Samba's forward thinking sparks Rovers

Blackburn Rovers 2 Tottenham 1

If Blackburn Rovers escape relegation from the Premier League this season, one of the pivotal reasons will have been a conversation on the training ground. Chris Samba was talking to his manager when he revealed something of his youth in France. Until he was 17 he had been a striker. Sam Allardyce was not surprised. The ball skills of his 6ft 5in centre-back were above average for a defender of his size and he had already witnessed the discomfort his height could create in an opposition area.

Nevertheless, it lodged an idea in the Blackburn manager's mind: Plan B will be big Chris as a striker.

Crude maybe, but so far it has worked. Against West Ham United two weeks ago Samba rolled forward to help his side rescue a point and in this game it was his leviathan presence that dragged Blackburn from the precipice of a desperate defeat. His bulk and pass set up Benni McCarthy's equaliser and his towering menace at the near post contributed to Heurelho Gomes' miscalculation for Andre Ooijer's 89th-minute winner. The Samba beat, you might say.

"I've had to mark him a couple of times," Ryan Nelsen, the Blackburn captain, said of his centre-back partner, "and I've felt his elbows once or twice as well. Now I get the young guys to try and mark him instead so I don't have to.

"To say he's a handful, doesn't really tell the story. He caused them a lot of problems when he went up front and he was always going to. I'm certain he would be a different sort of player to anything Ledley King or Jonathan Woodgate have marked before. He gives us something different."

He did on Saturday and in doing so perpetrated one of the great injustices of the season. A "great boost for morale" was Allardyces's verdict but his afternoon had been unremittingly grim for 82 minutes. Tottenham Hotspur, supremely prompted by Robbie Keane and Jermaine Jenas, made Blackburn look like relegation fodder and, if the referee Peter Walton had not, erroneously, sent off Wilson Palacios for a second bookable offence in the 80th minute, the north Londoners would have secured a win that would have put them on the fringe of the European places and Rovers in deep trouble.

Walton had also not distinguished himself by awarding Spurs a penalty when Gaël Givet appeared to be trying to pull his arm away from Aaron Lennon's cross but it was Palacios's departure that changed the game and led to the referee bearing the brunt of the Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp's disappointment. "I said at half-time he'd try to even the game up if he could, 'so be careful'," he said. "I was right, someone got sent off."

Then, aware that further criticism might incur the wrath of the Football Association, Redknapp delivered a scathing and vicious compliment. "Bless him, he has a go, doesn't he?" Just as well the FA does not dole out fines for condescension as well as dissent.

Goals: Keane pen (30) 0-1; McCarthy (82) 1-1; Ooijer (89) 1-2.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Robinson; Andrews, Samba, Nelsen, Givet; Diouf, Mokoena (Tugay, 63), Warnock, Pedersen (Dunn, 26); McCarthy, Roberts (Ooijer, h-t). Substitutes not used: Brown (gk), Villanueva, Treacy, Olsson.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Woodgate, King, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Zokora, 83), Palacios, Jenas, Modric; Bent, Keane. Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Bentley, Huddlestone, Pavlyuchenko, Dawson, Chimbonda.

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).

Booked: Blackburn Samba; Tottenham Hotspur Palacios.

Sent off: Tottenham Palacios (80).

Man of the match: Keane.

Attendance: 21,891.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments