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MATCH REPORT: ROVERS V SPURS

Posted on 5 April 2008  - 12:00

Dimitar Berbatov converted to send us into an early lead, but Blackburn hit back in the first half and took a share of the spoils from the Ewood Park encounter.

Dimitar Berbatov converted to send us into an early lead, but Blackburn hit back in the first half and took a share of the spoils from the Ewood Park encounter.Rovers were the more purposeful in the fourth minute when Radek Cerny - in for the injured Paul Robinson - crashed his clearance into David Bentley before succeeding in kicking only as far as Andre Ooijer. The Dutchman floated back in with the goalkeeper in retreat but a late punch ensured the score stayed level.

It only did so for another two minutes as good work from Steed Malbranque resulted in the returning Jermaine Jenas prodding inside to where the waiting Berbatov was waiting to poke home.

The influential Jenas was pulling the strings and if Berbatov had been a touch quicker off the mark it might have been two following the midfielder's raking pass, before Malbranque sent him striding clear only to see his strike foiled by the advancing Brad Friedel.

The first half of the first period brought a really brisk and confident display - very far removed from the second half of last week's meeting with Newcastle.

Just before the half-hour mark though, the home side were level and it stemmed from a Bentley shimmy leaving Pascal Chimbonda in his slipstream. The England man then calmly passed inside for Morten Gamst Pedersen to slide past Cerny. It was a clinically executed move.

The game then stumbled towards half-time after which Blackburn introduced the more attack-minded Brett Emerton for Ooijer.

Berbatov engineered the first action of the half when he latched onto the loose ball following a hoof from Michael Dawson and smacked goalwards, but Friedel was equal to the challenge.

Moments later Jason Roberts worked Cerny after being played in by Emerton before Didier Zokora set Lennon scurrying away, the little wideman picking out Malbranque, who possibly took a touch too many before testing Friedel down to his right.

Bentley fizzed in a shot just after the hour mark in a rare passage of play for either side that didn't break down at the final ball. However, there was a promising one from Berbatov across the face of goal and it took a last-ditch interception from Ryan Nelson to deny Robbie Keane a similar opening to his own in the opening minutes.

There was a double change in the 72nd minute, Chimbonda and Malbranque making way for Gilberto and Tom Huddlestone. The home side opted for the offensive and introduced Benni McCarthy in place of Pedersen. Darren Bent replaced Keane for the final 11 minutes.

The home crowd were later yelling for a penalty following a Gilberto block on Bentley - Mr Walton was having none of it. There wasn't the greatest of intensity or urgency in the final stages in the quest for maximum points and a draw was probably a fair reflection of the balance of play, although Roque Santa Cruz could have snatched a maximum return in stoppage time after bundling his way through to a contest with Cerny, which the goalkeeper won.