Tuesday 16 January 2018

Kean rues painful start


Eleanor Crooks

Steve Kean's start to life as Blackburn caretaker manager was marred by injuries to three key players, with teenage defender Phil Jones in danger of missing the rest of the season.

The 18-year-old came on as a substitute at Ewood Park but lasted only 10 minutes before hobbling off after falling awkwardly in a challenge with Carlton Cole.

Kean confirmed last night that Jones has suffered a serious knee injury, while Jason Roberts damaged a hamstring and Christopher Samba was also forced off.

"I think Phil Jones is going to be a long-term one," said Kean. "He's got quite a bad knee injury, it'll probably be four or five months, which is terrible."

There was plenty at stake for both sides but the first half provided little to warm the freezing fans, with late efforts from Frederic Piquionne and Luis Boa Morte the only real goal threat.

Blackburn upped their level after the break and a short period of pressure ended with Ryan Nelsen netting the scrappiest of goals in the 51st minute. Brett Emerton's cross caused chaos in the West Ham defence and, after Benjani Mwaruwari missed his kick from three yards out, the ball fell to Nelsen.

Rookie 'keeper Ruud Boffin made a superb save from his initial effort only for the defender to guide the ball inside the post off his thigh.

It was rough on West Ham, who were easily the more creative side, and their luck appeared to be out again when Matthew Upson's snap-shot hit the outside of a post.

But the visitors showed admirable perseverance and grabbed a deserved equaliser 12 minutes from time. Gael Givet ended a brilliant run from Scott Parker by diverting the ball into the path of substitute Junior Stanislas, who crashed a shot into the far corner.

For once, fortune was on the side of West Ham shortly afterwards as David Dunn put the ball in the net only for referee Mike Dean to penalise Blackburn for a foul in the box.

Sunday Independent

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