Ray Clemence came to watch goalkeepers Paul Robinson and Robert Green ahead of England’s matches against Slovenia and Croatia but, such was the nature of this dire game, there will be little he can tell Fabio Capello other than that both take decent goal kicks and that you still get a reasonable cup of tea at Ewood Park.
Neither was forced into a save of note as Blackburn Rovers, with one goal in three league matches, struggled to support lone striker Jason Roberts or cope with the back bone Gianfranco Zola has given West Ham.
At least Clemence could inform the Italian that West Ham’s striker Carlton Cole once again lived up to his new-found status as a regular in the England squad with an impressive performance, which saw him create each of his chances on goal.
After the violence at their 3-1 win over Millwall in midweek, Zola was unconcerned about Martin O’Neill’s presence in the stand to watch James Collins.
He said: “Considering everything that’s happened, it’s a good result. I know my team can do better, but I have to be pleased. I can’t help it if Martin O’Neill is here, my two centre backs were vital because of the way they played we defended very well.”
Roberts had already shot wide when Cole started to make his presence felt. He picked the ball up with his back to goal and played it around Lars Jacobsen and Christopher Samba, outpacing the former and shrugging off the latter, before shooting high and wide from a narrow angle.
Morten Gamst Pedersen, Samba and Keith Andrews all failed to take chances they were given and after the restart, David Dunn played through for David Hoilett, only for the youngster to hit the side netting and the forward also lobbed over after he was played through again by Dunn.
“When things are going for you and in your favour, those chances go in and at the moment, they’re not,” Sam Allardyce said. “Those are the small differences that make all the difference in the Premier League. It’s all about inches and at the moment we’re the wrong side of those inches.”