Rovers raise Vale of gloom

Blackburn Rovers 1 Bohinen 68 Port Vale 0 Attendance: 19,891
Click to follow
The Independent Online
The magic and drama of the FA Cup may have abounded on one of the most eagerly awaited weekends of the football season but, sadly, none of the romantic cliches that make the competition what it is were in evidence at a frozen Ewood Park.

One sparkling piece of finishing from Blackburn's mercurial midfielder Lars Bohinen at least spared the prospect of having to endure a repeat showing of this event next week.

Vale might justifiably have claimed that they were worthy of a replay, because what little passing football there was on display in the first period came from John Rudge's well-organised team.

Rudge, impressed by Blackburn's emphatic 2-0 win at Everton in the week, came with a five-man midfield intent on strangling the life out of the opposition, and the match. It was a policy that almost worked.

"After we scored, they put a little bit of pressure on us - it's amazing what a goal can do," said Tony Parkes, the Blackburn caretaker manager. "Before that, they weren't interested in getting in our half. We could have taken the goal out at our end of the pitch."

Rudge, who masterminded an excellent Vale run to the fifth round of the FA Cup last season, felt no need to apologise for the tactics. "I always felt one goal was going to win the match," he said. "It was a game of very few chances, which is the way we planned it, and the vital one fell to them."

A Blackburn break after 67 minutes saw Jason Wilcox find Chris Sutton in the Vale penalty area. He held the ball up before laying it back for Tim Sherwood who, in turn, touched it to Bohinen to place an unstoppable 20-yard right-foot strike into the top corner of Paul Musselwhite's goal. The Norwegian international is a player who, for all his shortcomings in the hurly-burly of British football, does strike the sweetest of shots.

Vale had wasted their best chance of the match early in the second half when the centre-half, Dean Glover, met a corner with a towering header that Tim Flowers blocked superbly at the foot of his post. The rebound fell conveniently for Tony Naylor, but the Vale striker could only place his shot high and wide. The miss summed up a disappointing end to his team's Cup interest for another year.

Comments