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Report: Rovers 1-2 Spurs

Posted on 7 October 2002  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

Jamie Redknapp's last-minute volley snatched maximum points at Ewood Park and left us sitting pretty with the international break to come.

As Glenn Hoddle pointed out in his press conference, by the time we lock horns with Bolton on October 20, the likes of Steve Carr, Gus Poyet and Anthony Gardner should be ready to rejoin the action. Fourth place and plenty to be positive about.

Redknapp's winner was somewhat fortuitous - a 'fluke' as Graeme Souness later described it (also adding that it 'couldn't happen to a nicer guy') - but was just reward for a fine first half display and some dogged defending as slow-starting Rovers burst out of the traps in the second half.

We were anything but slow starting as Robbue Keane illuminated the game early with his first game for the club.

With only five minutes on the clock, Tugay was hustled out of it in midfield and though there seemed little on when Keane received the ball midway in the Rovers half, he left three defenders in his wake before lashing the ball into the top corner.

As the passes zipped about, Milenko Acimovic curled a free-kick just wide, Teddy Sheringham just failed to turn Steffen Freund's low cross on target and Sheringham went close again, a diving header from Acimovic's volleyed cross.

It took 33 minutes for Rovers to strike back as David Dunn hit a 30-yard screamer inches wide and Damian Duff burst into the box only to fire over.

Keane and Davies broke dangerously without reward and on the stroke of half-time, Andy Cole's equaliser was wiped out by an offside flag.

Souness made two changes during the interval - introducing Egil Ostenstad and Keith Gillespie for Cole and Berg - and Rovers looked a different side after the break.

Ostendtad and the busy David Thompson, twice, went close in the first six minutes but we carved out the best chance from our best spell of football, Sheringham eventually feeding Redknapp whose attempt to go around Friedel was read by the goalkeeper.

Rovers were pushing on and equalised after 59 minutes. Tugay played the ball down the line to Dunn, his lovely flick released Ostenstad who won the race with Keller and finished well.

Keane shot straight at Friedel as the game opened up. Rovers had the advantage territorially but we certainly looked capable of scoring with Davies and Keane leading breaks.

Both sides had chances in an eventful last 10 minutes. Rovers had the first three as Duff might have done better with a header from Gillespie, Thompson tapped home Grabbi's deflected shot but was deemed offside and the same player missed the target from 12 yards.

We then took the one that mattered. Thatcher's long ball was controlled by Iversen and suddenly we had three yellow shirts in the box. Iversen picked out Redknapp whose first-time shot went straight into the ground, up and over a bamboozled Friedel and into the corner.

We could have doubled our tally in injury time as Keane slid a one-on-one chance a fraction wide and Davies, on another break, forced Friedel to save low.

MINUTE BY MINUTE GUIDE TO THE ACTION

Team news: Etherington not in the 16 and presumed injured. Freund and Taricco both start after successful comebacks from injury against Cardiff City. Redknapp, who missed that game, starts. Cole fit for Rovers.

4mins: First chance as Sheringham flicked Thatcher throw to Keane, nutmegged Berg but Friedel out to smoother.

5mins: GOAL. Tugay gave ball away, Keane onto it, raced away from three defenders and blasted into the top left corner. 1-0.

9mins: CLOSE. Acimovic's curling free-kick from 25 yards beat Friedel but drifted inches wide.

14mins: Flick by Duff played in Dunn, turned Richards but Taricco back to challenge before hacking away loose ball.

17mins: Redknapp free-kick from 30 yards always going wide.

26mins: Redknapp won the ball in midfield, Keane released Freund down the right, low cross to the near post but Sheringham couldn't find the target at tricky angle.

29mins: Thatcher throw volleyed straight into the box by Acimovic, Sheringham brave diving header at near post flashed a yard wide.

33mins: CLOSE. Dunn cut inside and unleashed left foot drive from 25 yards that was deflected a fraction wide.

34mins: Duff in from right, beat Thatcher, ball appeared to bobble and he blazed over.

36mins: Lovely pass from Richards found Keane breaking into area, controlled it superbly but Johansson did well to shepherd him away from danger.

38mins: Redknapp robbed Tugay and fed Davies down the right but ball into the box too weighty for Sheringham.

39mins: YELLOW. Berg for foul on Sheringham.

44mins: Thompson free-kick from left edge of box curled wide.

45mins: GOAL DISALLOWED. Cole popped in Flitcroft's knock back but offside flag already up.

Half-time: Blackburn 0-1 Spurs

Half-time: SUBS. Gillespie and Ostenstad for Berg and Cole.

47mins: Keller did well to punch clear a quickly-taken Thompson free-kick, Ostenstad then couldn't get on the end of Gillespie's dangerous cross.

48mins: Thompson drilled shot from 30 yards just wide.

51mins: Thompson again with the shot, this time from 18 yards comfortably saved by Keller.

54mins: Superb passage of play, kept the ball for ages, eventually Sheringham released Redknapp into box but Friedel read his attempt to go around him and made the save.

59mins: GOAL. Tugay down the line to Dunn, lovely flick released Ostenstad, Keller appeared to hesitate slightly and the Norwegian finished well. 1-1.

63mins: CHANCE. Davies flicked ball to Keane, turned away from defender but hit low shot straight at Friedel.

69mins: SUBS. Iversen for Acimovic, Perry for Taricco, Grabbi for Dunn.

73mins: Great block from Richards as Grabbi cut in and shot from the right.

75mins: Friedel down low to his right to gather 25-yarder from Redknapp.

80mins: CHANCE. Deep cross from Gillespie found Duff at far post, free header but placed it wide.

85mins: GOAL DISALLOWED. Thompson poked in deflected Grabbi shot but flag already up.

87mins: CHANCE. Thompson free header but missed target from 12 yards.

89mins: GOAL. Thatcher long ball controlled by Iversen, options in the box and picked out Redknapp, whose mistimed volley into the ground left Friedel for dead and looped into the corner. 2-1.

Injury time: CHANCE. Keane through one-on-one but slid the ball wide.

Injury time: SAVE. Great work by Perry to find Keane, released Davies, early shot tiped wide by Friedel.

Line-ups: Blackburn Rovers: Friedel, Neill, Tugay, Flitcroft, Dunn (Grabbi, 69), Cole (Ostenstad, 45), Duff, Johansson, Thompson, Taylor, Berg (Gillespie, 45). Unused subs: Todd, Kelly.

Spurs: Keller, Taricco (Perry, 69), Freund, Bunjevcevic, Sheringham, Redknapp, Thatcher, Acimovic (Iversen, 69), Keane, Davies, Richards. Unused subs: Ferdinand, Doherty, Hirschfeld.