Match Report

500 Words after Leicester

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Blackburn Rovers are going to the FA Cup quarter-finals after a hungry, battling and determined display in the Midlands. The 2600+ travelling Blues were met with, possibly, the performance of the season and a result to match. 

Dolan ran riot whilst Hayden Carter kept Jamie Vardy quiet. Travis won everything and Pears maintained his excellent form in between the sticks with several superb saves. It wouldn't have been an understatement to say Rovers could have been four or five goals up by half time. 

The determination and resolution that was shown from minute one certainly gave the packed away end what they wanted to see. Right from the off there was sustained pressure and Tomasson's side squeezed mistake after mistake out of the Premier League side's back line. As Guy Mowbray said on the BBC commentary it was: “Full throttle football” from Rovers who showed no fear and really took the game to the Foxes. 

The opening goal just past the half hour mark from Rovers starlet Tyrhys Dolan was a fine example of exactly that. Excellent pressure from Sam Gallagher, Tyler Morton and Sammie Szmodics forced a big mistake that set Dolan free who made no mistake, slotting it cutely past the former Preston North End loanee Daniel Iversen in the Leicester net. An accurate finish from a man who oozed confidence throughout the game, constantly causing problems for the hosts' back line. 

The Rovers defence were once again phenomenal, keeping both Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy quiet for the vast majority of the fixture. Hayden Carter and Dom Hyam were both superb, as were the full backs either side of them, Joe Rankin-Costello was again fantastic. As well as Harry Pickering who put in an assured defensive display on his return to the side, dealing with Brazilian superstar Tete throughout the game. 

The Rovers captain Lewis Travis seemed to win everything that came his way through the middle, while also playing his part in the Championship outfit's sustained pressure. The defensive unit dealt with extreme pressure just before the half time break, again showing sheer determination and belief, keeping the one goal lead going into half time. 

JDTs side's hunger continued to trouble the Leicester defence right from the off in the second 45, with Ryan Hedges squandering a great chance early on - one that many in the away end would have thought would come back to bite the visitors. However, the heads didn't drop and neither did the sound decibels that were constantly booming from the away end. 

Thanks to some grit and determination from Gallagher, who put in a magnificent challenge on the Leicester left back, Rovers doubled their lead. The number nine galloped forward, skipping past several defenders, before playing the ball to Szmodics who pierced his way through the Leicester defence and slotted home into the bottom right corner, sending the travelling supporters into pandemonium. 

The hosts got one back, after making several substitutions, thanks to Kelechi Iheanacho. That goal that was followed up by sustained pressure from Brendan Rogers' side, but, again, thanks to more Aynsley Pears heroics and more good defending, Rovers made it through to the FA Cup quarter-finals - beating a Premiership team to get there once again. 

Que Sera, Sera! 

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