MY BATTERED BOYS ARE ALL HEROES!
Mowbray hails his injury-hit Rovers
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