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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
22:00 12th February 2013
By  Luke Nicoli

Report: Albion 1 Blackburn Rovers 1

A second-half penalty from Vicente rescued a point but the Albion players would have returned to the dressing room perplexed at the scoreline.

Gus Poyet’s men created a hatful of chances but were somehow kept at bay by a mixture of good goalkeeping, dogged defending and sheer bad luck.

Indeed, the hosts should have been comfortably ahead by the break but somehow found themselves a goal behind to Scott Dann’s 24th minute header.

Yet to their credit, Albion kept plugging away and were rewarded when the Spaniard converted his spot kick 12 minutes after the restart.

Albion, keen to build on Saturday’s win against Hull City, made their intentions clear from the start when Leonard Ulloa connected with Vicente’s corner, only to see his volley fall wide of the post.

Vicente, starting only his second league game of the season, was inevitably at the heart of the action and Rovers keeper Jake Kean was relieved to see the Spaniard’s 25-yard drive fly inches wide of his right-hand upright.

In a frenzied opening by the hosts, Will Buckley also had Kean scrambling across his line to push the ball to safety and from the resulting corner, there were claims for a penalty after Ulloa headed another Vicente corner into a pack of Blackburn bodies.

With DJ Campbell and Jordan Rhodes in their attack, Rovers were always dangerous on the break and the former went close with a near-post flick from Martin Olsson’s left-wing cross.

Keen to maintain the momentum, Bruno was next to try his luck from distance for Albion. And incredibly we’d had just 12 minutes on the clock.

After a brief lull, Dean Hammond’s stinging drive was saved by Kean, but unable to keep hold of the ball he spilled it into the path of Buckley, whose close-range effort was cleared.

Yet incredibly it was Blackburn who took the lead. A rare corner by Danny Murphy on 24 minutes was swung into the Albion box and Dann rose highest to power his header home.

It was a sucker punch which rocked the hosts for a spell and Campbell went close with a header from another Olsson cross.

Will Hoskins – returning to the starting eleven – had an evening to forget as he was stretchered off before the break after colliding with Kean, and was duly replaced by Andrea Orlandi.

The referee signalled for only three minutes of injury time, but there was still time for another Albion chance when Hammond headed Vicente’s cross goalwards, but his effort was somehow beaten out by Kean.

How Albion were not in the lead, let alone finding themselves a goal behind was almost beyond comprehension.

Poyet’s men continued to crank up the pressure after the restart, with Olsson almost heading Vicente’s cross into his own net, while Rovers had appeals for penalty waved away when a Rhodes drive hit Adam El-Abd.

Ironically, it was a penalty decision which got Albion back on level terms on 57 minutes when a Vicente cross from the left struck the arm of Markus Olsson. It was spotted instantly by assistant referee Daniel Cook and after the protestations of the Rovers defence died down, the Spaniard stepped up to coolly drill the spot kick home.

The visitors lost their heads for a while; Murphy picked up a caution for a scything challenge on Bridcutt while Grant Hanley also went into the book for an ugly challenge on Ulloa.

Ulloa’s clever flick from an Orlandi cross was comfortably held by Kean while at the other end Tomasz Kuszczak was equal to a volley from Campbell.

Hammond again tried his luck from distance and as the Seagulls went in search of a second Kazenga LuaLua was introduced to inject some pace.

The sub went close in injury time with a dipping effort but just like at Ewood Park last month, it was honours even for the play-off chasers.

    QUICK FACTS

    32,425 paving slabs were used to create the exterior concourse at the American Express Community Stadium.