Roberts bags brace for Rovers
Inspired substitutions change game at Ewood Park
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: 07/11/09 8:19pm
Roberts: Celebrates equaliser
Super sub Jason Roberts came off the bench for Blackburn to score two and kill off Portsmouth 3-1.
The striker was brought back into the squad by Sam Allardyce after recovering from flu and when he came on was the catalyst for an inspired Rovers comeback.
Portsmouth had taken the lead early on when Aruna Dindane laid the ball off to Jamie O'Hara who drilled in a low effort past Paul Robinson in the first quarter of an hour.
Allardyce rang the changes at half-time as he took off Morten Gamst Pedersen and El-Hadji Diouf for Roberts and Benni McCarthy.
Roberts toe-poked home his first from a Ryan Nelsen knock-down. Then the goal provider turned scorer as the Rovers defender headed home for 2-1.
In the move of the match, David Dunn released McCarthy down the left wing who pulled it back for Roberts to dispatch first time.
Rovers started brightly in their bid to exit the drop-zone, a Pascal Chimbonda shot causing chaos in the Pompey box and almost presenting a chance for Diouf.
In a low-key opening, Younes Kaboul and O'Hara's low shots dribbled wide for the visitors - while Anthony Vanden Borre messed up a half-chance after being fed in the box by Kevin-Prince Boateng.
But Pompey's lead came out of nowhere when Dindane fed O'Hara in the centre of midfield. The on-loan Spurs man found a way past Robinson with a low left-foot shot from 30 yards.
Rovers were offering next to nothing in response, and frustration grew among the home fans as Marc Wilson came close to making it two by out-jumping the home defenders for an O'Hara free-kick.
Diouf got behind the Pompey defence on the half-hour only to be let down by a woeful final ball which was cleared by Kaboul, as the visitors' rearguard held firm.
Rovers' woes were summed up in the 33rd minute when, having won a free-kick 30 yards from goal, the recalled Pedersen lofted a pitiful set-piece attempt high and wide.
After boos greeted the end of a dismal first period, Allardyce had no choice but to ring the changes - introducing Roberts and McCarthy in place of Diouf and Pedersen.
The hosts finally managed their first shot on target in the 48th minute when Chimbonda played the ball out to Dunn - whose effort from a tight angle was easily held by James.
Pompey came close to grabbing a second in the 50th minute when O'Hara curled in a free-kick from the left and Kaboul rose to glance his header just wide of the target.
Allardyce's double change paid dividends when Nelsen headed down a corner for Roberts to react quickest and steer the equaliser past James.
Roberts almost squeezed between Wilson and Tal Ben Haim to get a foot to a McCarthy pass in front of goal - but O'Hara remained a danger and hit another long-range effort into Robinson's arms.
Nelsen's superb 73rd-minute header from Dunn's corner put the home side in front in what was only the second goal scored by the New Zealand captain in almost five years at the club.
Roberts wrapped up the points five minutes from time when he stole into the box to put the finishing touches to a left-wing cross from McCarthy.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Statistics||Portsmouth|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|4||Shots on Target||2|
|2||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Bromwich Albion||1||1|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||1||0|
|18||West Ham United||1||0|