Roberts' red card casts cloud over Tugay tribute

Blackburn Rovers 0 West Bromwich 0
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The Independent Online

Blackburn Rovers were hoping to celebrate Tugay's 294th and final appearance for the club with a victory. Instead the home supporters were left debating the second-half dismissal of striker Jason Roberts 12 minutes after he stepped off the bench.

Roberts was given a red card by referee Mike Jones for an apparent off-the-ball incident with Jonas Olsson. But the official's decision left most people baffled, not least manager Sam Allardyce, who shook his head in bewilderment. He had sent on Roberts after an hour for Chris Samba, following his recovery from a stress fracture of the foot. But it turned out only a cameo and Blackburn had to settle for a point.

With Blackburn safe and West Bromwich Albion relegated it did have the feel of a testimonial for Tugay after eight seasons at Ewood Park. He was given a standing ovation when he came off in the 85th minute and was replaced by Martin Olsson. He responded by waving to all corners of the ground as his name was chanted loud and long.

Even though they are going down, West Brom have been widely applauded too – for their good football. They had their moments with Northern Ireland midfielder Chris Brunt causing Blackburn problems. He skipped away from Stephen Warnock in the fifth minute and rattled in a shot that was diverted to safety by Gaël Givet.

Samba turned quickly in the area in the 15th minute after being released by Benni McCarthy and his effort beat Dean Kiely but came back off the post. Kiely had to be alert five minutes later to parry Morten Gamst Pedersen's superb free-kick from distance. Paul Robinson then prevented his side from going behind when he somehow got his hands to a Brunt thunderbolt and pushed the ball onto the bar.

Minutes after Roberts came on in the second half, the visiting supporters screamed for a penalty when Givet handled the ball but Jones would have none of it and waved play on.

Despite going down to the Championship West Brom could have finished their season on a high note but Marc-Antoine Fortuné wastefully headed wide from close range following Robert Koren's cross.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Robinson; Andrews, Ooijer, Givet, Warnock; Diouf, Grella (Mokoena, 69), Tugay (M Olsson, 85), Pedersen; McCarthy, Samba (Roberts, 59). Substitutes not used: Bunn (gk), Khizanishvili, Villanueva, Treacy.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Kiely; Zuiverloon, Donk, J Olsson, Robinson; Koren, Greening, Valero (Kim, 83), Brunt; Fortune, Menseguez (Wood, 90). Substitutes not used: Carson (gk), Moore, Simpson, Downing, Sawyers.

Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).

Booked: West Bromwich Valero.

Sent off: Blackburn Rovers Roberts (71).

Man of the match: Brunt.

Attendance: 28,389

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