By Dan Clough
It’s been another lean month for Rovers fans as we found ourselves slump into the bottom three.
Manchester United’s Diouf played the whole of a poor match – what more do you expect? – At Stoke. A 1-0 defeat with nothing to shout about going forward. As a late substitute in the dire goalless draw at Sunderland, he had little time to make an impact, especially with us down to 10 men. As the game drew to a close, most of the action took place in front of our own goalmouth, so again he saw little of it. He was an unused sub in the disappointing defeat at struggling Liverpool.
However, a glimmer of hope finally arrived the day before Hallowe’en. The visit of the champions was just what Rovers didn’t want as we slumped from one poor performance to the next, but, spurred on by the death of legend Ronnie Clayton, and maybe the presence of potential new owners, we attacked Chelsea from start to finish and were the better side throughout, despite the defeat. Returning to the starting eleven, the United man made up an attacking trio with Benjani and his namesake El-Hadji that looked dangerous from the start.
His pace was a constant thorn in the side of the defence, and he almost capped a good performance with a goal when sliding in at the far post he could only tap the ball wide. Arguably, he could have done better with it, but he was at full stretch.
In the first half, Petr Cech saved his audacious lob after he saw the keeper off his line, and he was unfortunate earlier when John Terry got in the way of a shot and deflected it wide.
In the second half, not long after tapping the ball wide, he got another chance with a header but couldn’t get it down and it went straight into the keeper’s hands. As well as the chances, Diouf was involved in a lot of the build-up play for other chances and, in the end, Rovers only had themselves to blame for not putting the champions to the sword.
Lots of promise after a difficult month and, on paper, a good chance to return to winning ways on Saturday at home to Wigan. Fingers crossed.
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