YNWA takes a look back at memorable League encounters over the years as we prepare to take our 63rd League trip to Ewood Park on Wednesday. So far our record reads a disappointing fifteen wins, 22 draws and 25 defeats, although we are unbeaten in nine of our ten most recent visits.
Steven Gerrard played his 500th reds game in our goalless draw in December 2009. The closest we came was when David N'Gog rattled the crossbar. We won 3-1 a year earlier, with Xabi Alonso and Yossi Benayoun striking after an hour. Roque Santa Cruz headed a goal back for the home side before Steven Gerrard bagged an injury time clincher. We were held to a goalless draw in November 2007, with Dirk Kuyt missing several good opportunities, and the home side twice striking the woodwork in the opening period.
Robbie Fowler grabbed the only goal of the game in April 2006 with Djibril Cissé controversially ruled inactive while in an offside position, as Pepe Reina kept his thirtieth clean sheet in his fiftieth reds game. On Boxing Day later that year we continued our away day woes, with Xabi Alonso striking the post as we lost 1-0 to a Benni McCarthy goal, despite dominating proceedings.
A highly eventful game in September 2003 saw Milan Baroš carried off after breaking his ankle in an accidental collision with on-loan Markus Babbel. Michael Owen bagged a brace, with his first coming from the spot, and Harry Kewell completed our scoring in a 3-1 win. However, the day was further marred by Lucas Neill's sickening challenge on Jamie Carragher that resulted in a broken leg. The Aussie was sent off, and repeated the feat in a Carling Cup game against us six weeks later. Jerzy Dudek was playing his hundredth reds game, while Anthony Le Tallec made his senior debut as a late substitute.
We left Ewood Park with another broken leg thirteen months later, this time a horrific double fracture suffered by Djibril Cissé. John Arne Riise and Milan Baroš netted as we drew 2-2.
Salif Diao made his official reds bow in a 2-2 draw in August 2002, with Rovers substitute Corrado Grabbi nabbing a late equaliser after Danny Murphy and John Arne Riise had put us in front, following David Dunn's opener. Winger Peter Thompson made his reds bow as we came from behind to win 2-1 39 years earlier. Ronnie Moran headed in after Rovers keeper Fred Else had saved his penalty, with Ian Callaghan bagging the winner.
Right-back John Molyneux debuted as we drew 3-3 in September 1955, with Billy Liddell adding to an Alan Arnell brace. Keeper Kenny Campbell made his reds bow in our 1-0 defeat in February 1912. Forward Joseph Brough made the first of his eleven reds appearances in September 1910 in our 2-1 win, with Jack Parkinson grabbing both our goals.
Trebles for and against
Billy Liddell scored all our goals with a classic hat-trick of right- and left-foot strikes and a header in a Second Division match in February 1958 that ended 3-3. The game was goalless at half time, with four of the goals coming in a four-minute spell immediately after the break! Winger Tommy Robertson bagged a treble as we won 3-1 in December 1898.
We twice conceded hat-tricks in 1913, with Johnny Orr scoring three as we lost 5-1 in March. Left-back Donald Mackinlay scored our consolation. Six months later, Danny Shea scored four goals as Rovers trounced us 6-2. Tom Miller netted a brace for the reds.
Left-back Phil Ferns scored his only reds goal as we were beaten 3-2 in August 1964, with Tommy Smith also on the scoresheet. Goalkeeper Andrew Aitken made his only senior reds appearance as we drew 3-3 in December 1930. Gordon Hodgson netted twice with Alan Scott also netting. Matt Busby struck the first of his three reds goals in a 2-2 draw in April 1936, with Fred Howe also on target.
Other memorable meetings
Dietmar Hamann played his hundredth reds game in a 1-1 draw in November 2001. Michael Owen put us in the lead before Matt Jansen equalised in the second half. Sean Dundee featured for the reds for the fifth and last time in April 1999 as we won 3-1, with Steve McManaman, Jamie Redknapp and Øyvind Leonhardsen all on target in the first half before Damien Duff pulled a goal back after an hour. Our 4-1 win in February 1966 kept us on course for our seventh League title. Chris Lawler and ‘Sir' Roger Hunt netted in the first half, added to by an Ian St. John brace after the break.
Left-half Tom Bromilow played his 374th and final reds game as we lost 1-0 in May 1930. Thirteen months earlier, right-back Robert Done converted a penalty on his 25th birthday as we lost 2-1. Referee C.E. Sutcliffe disallowed six goals back in September 1896, still a League record. He only permitted one strike to count, scored by Rovers. Two years earlier, we drew our first ever game in the First Division 1-1, with Harry Bradshaw on the scoresheet. Unfortunately, we were relegated at the end of the season. John Drummond played the first of eighteen senior reds games, with keeper William McCann making the first of his seventeen outings.
Stan Collymore bagged a brace in February 1996, with Michael Thomas netting his only goal of the season to give us a 3-2 victory. Stan's first goal came from a tamely struck shot that was heading straight into the arms of Tim Flowers until it unexpectedly struck a divot and bounced into the net! Cue 5,000 travelling Kopites singing ‘England's number one' to the rueful keeper.