Rovers draw closer to danger

Blackburn Rovers 1 West Ham United 1
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The Independent Football

Blackburn may have lost only three Premier League matches since Sam Allardyce took over as manager, but their inability to finish off wounded prey could yet prove fatal. At the moment they are suffering the slow torture of the draw. Before this game Allardyce had stressed the need for home success, so this will go down as another chance lost. Blackburn overcame the surrender of a goal to Mark Noble, equalised through Keith Andrews but could not apply the coup de grace on West Ham even though they dominated the second half. Currently the only thing they cannot draw is blood.

They have now been held in 10 matches this season – many of which they should have won – and with Portsmouth and Stoke winning yesterday Blackburn are in deep peril. They have only four home matches left and two of their away games are against Liverpool and Chelsea.

In mitigation, Blackburn did not enjoy much luck yesterday. Luis Boa Morte was offside in the build-up to the Hammers' goal while Rovers had two efforts ruled out (rightly) by the linesman. "It looked like there was only going to be one winner," Allardyce said after he had finished complaining about the officials, "but we haven't converted our chances. We're bitterly disappointed not to have got three points."

Blackburn were pulverised 4-0 at Arsenal last week so it was not a surprise that they were lacking in confidence. Benni McCarthy snatched at a chance after eight minutes and there was more than a hint of the insecurity when Paul Robinson and Chris Samba became entangled in a web of indecision in the 25th minute and West Ham would have taken the lead if Diego Tristan could move faster than an statue. The Spanish striker looked as sharp as a pillow 10 minutes later, too, but at least his oh-so-slow turn from Boa Morte's cross had an end product. Tristan played a pass to Noble who curled an exquisite low shot with the outside of his right foot past Robinson and in off the post.

Blackburn needed a quick response after the interval and got one in the 50th minute. A long throw from Morten Gamst Pedersen was teed up rather than cleared as Herita Ilunga and Lucas Neill tried to head away and substitute Andrews reacted quickest to thump a shot through a thicket of players. The game was laid out for Blackburn to prevail but their efforts had the subtlety of a fog horn and West Ham held out through a series of last- ditch blocks. "We must convert really good performances into wins," was Allardyce's verdict. And soon.

Attendance: 21,672

Referee: Chris Foy

Man of the match: Samba

Match rating: 5/10

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