MATCH ANALYSIS: Wolves 3 Blackburn Rovers 1

Jordan Rhodes

Jordan Rhodes

First published in Sport Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Blackburn Rovers reporter

IT is true that Rovers have had some poor refereeing decisions go against them already this season.

And it is true that they were right to feel aggrieved here when Keith Stroud and his assistants failed to spot a foul on Craig Conway in the lead up to Wolves’ second goal and when Danny Batth escaped without further sanction after giving a penalty away.

But the bottom line is that Rovers did not lose this game because of the actions, or lack of them, of the officials – they lost this game because their defending was nowhere near up to the standard required for a side serious about winning promotion.

Worryingly this cannot be put down as a one off.

You have to go back to February 22 for the last time Rovers kept a clean sheet away from home and, while this was just their second loss in 17 league outings, during that time they have conceded 30 goals with 20 of them coming away from home.

It is all well and good having the potential to be one of the most potent attacking forces in the division – and 39 goals over the same period backs that assertion up – but you cannot and should not consistently have to rely on scoring two, three or even four times to win a match.

In the main that is what Rovers have been having to do to offset their inability to stop handing out gifts at the other end of the field.

It was always going to catch up with them and that is precisely what happened on a disheartening afternoon in the Black Country.

Rovers had more of the ball and more shots than a resurgent and high flying Wolves side whose unbeaten home league run now stands at 15 games and nine months.

Ultimately, though, the spells of possession and pressure they did enjoy in both halves counted for absolutely nothing after they gave away a trio of so, so soft goals.

It cost Rovers dear and it will cost them again unless lessons are learned.

What Gary Bowyer and his staff must now do is ensure that they are.

And if that means making changes, then so be it.

Rovers boss Bowyer will certainly have an extra body at the back by the time Wigan Athletic arrive at Ewood Park after the international break.

Shane Duffy, whose impending arrival from Everton was confirmed after the match, will provide genuine competition in the centre of defence.

But Saturday also underlined what Bowyer knows and accepts – he must, if he can, strengthen other areas of his squad, be it before the window for permanent signings shuts tonight or when the loan window reopens later this month.

With talismanic striker Rudy Gestede absent with an ankle injury, the only obvious replacement for the player who is now central to the way Rovers play was Luke Varney, as Chris Brown, though named among the substitutes, was clearly not fit enough to come on.

But Bowyer, who was also without in-form left back Markus Olsson because of a family bereavement, instead made the decision to select defensive midfielder Lee Williamson ahead of Varney and move Tom Cairney into the ‘hole’ behind lone forward Jordan Rhodes.

It was a decision he must have lived to regret as Williamson was to blame for the game’s opening goal.

But you cannot fault Rhodes, the Rovers player to emerge with the most credit and whose coolly converted 59th-minute penalty – a penalty he had won after he raced on to Cairney’s through pass before being barged over in the box by Batth with just Carl Ikeme to beat – gave his side hope of extending their unbeaten run at Molineux to seven matches.

However nine minutes later Grant Hanley allowed himself to be turned this way and that by Nouha Dicko who then pulled the ball back for fellow Mali international Bakary Sako to beat Paul Robinson with a scuffed shot that the former England goalkeeper should have kept out.

Rovers captain Hanley was also partly to blame for the excellent winger’s first goal in the 33rd minute as, after Conway had been impeded near the touchline, he gave away a needless free kick on the corner of the box.

Super Sako did the rest but, as good as his strike was, there was no way it should have got past and through an undermanned and woefully weak wall.

Wolves’ opener, after an even first 12 minutes, was just as bad as a dreadful and unnecessarily ambitious pass from Williamson led to Dicko meeting an inviting cross from former Burnley midfielder Kevin McDonald and flicking a deft header into the bottom corner.

Robinson, who was making his 200th appearance for Rovers, went on to deny Lee Evans, Matt Doherty and Dave Edwards while his opposite number was equally as busy, saving from Marshall and, most impressively, Conway.

But after Ikeme acrobatically tipped that latter effort over the bar, moments after Sako’s killer second, the match petered out to the disappointment of the 1,023 travelling supporters.

Comments (3)

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9:12pm Mon 1 Sep 14

krazzi horse says...

What can we do with Williamson ?not the most skillfull player can we not play him at left back in the changing room.
What can we do with Williamson ?not the most skillfull player can we not play him at left back in the changing room. krazzi horse
  • Score: 3

10:40pm Mon 1 Sep 14

mark anthony says...

I believe Burton Albion made a loan bidFor Williamsburg when rovers said you mean. Williamson all contact stopped and nothing eared of since
I believe Burton Albion made a loan bidFor Williamsburg when rovers said you mean. Williamson all contact stopped and nothing eared of since mark anthony
  • Score: 1

8:24am Tue 2 Sep 14

greenscreener says...

mark anthony wrote:
I believe Burton Albion made a loan bidFor Williamsburg when rovers said you mean. Williamson all contact stopped and nothing eared of since
Did that make sense in your head ?
[quote][p][bold]mark anthony[/bold] wrote: I believe Burton Albion made a loan bidFor Williamsburg when rovers said you mean. Williamson all contact stopped and nothing eared of since[/p][/quote]Did that make sense in your head ? greenscreener
  • Score: 3

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