Blackburn Rovers 1 Charlton Athletic 2
Back with a bang. Wow, I don’t think many of us were expecting that. A squad short on numbers, but never short on belief and resolve, and urged on again by a band of noisy Addicks.
The first half hour was probably as expected, Blackburn dominated possession and we looked like a team thrown a little together in the school playground. Yet there was work rate and the back five looked solid led admirably by Jason Pearce with Darren Pratley in front of him.
Purrington and Djiksteel started to get further up the pitch, and in one raid Ben got the ball out of our own box and it was quickly moved up the pitch and out to Williams on the right of the penalty box. The Welshman teased a delicious ball into the box and there was Purrington who had continued up the field and timed his run to perfection to hit home. We’d taken the lead just before half very much against the run of play.
Blackburn started the 2nd half in the same vein and soon grabbed the equalizer. For the second game in a row, it had the look of slapstick about it. Djiksteel having the simple task of heading off the line but did so into the back of Dillon Phillips head. Dills couldn’t claim the Wembley howler, but he could this one!
As I hurriedly tried to find more WiFi, I like most of us not there expected the inevitable then. Yet despite a lot of Rovers’ possession they weren’t doing much with it.
Bowyer then switched out Sarr, who was struggling, with new lad Conor Gallagher and moved to a flat back four. He helped us gain some territorial advantage and we won a couple of corners. The second one JFC put in, Pearce headed powerfully towards goal and somehow in a blur of an eye, Lyle Taylor twisted and lunged a back foot out to steer the ball into the net. Cue delirium high up behind the goal.
Albie Morgan came on for the last ten minutes and did well, particularly when he played in JFC in the final minutes and he really should have sealed it, but their keeper saved.
We sounded strong at the end and easily mastered a crazy six minutes of injury time to claim our first win on our first day back in The Championship. Football is back, and so are we.
Addicks at Ewood Park: Doctor Kish;
Bow: “Don’t forget, we’ve still got to bring in four or five more players, that’s what I just said to them, we’re going to get stronger as well. They just keep going and fighting and competing for everything.”
Elsewhere: On Saturday in front of their lowest crowd of the season Sunderland beat Portsmouth 1-0 in the other semi-final first leg.
Great result plus encouraging performances from Lockyer and Lapslie. Sarr gives me some concern, I think he should be cover for Pearce in the centre of back three – if he goes wide to cover an advancing full back he is inclined to be reckless in judging his tackles.
I hope Morgan’s cameo proved to Bowyer that he should be kept in house to cover Williams who I don’t think can last 90mins. That reverse pass to play in Foster Caskey was pure class.
It will be a shame if Dijksteel leaves but Lapslie or Osilagi would be capable in that position as long as Bowyer can use the proceeds to strengthen the squad (some hope!)
rierti – two hopes of Bowyer seeing any of Djiksteel money if he goes next week.
Sarr worries me too. He is too reckless and we all love his spontaneity, but this is a big step up in class.
Interesting on Morgan and I agree with you. I wonder if the rhetoric we have heard from LB is mind games. I guess it will depend who else we bring in.
Possibly half a season on loan will bring him back much more rounded like it did Scott Parker all those years ago.
With Pearce’s injury record, only 2 other recognised centre backs and Bowyer now prioritising midfield and up front I see Sarr featuring more often than not if bowyer goes with 3 at the back. He won’t have a choice but to step up his game.