As Rovers face AFC Wimbledon later, @roversillitoe92 discusses the game, Rovers’ winning run and more.
With Rovers recording their fourth win on the bounce last Tuesday evening, all Blackburn supporters can afford to enjoy this moment. Something the loyal supporters of this football club haven’t endured for some ten years.
Far too long? Absolutely. But, victory is always better after a fall. The last week or so has been a fascinating journey. A week ago it was about showing superiority going in to a tricky looking local-ish game with Rochdale with Tuesday night’s game being a much tougher test.
Rovers have come through both with four goals, two clean sheets, six points and now sitting just a point outside the top six. Small steps yes, but it’s only September and the team are looking like the side we expected to see.
Tony Mowbray was right to come out and say there was room for improvement after the Rochdale win. In fact, some would go as far as saying the 0-3 scoreline flattered us. What those fans can’t argue with was the versatile nature of the win last Tuesday.
Scunthorpe boast a very impressive home record. Rovers, and quite rightly, conceded the possession stat. Scunthorpe dominated most of the game with a shoot on sight policy. Whereas Rovers showed a different side to their game by producing fast counter-attacking football.
Another test for Rovers was to see out the completely uncalled for six minutes of added time. How many goals did last season’s side concede late on to drop points? Mowbray’s men played a masterclass in how to see a game out. Well done lads.
A moment that’s worth pointing out is the collective celebration after the final whistle. Those players worked themselves in to the ground and, as they walked over to the travelling band of blue and white, an overwhelming feeling of team spirit hit you.
Not just from player to player, but the spirit collectively. From every player to every fan. What an effort.
Tony Mowbray is right to focus everyone internally at the club on the next game. The pressures elsewhere that opposition managers, bookmakers and the likes put on the club comes with the territory of being successful. The manager needs to control the balance of pressure and enjoyment. Something that seems to be working at the moment.
You only need to pop on to social media on a Friday evening to see that in practice. Whether it be Richie Smallwood’s “sleepover” at Harry Chapman’s gaff or Bradley Dack’s attempts at popular pop ballads. The balance between work and play is there for all to see.
To this weekend then, as Rovers come back home and look to make it five straight wins. From back-to-back away fixtures to now four home games in our next five. The opportunity is there to continue their run and set a new record with it.
AFC Wimbledon are the opposition. An extremely poor start by the Dons so far. Just one win and The Dons sit one place outside the bottom four. Wimbledon’s last joy came with back-to-back wins, beating Doncaster 2-0 followed by a 3-4 win at Barnet in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Since then, no joy. The Dons don’t score many on the road. In fact they’ve only managed one goal on the road in the league so far this season. That came on the opening day against Scunthorpe.
Don’t be fooled. The Dons pose real threat and any complacency will catch Rovers out. Historically this is a fixture that has caught the home side out. Although we have never played AFC Wimbledon, out of twelve previous meetings with the “Crazy Gang”, more than half have been draws.
Including the last time we welcomed Wimbledon to Ewood Park. Rovers seemingly expected to turn over the Dons back in March 2001, on our way to promotion and were caught out with a 1-1 draw. It’s important history isn’t to repeat itself and Rovers continue their fine form in front of what will be an expectant Ewood crowd.
Enjoying the Ewood experience is the key to a successful season. Words of the manager there. He’s not wrong. Far too often over the last few seasons have we froze at home, made uncharacteristic mistakes and ultimately fell short of what we’re expected.
Hopefully, the Ewood hoodoo is long behind us now that Rovers have won a couple at home. As previously mentioned, with a lot of home games coming up over the next few weeks, it’s vital that the manager reiterates that point.
Complacency is a very dangerous trait. So many promising sides slip up by being in that state of mind. Rovers have a manager and coaching staff were that will be snapped out of them straight away. It’s important that Rovers continue this momentum and see where it takes them.
It will be brilliant to feel the reception that the fans give the players today. It’s very rare that the club go in to a home match off the back of such as good week on the road. It will be like a homecoming for many of the team.
AFC Wimbledon will be tricky customers but Rovers’ depth of quality should be enough to see five straight wins on the form board. The game will play out as most will at Ewood this season.
The visitors sitting deep behind the ball, packing out the midfield and trying to frustrate Rovers. They’ll attempt to slow the game down and quieten the crowd. They’ll have the odd corner and free kick that Rovers must deal with.
The faster the Rovers start, the better. The earlier the break through comes the better. It will ease the fans and all round play. What we could see is a polished home performance and an enjoyment collectively from those on the pitch and those in the stands.
Enjoy the game.
Come on you Blues!