Town 0-0 Blackburn - Half-Time
Tuesday, 15th Mar 2016 20:42
Town’s home game with Blackburn Rovers remains 0-0 at half-time.
Brett Pitman and Jonathan Douglas returned to the Blues starting line-up for Ben Pringle and Kevin Bru, who dropped to the bench.
Town started with a three-man central midfield of Cole Skuse behind Douglas and Luke Hyam with Kevin Foley back amongst the subs, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles was left out of the 18.
With Blackburn playing a diamond formation, Pitman played behind front two Freddie Sears and Daryl Murphy.
Rovers, who were playing their 10th game in 31 days, made five changes with Adam Henley, Corry Evans, Chris Brown, Matt Grimes and Simeon Jackson all starting.
Tony Watt, Ben Marshall, Jordi Gomez and Darragh Lenihan moved to the bench, while Danny Graham - scorer of four goals in his last two games against Town - was sidelined with a back injury suffered at the weekend.
Murphy struck the game’s first effort in second minute, Blackburn keeper Jason Steele palming away his 20-yard shot down to his right.
Blackburn forced Bartosz Bialkowski into his first save of the evening in the ninth minute when Grimes crossed from the right and Jackson, who trained with the Blues’ academy as a schoolboy, deftly flicked towards goal 10 yards out at the near post. The Pole scrambled the ball behind to his right.
A minute later, the Blues keeper made an even better save when Elliott Bennett’s freekick from the left evaded everyone in a crowded box and looked certain to curl into the corner of the net until he got a hand to it and turned it over.
On 12 Sears sidefooted Jonas Knudsen’s left-sided cross well over on the volley, then three minutes later the Danish international sent in another ball which Douglas headed wide with Murphy unable to reach it to add a further touch.
In the 18th minute Hope Akpan ended a slick Blackburn move on the left by shooting over from the edge of the box.
Murphy teed up Pitman for a shot from the right just outside the area in the 26th minute which Blackburn keeper Steele punched away.
Just before the half hour Evans picked up the game’s first booking for a foul on Knudsen, who had been Town’s main threat down the left.
Moments later, Grimes smashed a shot from distance which Bialkowski pushed away from goal to his right.
In the 34th minute a loose ball fell to Murphy in the area but his shot struck Sears and Rovers eventually cleared their lines.
Neither keeper was tested again before the end of a fairly typical, scruffy not overly entertaining Championship 45 minutes.
The Blues had had more of the ball and had had more shots but were largely unconvincing, while Blackburn’s two chances which forced Bialkowski into saves in the early stages were the nearest either side had come to a goal.
Town: Bialkowski, Chambers (c), Smith, Berra, Knudsen, Skuse, Hyam, Douglas, Sears, Pitman, Murphy. Subs: Gerken, Digby, Bru, Pringle, Foley, Touré, Varney.
Blackburn: Steele, Henley, Duffy, Hanley (c), Spurr, Evans, Akpan, Grimes, Bennett, Jackson, Brown. Subs: Raya, Watt, Marshall, J Gomez, Ward, Lenihan, Conway. Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire).
Photo: Action Images
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