Six climbs and one descent of Blackburn Rovers triumph over Nottingham Forest
Chris Hughton had never been beaten by the Blackburn Rovers in his managerial career before Wednesday night.
And with our incompetent old friend Gavin Ward in charge of the proceedings, the odds were against Tony Mowbray.
Cue a Spanish stallion and a dose of Dunboyne determination, enough to break through the Nottingham Forest backline with two glorious heads and a quick frenzy among the loyal Rovers on the move behind goal.
The courage, aggressiveness and desire to compete of every player to compete for every ball has transformed the Rovers into a daring force, happy to relinquish possession knowing they can damage opposition with their crisp transitions of the foot. before. Yes, it’s only been three games and yes, maintaining that level of performance is a tough challenge, but this Rovers side instilled optimism at a time when fans feared the worst.
Here are some of the talking points from Wednesday’s victory.
It all starts with the industrious Tyrhys Dolan in attack.
The 19-year-old will sprint constantly, putting pressure on the opposition in hopes of a Steven Benda-style slip. If they get around the attacker, Sam Gallagher and Ben Brereton wait backstage, while John Buckley anticipates hiding, intending to pinch possession.
Behind him is Joe Rothwell’s impressive engagement, and then, in darker territory, Lewis Travis protects a fullback that flourishes with every passing game. Combine them all together and you have a dynamic, cohesive unit that fights for each other, fights for every ball, and requires substantial quality from the opposition to break down, as solemnly proven. Philip Zinckernagel.
Greater resilience gives Rovers the ability to play at the counter, relying on the efficiency of their transition rather than persisting with a ball retention approach that doesn’t maximize their obvious strengths.
It’s a style that resonates with supporters and is more likely to come in handy in the championship endurance test – if they can add more depth.
Rothwell looks at the script in front of him. Greeted by a flurry of red shirts, he had few options to attack as he presided over the ball in the final third.
He could have easily retreated and Rovers built another streak on the opposing flank. Instead, in Rothwell’s glorious feet, the midfielder wiggled his feet ballet and danced through three Forest defenders, carving a path like a hot knife in butter.
It was a tremendous display of skill and agility before Rothwell displayed the awareness necessary to identify Buckley’s progression run. His younger midfielder mate may not have finished his chance, but it has warned Forest’s side that allowing Rothwell to move forward will come at a cost.
He’s done this countless times in the contest, meandering through defenders and giving the Rovers an unpredictable advantage. Yet for all of his delightful touches, it was his out of possession application that was most impressive, undertaking his defensive instructions with ferocity and aplomb. Winning tackles, cutting the passing lanes, retreating more than 50 meters to protect his central defense; Rothwell made his way through the contest.
Success of the fixed part
Set room goals for yourself! Head goals! Keep giving us more!
From memory I might have included this in my discussion of Saturday’s draw, but considering deadball situations were the Rovers’ nemesis last season, it’s refreshing to see that they can defend effectively. air situations while having a threat in the opponent’s area.
Harry Pickering lived up to his postman reputation with a divine free-kick delivery, tracing his cross in a difficult area to fight and calling on Ayala to attack. The defender duly obliged, throwing himself forward with an emphatic head.
From a defensive standpoint, the Rovers are convincing. There is minimal hesitation in the face of danger and the Rovers have consistently won second ball duels clearing their lines.
Travis leaving the City Ground without receiving a warning was arguably one of the biggest wins of the night.
After immersing himself in the game in the first half, the first Travis emerged for the second, clashing with home support and leaving injured players on their way to glory.
He even took a big hit himself, forced to limp with the help of Rovers as the game continued. If Ward had interrupted play, Forest’s goal might never have been achieved, but Travis took advantage of the setback to continue his business, tormenting Jack Colback and Ryan Yates with his abundant energy.
When the Rovers are forced to dig deep in search of a result, it’s inevitable that Travis will find some strengths.
Fill and ramp up
Ryan Nyambe’s absence was a setback but another necessary precaution, especially given his record of hamstring injuries; long-term health preservation over any short-term gain.
The initial perception was that Rovers would return to full-backs, but Hayden Carter was deputized at right-back, a position he once held during his progression through the Academy.
Inevitably, this was an area Hughton wanted to exploit thanks to the teenage talent of Alex Mighten, at the center of Forest’s attacks emerging from Rovers’ right side. Carter got a taste of what he was about to do immediately, with Mighten cutting to his right and pulling off Thomas Kaminski’s post.
From that point on, Carter got down to business, outsmarting his opponent’s threat and even displaying great confidence to move forward, occupying advanced positions along the sideline. He was instrumental in creating the second goal, re-energizing a dissipated attack with the delivery of a dangerous cross. The 21-year-old does a great job of proving his worth and, as Darragh Lenihan later claimed, he sees him as an important member of this team.
Where one fills, another steps forward and Harry Chapman shows signs that he may be the ingenious talent the Rovers have dreamed of. We all know his abilities, it’s the way he behaves and in his last two cameos the winger had shown maturity in his game, following instructions but providing a flair to create chances. If he can maintain those standards in another 43 games, he will contribute consistently on the goal front.
Sam the firefighter
Are we sure Gallagher was not a representative of a South American nation at the Copa America this summer?
Facing a disrupted preseason due to injury, the concern was how long it would take the forward to level up and yet Gallagher looks in excellent shape. More importantly, his confidence is soaring.
For a full size, he accumulates phenomenal mileage and, when not up against 6-foot-7 specimens like Jake Cooper, can be an aerial grip for opposition defenders. Mowbray’s has spoken prominently of its players learning to use their bodies and Gallagher seems to have mastered that concept.
His work from a defensive standpoint was just as crucial as his offensive contributions and when trusted in the pivotal role after Dolan left, Gallagher looked the part. Eradicating Scott McKenna from the contest and the 25-year-old would have another goal to add to his collection – luckily Lenihan’s clinical prowess was there to restore Rovers’ advantage.
The credit is well deserved when you give your best for the shirt.
It’s unrealistic to expect the Rovers to maintain high intensity throughout the contest, especially given their current depth concerns.
There was a lull after Ayala’s opener, an encouragement for the home crowd whose team were struggling in their quest for a goal.
They lacked innovation in the last third but pushed, the Rovers had to manage a precarious situation. They say you are the most vulnerable once in front and the Rovers should ideally be frustrated before dictating.
Mowbray’s side did, to a large extent, and at a time when you thought they had weathered Forest’s gravest threat, a lack of focus came to their doom. Travis, injured in the process, was beaten by Grabban and with Zinckernagel meeting Pickering one-on-one, Rovers fell surprisingly deep. While you can criticize Kaminski, you can’t help but the ferocity of a sensational strike.
There were elements of naivety but it’s a young team, they will learn. And you would much rather they were in a position to protect a one-goal lead than not at all.
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