Alternative coverage of Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers versus Manchester United



Blackburn: Brown, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Olsson, Emerton, Tugay (Andrews 68), Warnock, Pedersen (Treacy 58), Derbyshire, Santa Cruz (Roberts 50).
Subs: Bunn, Mokoena, Andrews, Villanueva, Fowler, Treacy, Roberts.

Booked: Pedersen, Samba.

Manchester United: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra (O'Shea 71), Ronaldo, Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs (Tevez 66), Berbatov, Rooney (Park 77).
Subs: Amos, Park, Nani, Rafael Da Silva, O'Shea, Evans, Tevez.

Booked: Fletcher.

Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Manchester United FULL-TIME

                                         Brown 30

                                         Rooney 63


17:20: Despite speculation Wayne Rooney would miss the game through injury, the striker starts up-front with Dimitar Berbatov as Sir Alex Ferguson's side look for their fourth successive win in all competitions. Blackburn manager Paul Ince will be hoping to exploit the Red Devil's defence through Morten Gamst Pedersen's pace and delivery on the wing, alongside Roque Santa Cruz's goal-threat up-front.

17:32: The game kicks off in Lancashire as Blackburn take on Manchester United at Ewood Park in a north west derby. 

17:37: Andre Ooijer gets lucky as Anderson nearly finds Cristiano Ronaldo in the area with a searching pass, as United begin the game the stronger side, but fail to take advantage so far against stuttering hosts.

17:39: CHANCE: United almost lead when a dangerous low corner from the left evades Blackburn's Stephen Warnock at the near-post, but Rooney and Nemanja Vidic fail to capitalise inside the six yard box, as Blackburn appear nervy early on.

17:42: Santa Cruz bursts free twice on the break and appears a handful for Wes Brown and Vidic already, but after winning a corner, Rovers are penalised for impeding Edwin Van Der Sar.

17:46: Ryan Giggs is robbed of possession on the halfway line by Tugay, but the Turk fails to find Santa Cruz in the area.

17:47: CHANCE: Matt Derbyshire strikes a good effort at goal inside the area, but Van Der Sar deflects the shot wide and Vidic completes the clearance, as it's United's turn to defend.

17:50: Slick passing between Pedersen and Santa Cruz is eventually denied in the box by Patrice Evra's block and the Frenchman has to be alert again as Brett Emerton is denied soon after with a half-chance for the hosts. Paul Ince will be happy with his side's performance so far, though United remain a threat on the break.

17:52: CHANCE: Evra's touch to Berbatov just outside the area on the left results in the Bulgarian's lovely floated ball finding Darren Fletcher on the left-side of the penalty area, but the Scot drives wide from eight yards, with a wasteful effort.

17:57: HALF-CHANCE: Emerton blasts a shot a yard wide of the post from 25 yards after quick Blackburn passing. 20 minutes to half-time and the score remains 0-0.

17:59: Man United are beginning to assert control in midfield and are causing Blackburn to defend deep, though so far Rovers have held firm through stout defending by Ryan Nelsen and Christopher Samba. One problem for United is the Berbatov, Giggs, Ronaldo and Rooney combination has yet to provide a goal.

18:00: CHANCE: Giggs should score as Berbatov's low ball across the penalty area finds him in space, but ex-Gillingham keeper Jason Brown produces a superb save to flick his fellow Welsh countryman's shot over the bar.

18:01: GOAL: United's pressure pays off as the corner from Giggs' shot, is played in high towards keeper Brown and his United namesake Wes, heads in for 1-0 on the half-hour. It's disappointing for Jason Brown, as his side had contained United, but the mistake costs Rovers. Ferguson's side have probably shaded this one so far and score after a sustained spell of possession.

18:06: CHANCE: Blackburn are falling to pieces and are making far too many mistakes in midfield, as Tugay again loses the ball and Berbatov gains possession, and his pass through to Rooney looks a cert for the second goal, but Brown makes amends for his earlier error for United's goal to deny the England striker. At this rate, United could be 5-1 up with the number of chances witnessed.

18:13: Blackburn definitely need half-time the way things are going, as despite their early bright start, United have since dominated proceedings. Though Emerton's low ball is hacked away by United from danger in a rare opening, four minutes from the interval.

18:16: United's passing is sublime on the right-side with Brown and Ronaldo linking up superbly, only for the Portuguese's low cross to just miss its intended targets of Berbatov and Rooney inside the box. Rovers need greater width and ball retension in the second period.

18:18: CHANCE & HALF-TIME: Ronaldo comes close with a strike from close-range after a clever run and cross by Evra finds the winger, but his shot is bravely blocked by Ryan Nelsen, as referee Steve Bennett brings a halt to proceedings for half-time. United will feel unfortunate not to be further in-front, but Blackburn will be relieved not to have conceded further, as Ince may give some stern words to his players in the dressing room Sir Alex Ferguson style, one might imagine.

18:35: Both teams are back out for the second period as neither manager makes a change to his squad, as the rain continues to lash down on a murky evening up north.

18:36: The second-half commences.

18:37: CHANCE: Blackburn start frenetically and appear to have been given stern words at the break by Ince, as Emerton and Santa Cruz combine with the latter's shot going close for the hosts.

18:40: It appears Blackburn's Jason Roberts is going to replace Santa Cruz, in what could only be assumed to be an enforced injury change.

18:41: CHANCE: Ronaldo fizzes a shot wide for United after a good break by the Red Devils.

18:41: SUBSTITUTION: Roberts indeed replaces Santa Cruz for Blackburn and as thought, the Paraguayan striker has picked up a knock.

18:42: Roberts makes an early impact after just a few seconds on the pitch with some good running but his end product in the final third lets him down.

18:43: CHANCE: Rooney's right-foot drive is blocked superbly by Samba, as the game appears a bit more end-to-end in the second-half.

18:44: HALF-CHANCE: Blackburn waste an opening after Tugay's strong run down the right finds Derbyshire, whose inaccurate ball misses everyone inside the area.

18:48: SUBSTITUTION: Like-for-like change by Blackburn, as the ineffective Pedersen, who was touted as a dangerman before the match, is replaced by young Irishman Keith Treacy.

18:49: CHANCE: Rooney's run and pull-back to Ronaldo, is wasted by last year's 42 goal top scorer for United, as he drags the shot a yard wide from inside the area. United should be well clear in this game, but will they pay for their wasted opportunities? Ronaldo appears to have shrugged off an earlier knock sustained in the second period, but he has struggled to make a great impact tonight generally.

18:54: GOAL: United look to have sealed the points now, as a marauding run by Ronaldo down the right beats the desperate challenges of numerous Blackburn defenders and his delightful pull-back to Rooney is finished expertly high in to the net by the former Everton forward first time for 2-0 on 63 minutes. A deserved second goal for United and it looks like they won't need to pay for any mistakes now, with Ronaldo suddenly bursting in to life.

18:56: SUBSTITUTION: Carlos Tevez replaces Giggs for Manchester United as Sir Alex Ferguson's side look set to extend their lead.

18:56: CHANCE: Berbatov fails to get a good connection on a high-ball tossed in to the area by Rooney, as United dominate here. Wes Brown then goes close to notching a second for the visitors from a corner as Rovers are in disarray.

18:59: SUBSTITUTION: Tugay is replaced by Keith Andrews for Blackburn.

19:00: BBC Radio Five Live's Alan Green says United need to go down to nine men for the match to be an even contest. In my opinion, Blackburn need more than that to get a chance of a comeback in this match. He also says it is United's best performance of the season so far, which I wouldn't disagree with.

19:01: SUBSTITUTION: John O'Shea replaces Patrice Evra for Man United.

19:02: CHANCES: Firstly Berbatov's precise pass finds Rooney, whose delightful chest control inside the area, isn't replicated by a careless chip on to the roof of the net from a good position. Secondly, Berbatov should score close in but Brown saves the day again in the Blackburn goal to deny the forlorn striker.

19:07: HALF-CHANCE: Anderson's drive from range is held well by Brown, as the midfielder's first effort on goal is a dangerous one.

19:08: SUBSTITUTION: Ji-Sung Park replaces the brilliant Wayne Rooney, who receives a standing ovation from United supporters.

19:10: CHANCE: Emerton's drive is blocked ferociously by Vidic, as Blackburn spurn their best chance of the second-half inside the area, with not long remaining at Ewood Park.

19:11: CHANCE: A quick break by United results in Ronaldo putting the ball wide once again. Ronaldo appears to be lacking sharpness in front-of-goal, as United could have had seven or eight goals today.

19:13: Eight-and-a-half minutes remaining at Blackburn.

19:14: Blackburn have rallied slightly in the past five minutes, but their end product from right-wing probes has been thwarted by comfortable United defending. Too little too late for Rovers, as many fans head for the exits amidst the pouring rain. Meanwhile, United fans cheer their side on enthusiastically in the Darwen end.

19:15: A careless sliding challenge by Samba on Tevez compounds further misery for Blackburn as the stocky defender is booked. Tevez reciprocates seconds later with a strong challenge, which goes unpunished.

19:16: CHANCE: Tevez, 10 yards out, strikes the post with a smart drive after good passing from Ronaldo and Berbatov. How have United not scored more goals?

19:18: CHANCE: One reason why Blackburn have not conceded more is because they've kept going and they almost gained a late consolation through Samba's header, which flashes over the crossbar.

19:20: CHANCE: Good play from the young winger Treacy, who finds Derbyshire with a decent ball in the area with just a minute left, but he wastes the chance, though the goal would not have counted anyway for Blackburn, as the move was deemed offside.

19:20: Normal time is over at Blackburn and we're in to three minutes of stoppage time. Jason Brown is named man-of-the-match for Rovers, but realistically Rooney was the man-of-the-match during this match.

19:21: HALF-CHANCE: Rovers have finally sprung in to life late on, but too late, as Roberts' run near the edge of the area is halted by United's impregnable defence. Despite Ince's side's late rally, the hosts are being deservedly beaten by United.

19:24: FULL-TIME: Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Manchester United. The visitors strike through Wes Brown's first-half header from a corner and Wayne Rooney's emphatic second-half strike after superb play by an otherwise inconsistent Ronaldo, but if United had been more clinical, they could have made this is a comprehensive defeat for Blackburn. However, three points and another victory, ensures Sir Alex Ferguson's side are back on form as they collect a fourth successive win. Blackburn on the other hand were outplayed and will have to work harder against the top sides if they are to compete for European places this season. A deserved victory for Man United.


Interesting experiment, Stuart. It's always good to test yourself against the clock. Shame Rovers didn't put up a better fight.

By the way, turn off your caps lock for your blog headlines... none of us are DEAF!


Ian Reeves is head of the Centre for Journalism

Haha sorry Ian, you do have a point. Not quite sure why I insist on using caps as much, my end of year resolution will be to now stop using the caps. Thanks for the comment and yeah I thought I'd give myself a practice at stuff like that as it's what I'd eventually like to do. I agree, as Rovers have got points off Man U in the past at Ewood Park. Who do you support then? I'm Chelsea, which you might find unfortunate.


Didn't mean to post that twice by the way.

Haha sorry Ian, you do have a point. Not quite sure why I insist on using caps as much, my end of year resolution will be to now stop using the caps. Thanks for the comment and yeah I thought I'd give myself a practice at stuff like that as it's what I'd eventually like to do. I agree, as Rovers have got points off Man U in the past at Ewood Park. Who do you support then? I'm Chelsea, which you might find unfortunate.


Premier League football text, as it happened - Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United