England hopefuls rise to occasion

Robert Green and Dean Ashton have spoken of their satisfaction at coming away from Ewood Park with a vital three away points on Sunday afternoon.

The goalkeeper and striker played pivotal roles in the 1-0 victory against Blackburn Rovers, and could not hide their delight on Sky Sports after the contest. Green produced some magnificent stops including a last-gasp save from Tugay in the dying seconds while Ashton had earlier slotted in the winning goal from close range - just seven minutes after coming on at half-time

Speaking to Sky Sports, Green described the win as "excellent", adding: "This is a tough place to come. They have got quality players and they are playing good football. To defend like that for the last 35 minutes is a good outcome for us." Of his wonder save at the death, he added: "I didn't see it initially, I just saw it going to my right and the swerve on the ball took it back inside but I just managed to get two hands on the ball. If it had moved anymore I think I would have been in trouble."

Both men, along with fellow England hopefuls Matthew Upson and Scott Parker, impressed in a gritty display from back to front. For Ashton, he was just pleased to get an extended run-out, describing the goal as an additional plus. "It is a bonus for me and for the team," he said. "To come to Blackburn and win is a very good result considering the run they have been on. I am really pleased for everybody that we have got a win to go into the Christmas period."

Ashton, who was voted the broadcaster's man of the match, could have had two, only to sky a good opportunity when well placed to score. Although admitting he was "a bit embarrassed" by that, he was just relieved that his earlier contribution proved the match-winner. With Everton to come in the Carling Cup quarter-finals and league on Wednesday and Saturday respectively, and Alan Curbishley praising his side's "sheer determination"  to achieve a "massive win" - the signs are good for a memorable week.