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Match Report
Blackburn vs West Ham Utd
 0 - 1 
Date: 
09/12/2007
Venue: 
Ewood Park
Attendance: 
20,870
Referee: 
Alan Wiley
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Blackburn Rovers 0-1 West Ham United

Dean Ashton came off the substitute's bench at Blackburn Rovers to inspire West Ham United to a fourth away win of the season.

The 24-year-old striker has had to wait for an extended chance but wasted no time upon entering the fray at half-time. Within seven minutes, he had opened the scoring with a close-range finish and the visitors were able to hang on for the three points. It moved the club back into the top half of the table and left them just four points behind Blackburn in ninth.

While chances were few and far between for Alan Curbishley's side in last Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Chelsea, it was a different story for his unchanged eleven at Ewood Park on Sunday afternoon. Within two minutes, Lucas Neill, back at his former club, surged forward and won a corner. The resulting set-piece found Matthew Upson but he could just not direct his header on target. Blackburn had their first attempt on five minutes, David Dunn unleashing a shot that cleared Robert Green's crossbar by a matter of inches.

Mark Hughes's side were in physical mood with Scott Parker feeling the force of an Aaron Mokoena challenge before Andre Ooijer went into the referee's notebook for a 13th-minute foul on Luis Boa Morte. It was the Portuguese international, again alongside Carlton Cole in attack, who had the visitors' first real shot - trying his luck with a speculative shot on 18 minutes.

Within two minutes, Upson strode out of defence and fed Matthew Etherington. He in turn found the overlapping George McCartney but, despite a good low cross, no one had got forward to find the finishing touch. Neill, with jeers from the home fans ringing in his ears, was also getting forward as West Ham United looked to take the game to Blackburn whenever possible.

Rovers seemed content to shoot from distance with Morten Gamst Pedersen - the only change in the Blackburn ranks because of David Bentley's suspension - firing in a drive that hit Neill as the half-hour approached. Parker also had a go at the other end on 34 minutes, with his dipping effort just missing the target.

After a half-chance for Nolberto Solano, Pedersen had the best moment of the opening 45 minutes - finding space to the left of goal to fire in a shot that Green did well to save. Curbishley's side closed out the half with some neat passing but in truth, neither side had ever really looked like scoring.

It was a different story after the break with Curbishley making an instant attacking move. On came Ashton for Matthew Etherington, who had a groin problem, meaning Boa Morte went out to the left to allow the striker to partner Cole. Blackburn also made a change, bringing on Robbie Savage for Mokoena.

The Hammers were soon in front. Terrific work by Boa Morte on the left won a corner and, after Blackburn failed to clear, McCartney found space to drill a low cross into the six-yard box for the unmarked Ashton to score. Blackburn came back strongly and only a magnificent low save by Green stopped Christopher Samba levelling things up in the 57th minute.

Blackburn were in determined mood and Tugay and Pedersen both tried their luck but the visitors always remained dangerous on the counterattack. A late challenge by Cole on Samba earned him a 68th-minute yellow card before Blackburn bought on Stephen Reid for Dunn.

Boa Morte could have made the game safe in the 73rd minute with a fierce effort but Friedel did well to parry. With 15 minutes remaining, Roque Santa Cruz rose above Upson to head for goal but missed the target. Curbishley then bought on Jonathan Spector for Solano while Pedersen made way for Jason Roberts before Santa Cruz conspired to miss from eight yards - having done brilliantly to work an opening.

Ashton then missed a similarly gilt-edged opportunity in the 84th minute as Ooijer limped off to leave the hosts down to ten men. It was a nervy finish - not least when Upson just avoided scoring an own goal and Green acrobatically pushed away a Tugay thunderbolt - but the visitors, who brought on Henri Camara for Cole at the death, had done enough.

Blackburn Rovers: Friedel (c), Emerton, Samba, Ooijer, Warnock, Dunn (Reid 69), Mokoena (Savage 46), Kerimoglu, Pedersen (Roberts 75), Santa Cruz, McCarthy.
Subs not used: Brown, Derbyshire

West Ham United: Green, Neill (c), Gabbidon, Upson, McCartney, Solano (Spector 75), Parker, Mullins, Etherington (Ashton 46), Cole (Camara 87), Boa Morte.
Subs not used: Wright, Noble

 

Lucas Neill, Dean Ashton and Carlton Cole (Action Images)
West Ham United returned to the top half of the table with a fine away display
 Match Stats
 
  Blackburn West Ham
Goals : 0 1
Possession : 52% 48%
Shots On Target : 7 5
Shots Off Target : 8 6
Corners : 9 5
Fouls : 15 17
Most Fouls : Dunn (4) Cole (6)
Yellow Cards : 1 1
Red Cards : 0 0
 
Scorers :
Ashton 52
 
 Team Line Ups :
 
Brad Friedel   
Brett Emerton   
Christopher Samba   
Andre Ooijer   
Stephen Warnock   
David Dunn 70
Aaron Mokoena 46
Tugay Kerimoglu   
Morten Gamst Pedersen 76
Roque Santa Cruz   
Benni McCarthy   
 
Substitutes :
 
Jason Brown   
Robbie Savage 46
Steven Reid 70
Jason Roberts 76
Matt Derbyshire   
 
 
   Robert Green
   Lucas Neill
   Danny Gabbidon
   Matthew Upson
   George McCartney
76 Nolberto Solano
   Scott Parker
   Hayden Mullins
46 Matthew Etherington
88 Carlton Cole
   Luis Boa Morte
 
 
 
   Richard Wright
46 Dean Ashton
   Mark Noble
76 Jonathan Spector
88 Henri Camara
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