Andrews strike saves Blackburn Rovers red faces
West Bromwich Albion 2 Blackburn Rovers 2
Published 03/11/2008 | 00:00
For one reason and another, the Hawthorns is becoming associated with stirring Premier League afternoons. In a game in which it was going to take something special to divert attention away from the referee Mike Jones, West Bromwich Albion and Blackburn Rovers achieved that feat.
First, Ishmael Miller delivered a wonder-goal in his 50th Albion appearance to lead them from one down to 2-1 up, only for their opponents – reduced to 10 men by Benni McCarthy's 36th minute sending-off – to hit back and equalise through Keith Andrews a minute from time.
Albion-dominated though the game was for long spells, Blackburn's late rally was impressive and the final twist hardly unexpected, Andrews rifling in his first goal for them with a terrific low 25-yarder.
"We showed great character at the end but, if we go in at half-time with 11 men, we win," said Blackburn's manager Paul Ince. "The referee couldn't get the red card out for Benniquickly enough... his bookings were two soft incidents. It's not a gamefor women."
Albion's task was an uphill one from the 10th minute when Ryan Donk tugged Jason Roberts' shirt. McCarthy punished them with a venomous low spot-kick. "Referees just don't give those decisions," complained Albion's manager Tony Mowbray. "And the sending-off never was in a million years. But it feels like two points lost because we did enough to win and played some scintillating stuff."
At 1-0, Paul Robinson made two saves while Borja Valero and Robert Koren also threatened before McCarthy, already booked for a poor tackle on Jonathan Greening, found Mr Jones brandishing a second yellow card for controlling a pass with his arm.
So rampant were Albion for 20 second-half minutes that Blackburn's skipper Ryan Nelsen smacked his own bar and post with one panicky attempted clearance. The equaliser arrived in the 55th minute, though, when an offside-looking Roman Bednar sidefooted home. Then came an absolute gem from Miller, who turned Nelsen excellently from Greening's pass to score with a 20-yard left-foot drive.
Blackburn produced their best football when behind; Roberts was denied by a goal-line clearance and Morten Gamst Pedersen thundered a free-kick over. But Andrews had the thrilling final say.