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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 August, 2004, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Blackburn 1-1 West Brom
Defender Craig Short celebrates Blackburn's win
Blackburn defender Craig Short denied West Bromwich Albion a winning return to the Premiership.

The Baggies took the lead in the first half when Neil Clement's free-kick deflected past keeper Brad Friedel.

Rovers dominated second half possession but found chances hard to come by against a resolute Baggies defence.

But they got an equaliser 20 minutes from time when Jonathan Stead's cross was powered home by Short, and Dwight Yorke was inches away from a winner.

Premiership new boys West Brom handed debuts to Riccardo Scimeca, Kanu, Darren Purse and Jonathan Greening.

But after a scrappy start it took almost 20 minutes for either side to create a real opportunity on goal.

Rovers new boy Javier de Pedro's deep cross found the head of Yorke - handed a place in the starting line-up after a summer when his future looked elsewhere - but his glancing effort was wide of the target.

Blackburn enjoyed a spell of pressure midway through the first half with Stead making space for himself before firing over.

Full-back Michael Gray was allowed a run at the Baggies defence but with space to shoot he scuffed his effort wide.

Neil Clement
Clement had put the Baggies in front

Referee Chris Foy turned down Blackburn's penalty appeal when Geoff Horsfield appeared to push Short in the box.

And while West Brom absorbed the pressure from Rovers, they also had a penalty appeal of their own.

A goalmouth scramble saw Purse fire in a shot that hit Barry Ferguson, who was lying on the ground, and looked to have struck his arm but again Foy waved play on.

The Baggies did then take the lead after 33 minutes and Rovers only had themselves to blame.

Dominic Matteo carelessly gave away the ball just outside his box and in his efforts to get it back he fouled Horsfield.

Clement's well-struck effort smacked into the wall and took a massive deflection off Ferguson's arm to wrongfoot Friedel.

Scuffed shot

Matteo had an almost immediate chance to make amends when the ball fell kindly for him 12 yards out, but he put his shot over the bar.

Blackburn spent large parts of the second half encamped in the Baggies' half.

But they found the Albion defence a tough nut to crack.

Substitute Paul Dickov went down in the box while Yorke saw a promising shooting opportunity closed down by Albion's wall of defence.

But on 70 minutes Rovers found an equaliser from an unlikely source.

Stead drifted out to the left wing and curled in a right-foot cross that found Short on the penalty spot and his header went in off the post.

Blackburn could have gone in front when substitute Tugay flashed a long-range effort just wide and then Horsfield produced a last-ditch tackle to deny Emerton a clear sight on goal.

Paul Robinson could have put West Brom back in front but after beating his man he scuffed his shot.

With time running out Blackburn were agonisingly close to a winner when skipper Ferguson swung in a dangerous cross that was inches away from Yorke's outstretched foot.


Blackburn: Friedel, Emerton (Gallagher 84), Amoruso, Short, Gresko (Dickov 45), De Pedro (Tugay 45), Ferguson, Matteo, Gray, Yorke, Stead. Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Johansson.

Booked: Matteo.

Goals: Short 70.

West Brom: Hoult, Haas, Gaardsoe, Purse, Robinson, Greening, Scimeca, Johnson (Gera 87), Clement (Moore 75), Kanu, Horsfield (Dobie 76). Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, O'Connor.

Goals: Clement 33.

Att: 23,475.

Ref: C Foy (Merseyside).



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