Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Match Report:West Brom 1 Blackburn 3


Nikola Kalinic scored twice and was then sent off as Blackburn beat West Brom to give Steve Kean his first win as Rovers manager.
Kalinic struck after three minutes with a cool finish but Jerome Thomas bundled in Somen Tchoyi's cross to level.
Rovers took control with two headers from set-pieces, Kalinic converted the first and Mame Diouf also nodded home.
Kalinic later saw red for a rash tackle on Paul Scharner before Gabriel Tamas was dismissed for bringing down Diouf.
Rovers' victory came courtesy of two second-half goals from corners that would have made former manager Sam Allardyce proud - but it is his replacement Kean who will be taking the plaudits after masterminding his first win as a Premier League manager.
Croat Kalinic was the game's star man but Rovers were also aided by some poor defending from West Brom, whose lapses at the back undid their excellent work on the ball and condemned Roberto di Matteo's Baggies side to a third straight defeat.
Rovers arrived in the Black Country in a certain amount of turmoil with Kean winless in his first two matches, including a home defeat to Stoke on Boxing Day where live chickens were used in fan protests at the club's new poultry-producing owners, the Venky Group.
But the visitors started the game in stunning fashion when Morten Gamst Pedersen dinked forward a clever looping pass and Kalinic beat the offside trap, surged into the box and beautifully placed the ball past goalkeeper Scott Carson.
The Baggies almost hit back instantly when Graham Dorrans broke from midfield and pulled the trigger from 15 yards but Paul Robinson did superbly to tip the Scot's drive around the post.
In a frenetic opening to the game, Kalinic was unlucky not to grab a second when his curling effort narrowly missed the top corner, before James Morrison's 30-yard drive whistled past the post.
Morrison then played a pivotal role in West Brom's equaliser, powering through the middle and feeding Tchoyi, whose low, teasing right-wing cross was poked in by Thomas at the far post.
Rovers lost keeper Robinson to a calf problem at half-time and his replacement Mark Bunn, making his Premier League debut, was immediately called into action - pushing away a vicious Peter Odemwingie drive at the near post.
Blackburn then regained the lead with a simplest of set-piece goals - Pedersen floated in a corner, an unmarked Ryan Nelsen headed back across goal and Kalinic had the simple task of nodding home for his second of the match.
Kalinic could have sealed a hat-trick minutes later following a dreadful lapse from Carson, who passed the ball straight to the striker's feet yards from goal but the Croat failed to control it.
The visitors did not have long to wait for their third goal and once again they were helped by poor West Brom defending.
Pedersen took a short corner and El-Hadji Diouf was given time to send in a cross for Mame Diouf to stoop and head home from close range.
But a moment of madness from double goalscorer Kalinic put Rovers' fate back in the balance when the Croat caught Scharner with a late, dangerous lunge and was shown a straight red card by referee Phil Dowd.
The inevitable Baggies onslaught followed and substitute Simon Cox saw his strike excellently parried by keeper Bunn, with Cox heading the rebound down into the ground and agonisingly over the bar.
Scharner then headed a Dorrans free-kick against the crossbar, with Tchoyi unable to turn in the follow-up as the Baggies saw their hopes of salvaging a point slip away.
Mame Diouf missed a chance to put the game to bed when he fired straight at Carson.
But the visitors' win was all but sealed when Diouf was hauled down by Tamas as he raced towards goal late on and the Romanian was duly sent off.

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