Football: Shearer shines: Bournemouth sunk

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Bournemouth . . . . .0

Blackburn Rovers. . .0

(Blackburn win 1-0 on aggregate)

EVEN though neither he nor his team could find the net last night, Alan Shearer was still very much a winner, his goal a fortnight ago ensuring Blackburn a place in the third round of the Coca-Cola Cup. And lingering doubts about his fitness were virtually submerged as he survived the full game in appalling conditions.

One stitch was required to heal a cut over his left eye, but otherwise the returning Rover came through unscathed after being forced to work extra hard over a surface that became increasingly heavy.

Lawrie McMenemy was there to see for himself and write a positive report. 'Alan won't get a tougher test than that,' he said. 'The conditions were atrocious and to be honest I thought his butterfly was better than his crawl. It will do him good to have lasted the full game.'

Shearer was relieved to survive an ordeal which resulted in six yellow cards, four by the home side. 'It was very competitive, but this will have been good for me,' Shearer said. 'I'm getting closer to what I should be.'

Rovers never looked like sacrificing their 1-0 advantage. It was a tough, passionate affair, but apart from one aberration, Bobby Mimms was seldom troubled in the away goal. The one moment of class was supplied by Shearer, who seized on a poor back-pass and chipped sublimely against the crossbar.

Bournemouth (5-2-3): Bartram; Pennock, Masters, Watson (O'Connor, 76), Morris, Leadbitter; McGorry, Parkinson; Fletcher, Cotterill, Beardsmore (Wood, 67). Substitute not used: Moss (gk).

Blackburn (4-4-2): Mimms; Berg, Hendry, Moran, Le Saux; Ripley, Sherwood, Marker, Wilcox; Gallacher (Atkins, 73), Shearer. Substitutes not used: Talia (gk), Makel.

Referee: K Burge (Tonypandy).