Givet 17 Andrews 11 Grella 03 Warnock 09 Santa Cruz 30 Roberts 18 Diouf Substitutes
38 Bunn 05 Kerimoglu 08 Dunn 10 McCarthy 15 Mokoena 22 Simpson 24 Treacy
24 Howard 06 Jagielka 04 Yobo 05 Lescott 03 Baines 21 Osman 18 Neville 26 Rodwell
20 Pienaar 17 Cahill 11 Jo Substitutes
01 Nash 07 Van der Meyde 08 Castillo 09 Saha 15 Jacobsen 25 Fellaini 32 Gosling
Ref: Alan Wiley

One save by Jason Brown from Joao Alves Jo came just at the end of the half. It's been tight, but Rovers have had chances too, and one from Roque Santa Cruz has just gone wide. Kerimoglu was on for Grella one minute into the second half.

Middlesbrough won't catch us, they've been hammered 3-0 away to Spurs by half-time, but Stoke would dump us back in the R zone if the scores stay as they are: they're 1-0 up at home to Bolton. Still Blackburn are edging possession, look more likely to break the deadlock, Roque Santa Cruz has a headed effort at goal, but misses to the left. Osman's fouled by Gaeil Givet who has to have treatment - concussion? - and Aaron Mokoena is coming on for Gael Givet, who was yellow carded.

Howard's beaten! It hits the crossbar from Stephen Warnock's free kick. Stoke have gone two up.

The switch to 4:4:2: is helping Rovers - Jason Roberts wastes a chance with a toe-poke which didn't go through Howard's legs. Twenty minutes left, and Everton make the change to 4:4:2 as Louis Saha comes on for Jack Rodwell. Elsewhere, Newcastle's impossible 1-0 lead home to Man U was levelled by Rooney, and has now been destroyed by Berbatov, 1-2.

One more change by Sam? Just after Aaron Mokoena has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal. No it's Moyes, Marouane Fellaini replaces Joao Alves Jo.

Stoke & Man U have won, we'll be in the R zone, but a point closer to Newcastle. Middlesbrough go four down.

Jason Brown's indicating a groin strain to the bench. 7 or 8 minutes can be an eternity. Sam's telling the team to get up the pitch for the winner. Has to be admired for sheer bloody-minded resistance. 21,445 attendance mainly with him, but not the 4,000 odd up from Everton. We'll have a tough time squeezing a point out of Fulham away this time next week. They are 0-0 home to Hull right now.

Keith Treacy comes on in place of El-Hadji Diouf, as Sam slows things before the finishing tape.
Everton corner. Header goes over, but not by bloody much. Maybe the point here should be fully appreciated, but we get a corner in the third minute of added time. Treacy centres, no joy.

One last long ball from a free kick down towards the Everton goal in the 6th minute of added time, but there's the whistle. Hull beat Fulham with a very late goal. Alberto Manucho in the 3rd minute of added time. "I've been a wild Rover for many's the year, and I've spent all my money on this seat right here..."

Still a point a game, 27, game in hand on Newcastle 28 points & Stoke 29, but Portsmouth, the team now just above us, have 28 from 27. Sam? "Great effort. Sunday. Hard first half, dominated second half, didn't convert chances. 4 points out of 6, undefeated run. Hull have won at Fulham, broke their dominance at 'ome, we can go and do the same. Everton didn't have any chances to talk about, shows how well we've defended. Fulham has to play in the Cup on Sat'dy, we'll be fresher, hopefully that'll make a difference."

Of course, it's Man Utd in the FA Cup, having put Derby out of two competitions, they've won one, and have the FA Cup in their sights, which won't help Fulham's confidence, or energy levels.


March 4, 2009

Team spirit is what he's talked about. It's good at Blackburn, but maybe a bit too nice. Paul Robinson (shoulder) is a major doubt for Everton's visit, so Jason Brown is poised to keep his place. It would be a second double of the season if they can do it, Newcastle being the first.

(Ah, Newcastle! Can we play you? Can we play you? Can we play you every week.....?)

Everton "believe fourth place is up for grabs, it will be hard to catch Aston Villa with them eight points ahead of us, but it is not something we will give up on." says Moyes. Sixth at the moment means a European spot after Manchester United's (Carling Cup final) win at Wembley on Sunday. Bring them on!

"But I am looking much higher than that, it will be a tall order but not out of reach. If we can maintain our form of the last three months, we will not be far short of fourth or fifth."

There's been an accident, so avoid the M61, and take extra care anyway, what with the snow. The motorway's closed between junctions 6 & 8.

OK, Blackburn fight to stay 17th, and since no-one else wants to be our Correspondent, we get to share this site with a Rams' fan. The Rams of course managed 11 points in the Premier last season, so look in awe at Blackburn's achievements: they're/we're staying up. Swans are challenging in 8th place, Rams' 4 straight wins prior to the defeat at Doncaster are back up to 16th, but in the Premier, it's 36th vs. 28th, or for those who don't look beyond the Premier Top Twenty: nowhere. OK, just ignore this section if that's your view. After all, we're staying up.

Nigel Clough is putting out an unchanged side, he saw what he wanted apart from a couple of defensive errors: Bywater, Connolly, Albrechtsen, Nyatanga, McEveley, Davies, Green, Savage, Teale, Porter, Hulse. Swans: De Vries, Rangel, Williams, Serran, Tate, Dyer, Gomez, Britton, Allen, Butler, Scotland. Subs, Rams: Carroll, Villa, Varney, Sterjovski, Todd; Swans: Pratley, Orlandi, Collins, Pintado, Bauza

Colin Boulton, just voted the greatest goalkeeper in the Rams' history - played in every game in the First Division winning teams of 71/72 and 74/75, born 12 September, 1945 - is being hailed by the crowd and the weather on the Pride Park pitch. He's surprised at so much grass instead of the Baseball Ground mud. Different weather pre-Global Warming, Colin.

First attack to Swans, first corner the Rams. First real threat is from Hulse to Davies, who curls it over the bar. Swans are playing 4:5:1 with Scotland up front, plenty of possession. Davies has another chance, doesn't shoot first time, tight angle finally saved. Davies wins a free kick now, same distance for Robby Savage? Yes, great shot, keeper can only parry, and Chris Porter's in there GOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL. 13 minutes gone. Porter's first.

Gomez gets a free kick over the wall, into the side netting. The only games with a goal in the Championship so far are those with Welsh teams in - Cardiff going 1-0 up after 4 minutes. That's this week's feckin' fact. Hulse makes it 2-0 apart from the offside flag. Chris Porter's getting his head bandaged. Booking for Jay McEveley, putting out a frustrated foot with Dyer comsequences. Now Joe Allen booked, and a free kick for us. De Vries handles badly, but recovers. Hulse and Green are encouraged, but the keeper cuts them out the next time.

Hulse wins a free kick 25 yards out. Savage? Towards the corner, past the post, desperate despairing duhhhh delighted keeper. Later, a good one-fisted punch saves the day, then Porter and Hulse come close, beaten by the angles, then Nyatanga gets in close, but De Vries holds out. Bywater spills one the other end - the ball's slippery in driving rain - McEverley clears. 3 minutes' added time before a hot pie and a pint.

Within 3 minutes of the second half it's another GOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL for Porter, definitely a goal-grabber, very cool as a through ball falls to him off the back head of a defender. 6 minutes later a defensive slip lets a free kick given away by McEverley, crossed by Gomez to Rangel, come right through from him without a touch for 2-1. Points suddenly under threat. Today's feckin fact continued: the only games in which any of the Championship sides have scored two are those with Welsh teams in. Dyer's cautioned after a bit of pushing and shoving with Albrechtsen, and is immediately subbed with Pintado, and Pratley comes on for Britton. Half-and-hour left. A lovely Teale run, on his own, hits it, off the post. Next time he tries a tumble in the area, having put the ball ahead. Ref not impressed. Hulse now shoots wide. He's had a few sniffs, but nothing powerful enough to billow the back of the hanky. Panky. Manky.NetYou!! Mean. We need to keep holding them off by counter-attacking dangerously. Swans make a 3rd change, Orlandi for Gomez. Chris Porter's had a wide shot, and now it's a weak shot, the hat-trick doesn't look likely. Steve Davis hits a beauty, but it's off the post. Points still in danger with 10 minutes left, as it's 2-1 when it should be 5-1. A difficult minute as Swans test the angles. Near panic stations, Scotland the brave, Nyatanga denies, McEverley careful on a yellow. Tate hits one low. Desperate Derby defending. Scotland finally makes the pass, and Pintado scores. 2-2. Great volley from Teale from 25 yards which De Vries tips over, and Teale takes the corner. 03/03/09 surprising stat: the only two games with 4 goals in them are those with Welsh teams, Cardiff 3-1 up, Rams 2-2. Saints are 3-0 up away to Ipswich. We're away at Southampton a week today, after Bristol City - hopefully a fine pair of Bristols - home again on Sat'dy. Plymouth beat Watford 2-1 to join us on 42 points, but we're still 16th. Doncaster beat Charlton away 2-1 to go 14th with 46, Crystal Palace are 15th on 44, beaten at home by Wolves, top. Swans drop to 9th. OK Blackburn, your chance tomorrow.

March 2, 2009

Hull: Duke, Doyle (Fagan 67), Turner, Zayatte, Dawson, Mendy, Ashbee, Marney, Kilbane (Cousin 53), Geovanni (Barmby 53), Garcia.
Subs Not Used: Myhill, Halmosi, Manucho, Gardner.

Sent Off: Marney (64).

Booked: Turner, Dawson.

Goals: Ashbee 79.

Blackburn: Robinson (Brown 46), Ooijer, Nelsen, Samba, Givet, Diouf (Mokoena 83), Grella, Andrews, Warnock, Pedersen, Roque Santa Cruz (Roberts 86).
Subs Not Used: Kerimoglu, McCarthy, Treacy, Villanueva.

Sent Off: Pedersen (70).

Booked: Warnock, Pedersen, Diouf.

Goals: Warnock 34, Andrews 37.

Att: 24,612

Steve Warnock knew what to do when Matt Duke fumbled. Steve had been booked in the first minute for over-enthusiasm, crashing into Mendy. Duke dropped the ball under pressure from Roque Santa Cruz, who passed it to Steve to slide sidefooted into the empty net. A minute later, a long clearance bounced through to Pedersen, Warnock followed through on to his neat lay-off, past Nathan Doyle and squared low to Andrews for the second.

Brown had to replace the winded Robinson after half-time - Jason that is - and Phil Brown took off Geovanni and Kilbane for Barnby & Cousin. Marney & Pedersen were sent off as emotions took over, and Ashby halved the gap with a drive into the ground which sailed over Brown and in for 1-2, Still, Blackburn dug it out as Sam said afterwards, despite the level of commitment Hull showed, with numbers forward.

Would-you-adam-and-eve-it Middlesbrough beat Liverpool 2-0 at home, Stoke went 2-0 down at Aston Villa and equalised with 2 in 3 minutes at the end. Means above long-lost West Brom, there are the three of them on 26 points. Still, we have a game in hand and the best goal difference, so if it stays like this, we're saved! Two Wednesday games to come, Everton at home, Fulham away, and we need two or three points from the two games somehow. We're not going down, OK?