Tue 03 Nov 15
at 21:35 PM
Report: Blues 0 Blackburn Rovers 0
Blues were forced to settle for a point against Blackburn Rovers despite a stirring second-half performance.
Following a relatively uneventful first 45 minutes, the game livened up significantly after the break with Blues looking the far more likely to grab a winning goal.
Visiting keeper Jason Steele was a busy man in the second period as he was called upon to make several saves, the best coming from David Cotterill’s crashing shot.
But frustratingly Gary Rowett’s men just couldn’t find a way through a stubborn Rovers defence and the game finished goalless.
Blues made three changes from the side that lost to Wolves at the weekend with Jonathan Spector, Andy Shinnie and Cotterill replacing Paul Robinson, Maikel Kieftenbeld and Jacques Maghoma, all three dropping to the bench.
Rowett’s side came straight out of the blocks, winning three corners in as many minutes. Cotterill and Shinnie also delivered terrific crosses from open play during the opening exchanges, really stretching the visitors’ defence.
Blackburn withstood that early pressure and started to enjoy more of the possession themselves, but both teams struggled to create an opening until Tom Lawrence burst through the Blues defence on 18 minutes.
The former Manchester United trainee skipped in between Paul Caddis and Michael Morrison to get through on goal but lost his composure at the vital moment, skewing his shot well wide of the target from 12 yards.
Blues slowly wrestled back the initiative and began to pose more of a threat to the Rovers backline, Demarai Gray and David Davis both getting in shots from distance which were blocked before they could trouble Steele.
At the other end Tomasz Kuszczak was called into action to collect a tame Lee Williamson header whilst Jordan Rhodes’ mazy run was halted by Caddis. From the resultant corner Shane Duffy’s header drifted wide.
Five minutes from the interval Gray had the Blackburn defence back-pedalling and was only stopped in his tracks by foul means 25 yards out and in a dangerous central position. The visitors’ defence did its job through, diverting Cotterill’s free-kick wide.
Gray sparked Blues into life again during the opening minute of the second-half, weaving his way towards the edge of the box before unleashing a goalbound drive, but a deflection took the sting out of the shot and Steele gathered the ball comfortably low down.
There was danger at the other end from Craig Conway’s corner which was met by a powerful Duffy header that grazed the Blues crossbar.
On 59 minutes Blues produced their best move of the match. A terrific flowing attack was started by Gray on the left and then switched to the right flank where it culminated in Cotterill’s fierce drive that was well beaten away by Steele.
A minute later Spector rose to meet Cotterill’s right wing corner but couldn’t get enough of a connection to send it goalwards.
The aerial threat of Duffy again caused Blues a worrying moment when he climbed highest in the area from Conway’s in-swinging free-kick but the centre-half’s header flew well wide of Kuszczak’s left-hand post.
Blues made their first change on 65 minutes with Jon Toral introduced to the fray and Shinnie making way.
The hosts survived a scary moment when a slip allowed Rhodes to race away unopposed down the left but with team-mates in space he over-hit his attempted pass and Kuszczak was able to come and collect the ball.
That escape strangely spurred Blues into action and an intense spell of pressure on the visitors’ goal. Toral saw one shot blocked by his own man, Jonathan Grounds.
Moments later Grounds himself sent a header towards the bottom left corner but it lacked sufficient power and Steele grateful dropped on the ball.
The lively Gray caused Rovers plenty of problems and from another excellent delivery by the teenager the ball bounced through a crowd of players but no one in a blue shirt was able to apply the vital touch.
Gray started the next promising Blues attack as he fed Toral, the Spaniard initially losing possession before regaining the ball and then setting up Clayton Donaldson. Under pressure, the big striker couldn’t get the contact he’d have wanted on his shot and Steele saved easily.
Rowett’s team continued to do all the running with Caddis next to try his luck inside the area but the full-back’s shot fizzed well wide.
Blues laid siege to the Blackburn goal during the closing moments but the last chance came and went when Davis’ shot from 20 yards flew over the bar.