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Page last updated at 18:11 GMT, Sunday, 28 December 2008

Blackburn 2-2 Man City

By Paul Fletcher

Robinho (left) celebrates his late equaliser for Man City
City scored twice in seven dramatic minutes to draw at Rovers

Manchester City scored two late goals to snatch a point at Blackburn.

Benni McCarthy had put Rovers ahead with a crisp strike on the stroke of half-time and Jason Roberts headed a second after 84 minutes.

But City substitute Daniel Sturridge drilled home after pouncing on a poor defensive header from Andre Ooijer.

Robinho, who earlier missed a good headed chance, then slotted home deep in injury time after Sturridge picked him out with a great pass.

The result means that Blackburn extended their unbeaten run under Sam Allardyce to three games but it will nonetheless feel like two points dropped for the home team.

Results earlier on Sunday meant that Rovers had started the fixture bottom of the league - and victory would have seen them leapfrog both West Brom and Stoke.

Hughes delighted with Man City character

However, City's late riposte means that Rovers just move ahead of the Baggies on goal difference to go 19th in the table.

City's dramatic finish hints at a character and spirit that has often seemed to be missing over recent weeks but it does not detract from the fact that Mark Hughes's team have still only won once on their travels in the league - at Sunderland on 31 August.

And with City playing their last fixture before the transfer window opens it will be fascinating to see who arrives - and leaves - Eastlands.

With both teams desperate for points, the match not surprisingly started at a brisk tempo, with plenty of early action and controversy.


Richard Dunne, the last man in City's defensive line, could have been sent off after bringing down Roberts in the second minute but although Rovers were awarded a free-kick referee Howard Webb took no further action.

City later wanted a penalty after Robinho went down under close attention from Ooijer but Webb awarded a goal-kick.

However, Robinho only had himself to blame when he failed to end a blistering break with a goal after 11 minutes.

Felipe Caicedo delivered an excellent cross from the left and Robinho was completely unmarked but the Brazilian headed wide from eight yards.

The lively Roberts ensured the Rovers midfielders always had an option and Dunne had to make an excellent block to thwart the striker after he twisted and turned before shooting towards goal.

Rovers also looked to restrict the time on the ball enjoyed by City's gifted attacking players, with Robinho in particular the focus of constant attention.

Two precious points dropped - Allardyce

Elano tried his luck with a free-kick from 30 yards but his effort was ridiculously wide and just when it seemed the half was starting to peter out McCarthy put Rovers in front.

Caicedo was guilty of surrendering possession but even so there seemed to be little immediate danger when Brett Emerton crossed from the right but Roberts' brilliant turn left Dunne and Nedum Onuoha floundering and McCarthy struck.

Shaun Wright-Phillips clipped the woodwork with a header that seemed to hit the back of his head and the previously ineffectual Stephen Ireland shot narrowly wide as City responded but they failed to mount any sustained pressure.

Robinho finally forced Rovers keeper Paul Robinson into action with a shot after 69 minutes but Hughes introduced Darius Vassell and Sturridge for Elano and Caicedo to try to improve his team's attacking threat.

Rovers retreated further towards their own goal as the minutes ticked down but appeared to have put the game beyond City when the impressive Roberts headed home Christopher Samba's looping pass from just outside the area.

Even so, City did not give up and Sturridge ensured a dramatic finish when he pounced on Ooijer's poor defensive header to smash the ball past Robinson and score the first goal against Rovers since Allardyce became manager.

Sturridge then turned provider to ensure a share of the spoils for City, with Robinho calmly converting from a tight angle.

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce:
"From our point of view it is two precious points thrown away.

"We were also disappointed not to win against Sunderland on Boxing Day and we now have two draws from what should have been two victories.

We find ourselves still rooted in the bottom three. The points tally is not as big as it should be and it is a great shame - but the Premier League is a punishing league and you have to play right to the end."

Man City boss Mark Hughes:
"Daniel is a player with great potential and he had an impact on the game.

"We know his quality on the ball and he picked out Robinho for the equaliser in an area where we had been struggling to find him.

"We showed great resolve to keep going and I am delighted. In the past we have struggled to get anything from games like this."

Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Emerton, Kerimoglu (Mokoena 73), Andrews, Pedersen, McCarthy (Derbyshire 85), Roberts.
Subs Not Used: Brown, Khizanishvili, Vogel, Treacy, Olsson.

Booked: Kerimoglu, Nelsen.

Goals: McCarthy 45, Roberts 84.

Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Onuoha (Richards 64), Dunne, Ball, Ireland, Kompany, Elano (Vassell 71), Wright-Phillips, Caicedo (Sturridge 71), Robinho.
Subs Not Used:Schmeichel, Jo, Garrido, Fernandes.

Booked: Ireland.

Goals: Sturridge 88, Robinho 90.

Att: 25,200

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Blackburn's Benni McCarthy 7.38 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Premier League as it happened
28 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Sunday's football photos
28 Dec 08 |  Football

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