Rangers boss Neil Warnock will be delighted with his sides response after their hiding at London neighbours Fulham a fortnight ago but will be tearing his hair out after they squandered yet another chance to win on home turf. His opposite number Steve Kean will be delighted by Rovers’ resilience as they ended a sequence of back-to-back defeats. They were lucky though not to make it three on the bounce as the R’s dominated the game and should have had a late penalty only for referee Mark Clattenburg to wave away the host’s appeals. Both goals came within the first half hour with Heidar Helguson scoring his 100th goal in English football and his first in the top flight this season. But they couldn’t hold that lead for very long as Christopher Samba rose highest in the penalty area to head home past Paddy Kenny.
It was a welcome change for Kean as his side battled admirably to keep the R’s at bay whilst protests over his tenure at Ewood Park subsided for a week although more are planned for next week. As for the Hoops it’s yet winless game at home although the point did take them into the top half. Both sides endeavoured to attack with some shoddy defending aiding their causes. The visitors were almost gifted the lead when Anton Ferdinand clipping his own crossbar after a calamitous attempt at clearing the ball. Rovers were also guilty of making mistakes and they should have done better in clearing Helguson’s header from a corner as the home side took the lead after 16 minutes. The Icelandic international reacted quickest though punishing the away side as he floated the ball into the far corner out of Paul Robinson’s grasp.
Warnocks men increased their pressure and should have doubled their lead with Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips both denied before Samba equalised with 24 minutes on the clock. The Congolese defender outstripped Fitz Hall in the air to power the ball past Kenny give Rovers a huge confidence boost. It also seemed to spark them into life with Junior Hoilett going close to giving them the lead only too his curling effort cleared off the line by Ferdinand.
The second half saw a dip in tempo with Adel Taarabt, dropped to bench after he stormed out of Craven Cottage two weeks ago, outpaced Michel Salgado only to miscue his shot with Samba breathing down his neck. The Moroccan then tangled with Salgado in the penalty area only for Clattengburg to wave away any appeals. Rovers had the final chance of the game only for Kenny to save smartly from Martin Olsson’s rasping 30-yard drive as both sides settled for a point.