Mow­bray hails his in­jury-hit Rovers

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John Wragg

TONY Mow­bray la­belled his Black­burn side’s per­for­mance in their draw against West Brom as “heroic.”

Black­burn lost cap­tain Char­lie Mul­grew af­ter 15 min­utes, had Jack Rod­well limp off af­ter 58 min­utes and played the fi­nal 17 min­utes with 10 men and mid­fielder Richie Small­wood in goal, as David Raya had to go off in­jured af­ter they had al­ready used all three sub­sti­tutes.

Former Al­bion boss Mow­bray, who was back at The Hawthorns on a com­pet­i­tive ba­sis for the first time since he left for Celtic in 2009, said: “To have no de­fend­ers on the pitch and then fin­ish with 10 men and no goal­keeper on the pitch it was a heroic per­for­mance to get a point.

“I think that my team de­serves a lot of credit for the way that they dug in against the ad­ver­sity they faced.

“If we had lost by a cou­ple of goals I would still have be say­ing that they were heroic. I was de­lighted with the point and our spirit. That is how we work.

“It was a bit of class from Har­ri­son Reed, who was im­mense, and we thought we could win it be­fore the in­ci­dent with the goal­keeper.”

Raya was taken to hos­pi­tal af­ter suf­fer­ing hor­rific dam­age to his nose in a col­li­sion with Al­bion striker Jay Ro­driguez.

Mow­bray added: “The play­ers were feel­ing sick with what they saw. They could not look at it be­cause it was that bad.”

Black­burn were forced into an

early de­fen­sive reshuf­fle when skip­per Char­lie Mul­grew limped off af­ter only 15 min­utes to be re­placed by Amari’i Bell.

But the loss of Mul­grew didn’t overly af­fect Black­burn, es­pe­cially as Al­bion strug­gled to cre­ate clear chances.

Black­burn them­selves found open­ings hard to come by and they were left frus­trated in the 33rd minute when their penalty ap­peals were re­jected af­ter claims that Conor Townsend had han­dled a cross from Reed.

Al­bion should then re­ally have bro­ken the dead­lock sec­onds later, only for Ro­driguez to squan­der two gilt-edged chances.

Af­ter rac­ing clear of Der­rick Williams, Ro­driguez saw his first shot saved by Raya be­fore lift­ing the re­bound over the bar.

That was a huge let-off for Black­burn, but Al­bion did not have to wait long to take the lead. Bakary Sako forced a cor­ner and Matt Phillips sent over a cross that Daw­son bun­dled home with his head at the far post.

The ad­van­tage should have only been short-lived, how­ever, as Joe Roth­well had an ex­cel­lent chance to equalise af­ter a 42nd­minute pass from Bradley Dack, only to be de­nied by an ex­cel­lent save from Sam John­stone.

Al­bion then made a fast start to the sec­ond half with Tosin Adara­bioyo’s header nar­rowly off tar­get be­fore Raya de­nied Phillips at his near post.

Black­burn then en­joyed one of their best spells of the game with Kasey Palmer forc­ing a 68th-minute free-kick that Dack drilled nar­rowly wide.

That was a warn­ing Al­bion failed to heed and mid­fielder Har­ri­son Reed, who is on-loan from Southamp­ton, made them pay in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion in the 71st minute Al­bion cen­tral de­fender Kyle Bart­ley lost pos­ses­sion and, when the loose ball broke to Reed, he whipped in a shot that left John­stone clutch­ing at thin air.

Al­bion’s pro­mo­tion push has stalled af­ter col­lect­ing only one point from their last three games and man­ager Dar­ren Moore said: “Ob­vi­ously, we should have won the game on the chances and the way that the game was.

“But it is some­thing to build on. It has been a tough week.

“We wanted to win the game, but Black­burn were bitty, they were de­ter­mined and they came out with a valu­able point.”

Al­bion strug­gled to re­ally test Small­wood, but Moore added: “We had three or four chances, but they got the blocks in.

“We tried to win the game but it eluded us re­ally.

“We cre­ated chances and if we didn’t have any chances to win the game then that would worry me.”

REED ALL ABOUT IT: Har­ri­son Reed cel­e­brates scor­ing Black­burn’s equaliser


FALSE DAWN Craig Daw­son puts West Brom ahead

TUS­SLE: Har­vey Barnes bat­tles for the ball with Jack Rod­well

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