Ewood park is located quite away from the town centre with a taxi being the preferred method, especially with the rain still coming down. Three nice new sides and one old one, all mostly empty as the League cup has become a joke to the “elite” teams. Nice under the stands with fancy non-slip floors!!! And staff wandering around clearing up after customers. It was almost as if they appreciated your money, but is was probably that they were bored and trying to keep themselves busy.
Blackburn unveiled the expected ½ full / ½ reserve side with a “just in case bench” in case we turned out to be a bit more competent than expected and things went a bit pear-shaped for them. I honestly arrived thinking that we would put up a good show but ultimately lose by a couple of goals and there didn’t seen to be anything wrong with that thinking when we went behind after 15 minutes when Brett Emerson tapped the ball home after Moss had parried a stinging shot into his path. It was deserved following the early exchanges with Rovers’ passing crisp and decisive.
It was important to get back as quickly as possible and we were duly obliged as few minutes later when Garreth O’Connor swivelled to hook home a Wade Elliott cross from the right and planted it past Encklemenn in the goal, 1-1.
The rest of the first half was hectic with some decent football played by both sides, Blackburn looked the better team but not by much but clean cut chances few and far between it was a creditable draw at half time.
Round two was much the same with Blackburn again having the edge and creating some decent chances which were all wasted. John Stead was brought on to replace Bothroyd for Rovers and he looked a shadow of the player who had been knocking them in regularly at the back end of the previous season.
With Holmes coming on to replace Hayter there was a target in the air and with about 20 minutes to go a lofted cross was headed back by Holmes and Broadhurst nodded the ball down and past the ‘keeper to give Cherries the lead.
It was going to be a question of whether we could hang on and resist the onslaught that was to follow. The answer was almost! In the final minute of injury time an equaliser was forced home by Gallagher and it was time for extra time.
Blown it! Well it appeared so when Rovers took the lead two minutes into extra time. After the let down of the injury time equaliser we appear not to have recovered when we conceded minutes into the first period. The good thing was that this time the tables were reversed and when John Spicer knocked in to make it 3-3 a few minutes from time it was on to the Pens.
With Deadly Derek rolling the second penalty to the keeper I thought that that was it. However, with both Tugay and Stead both missing, high and wide respectively, it was left to Eddie Howe to stoke the ball home and begin the celebrations.
Difficult one, but probably O'Connor
AFCB: Moss, Broadhurst, Cummings, Maher, Howe, Spicer, Elliott, O'Connor, Stock, Rodrigues, Hayter
Subs: Stewart, Andrade (on for Stock, 95 mins), Coutts, Holmes (for Rodrigues, 74), Connell (for Hayter, 74 mins)
Phil Henstridge, Deddington, Oxon