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Roberts inspires Rovers to victory
Published : 12 Sep 2009 17:01:13
Roberts' slight touch on Gael Givet's header was enough to steer Rovers' second past Wayne Hennessey, and he did all the hard work to tee up his side's third for David Dunn. El-Hadji Diouf had celebrated his return to the starting line-up by giving his side a 19th-minute head-start when he raced clear and slotted the opener through Hennessey's legs. It was the emphatic response required by Rovers to concern over their bite in front of goal after their first three league games yielded the sorry statistic of just a single strike. And it could have been more against a Wolves side who caved in after a bright start to the second half, with Morten Gamst Pedersen ramming the post and Keith Andrews forcing a fine save out of Hennessey. But for all Rovers' application the visitors were left to wonder what might have been after Christophe Berra missed the simplest of chances in the fifth minute after Paul Robinson spilled a Greg Halford cross. The Wolves defender was presented with an open goal but fluffed his shot on the turn and saw his effort fly high and wide of the relieved Robinson's goal. That was to prove the best chance of a trying afternoon for the visitors as the home side gradually took a grip on proceedings thanks to Dunn's relentless prompting and the energy of Roberts and Diouf up front. Diouf repaid Sam Allardyce's faith when he took advantage of a blunder by Michael Mancienne whose mis-timed challenge gave the Senegal man a clear run on goal. Diouf managed to hold his nerve but only just as he hit a low shot which squirmed through the unfortunate Hennessey's legs and bobbled into the net to put the home side in front. The goal visibly restored Rovers' confidence and they almost grabbed a second in the 31st minute when Dunn ran at the defenders and laid the ball off to Andrews whose shot was well blocked by Hennessey. Wolves were consistently guilty of giving the ball away too early round their box and Pedersen almost made them pay in the 44th minute when he curled a left-foot free-kick which struck the outside of Hennessey's left-hand post. Things briefly looked brighter for the visitors at the start of the second period as Mick McCarthy's substitutions took effect and Stefan Maierhofer drove wide then almost got on the end of a lofted cross from Kevin Doyle. But Rovers effectively sealed the points in the 57th minute when Givet met Dunn's corner with a powerful header which might have been heading for Hennessey's hands had Roberts not got the slightest of touches as it passed. It was Roberts' turn to feel robbed of a goal eight minutes later when he barged past the advancing Hennessey before stumbling and leaving Dunn to slot home Rovers' third from point-blank range. As Rovers began to revel in the late summer sun Andrews forced a superb save out of Hennessey from a set-piece and crashed another effort against Berra in the box. Wolves did bag a consolation two minutes from time when Maierhofer controlled a corner from Jarvis and poked home from the edge of the six-yard box. But the way his side caved in after Rovers' second will be of concern to Wolves boss McCarthy as he looks to maintain confidence after a reasonable start to the season. Rovers, meanwhile, are up and running.