H-edge-ing to Glory?
Blackburn Rovers 2 v 1 Reading
After being instructed in CPD that reading is the key to success for Pleckgate pupils this fixture was swiftly booked. This superb experience was organised by One Voice Man of the Year for 2023, Yasir Sufi, who has done amazing work placing Rovers at the heart of the Asian community with many innovative initiatives like the Ewood Express and Eid prayers on the Ewood pitch. Yasir is the son of Pleckgate Mr Sufi who has been Man of the Year for every one of his 20 years at Pleckgate High School.
Rovers Manager Jon Dahl Tomasson’s rallying call for a “passionate crowd” to fuel Rovers push for play-off and FA cup glory was answered by 14,000 faithful fans including 82 flag waving Pleckgate pupils. This was a reward for the dedication and commitment these pupils have shown to school sport over the long, arduous winter months. Six lucky Pleckgate pupils were invited onto the hallowed Ewood turf to wave flags and whip the crowd into a blue and white frenzy before kick-off.
Three moments of South American samba magic were enough to secure 3 points against former Rovers boss Paul Ince’s Reading side that included his son Tom. Chilean superstar Brereton-Diaz clearly read the script and fired Rovers ahead in only the second minute with a clinical finish into the corner. Rovers dominated with Man of the Match Sammie Szmodics at the heart of all their best work. Captain Lewis Travis led by example with a tough tackling display on a cold, wet, wind-swept East Lancashire evening. Rovers had numerous chances to kill the game but profligate finishing and the desire for an extra touch conspired to thwart them.
In the 68th minute this proved costly when a slick passing move was finished by Cesare Casadei’s crisp finish after a period of sustained Reading pressure. Jon Dahl Tomasson sprang into action sending on the lively Tyrhys Dolan and Ryan Hedges. This proved a masterstroke as two moments of samba magic won the game for Rovers. Sam Gallagher’s imaginative back heel was reminiscent of Mr Haworth’s hero “El Gaucho” Ronaldinho. This fed Ryan Hedges whose first time outside of the boot finish was straight from Lionel Messi’s amazing repertoire.
A moment of “Loum-acy” from Mamadou Loum saw him see red for an ill-disciplined head butt on Gallagher and Reading’s hopes of a comeback disappeared down the tunnel with him. Rovers players celebrated in front of the Rover-joyed Blackburn End and Pleckgate pupils who had played their part in inspiring the win after Reading’s equalizer. The Rovers fans, like Mr Ainsworth, left dreaming of walking at Wembley rather than Memphis with the quarter final at Bramall Lane on Sunday. Hopefully Pleckgate pupils will be inspired to play sport for life and get down to Ewood Park to roar Rovers to glory.
A special thank you to the best team of the night the dedicated Pleckgate staff whose altruism allowed Pleckgate pupils to have such a fantastic experience Mrs S Patel, Mrs N Patel, Mrs Jassat, Miss Laher, Mr Sufi, Mr Haworth, Mr Pickup, Mr Ainsworth, Mr Livesey, Mr Nuttall.