Rovers Downed at the Cottage
Attendance: Steven Atwell
After 2 succesive victories, Blackburn made the trip to Craven Cottage to face Fulham. Gael Givet and Brett Emerton were left out due to injuries, whilst Nzonzi was dropped to the bench. Jacobsen, Andrews and Grella made starting appearances.
The game almost got of to the dream start for Blackburn. A lovely first touch through ball by David Dunn put Franco Di Santo. However a poor first touch from the On Loan Striker didn`t give him enough time to open his body up, and his tame shot went straight to veteran Australian keeper, Mark Schwarzer. Dissapointing effort from the young man.
Blackburn continued to apply the pressure early on, however corners were wasted with some poor deliveries by Dunn and Diouf. With Grella dictating the midfield, Blackburn looked assured in defence, however some sloppy play down the right hand flank between Jacobsen and Andrews kept preventing more attacking opportunities.
Damien Duff was the main threat for Fulham, his pace and trickery giving Fulham glimpses of hope in the early stages of the half. A nice first touch, followed by a sharp burst of speed created space down the right flank, as Duff cut past Chimbonda, however his cross was headed over by Dempsey. Rovers countered, with Grella threading a 50 yard ball to Keith Andrews, making his 50th appearance in a Rovers Jersey. Andrews crossed into the 6 yard box, however Di Santo`s tame header went wide of the near post. Whether it was a coincident that Benni started warming up straight after this or not, must of been a touch uncomfortable for Di Santo, as the travelling fans started chanting, Benniiii McCarthy......
As the game went on, David Dunn started to up the tempo a bit, however, it was not his day. Several runs came to no fruition, and his passing game was not at its usual best. In saying that, Diouf and Andrews really weren`t involved, with the midfield being held by Grella, who would of loved Brett Emerton sitting next to him to take some of the work load.
Rovers persisted in giving away several silly free kicks in their own half. However, on 3 occasions, it was Captain Nelsen who cleared, his physical presence being a feature for Blackburn.
Unfortunately for Rovers, it was Fulham who opened the scoring, just before the break. A swift counter found Duff down the right flank, who threaded a through ball for Erik Nevland, slotting past Robinsons poor effort of a save into the near corner.
1-0 Fulham Half Time- No changes at the break
The second half kicked off, however, apart from Jason Roberts, Franco Di Santo, Vince Grella and Ryan Nelsen, it really looked like the rest of the lads stayed in the sheds. Roberts continued to hassle the defence all night, whilst Di Santo, who must be attending the Jason Roberts academy, hunted down every ball. Fulham upped the pressure early, with Jonathan Greening taking control in the midfield whilst Duff proved he was a threat down the flank.
Benni McCarthy and Nikola Kalinic came on for Roberts and Di Santo with 30 to go. However, within moments, Fulham nicked a second. Duff took the ball down the right flank, his deflected cross found Clint Dempsey, scoring the easiest goal of his career, caressing the ball into an empty net. 2-0 Fulham.
Blackburn almost had the perfect response. Nice work by Kalinic down the right, with 2 deflections and a return cross finding Diouf, however his shot was blocked by some desperate defending from Fulham captain Hughes. Controversy followed minutes later. A superb long ball from Vince Grella found Kalinic, who touched it around his marker. Contact was made between the defender and Kalinic, however referee Steven Atwell waved play on. Contact was minimal, but, they have been given in the past....
Rovers had one more chance to pull a goal back, Dunn cut the ball across the pitch, Benni Mc`s sliced shot found Chimbonda, who managed to drag it wide from 3 yards. Clint Dempsey then made Blackburn pay. After receiving the ball in the box, Dempsey held of Andrews, turned, and blasted into the back of the net.....3-0 Fulham
And thats all she wrote.....as Fulham returned to the top 10, and Blackburn, well, returned to poor old habits....
Paul Robinson 5
Ryan Nelsen 7.5
Chris Samba 6.5
Pascal Chimbonda 5
Lars Jacobsen 6
Vince Grella 8.5
El Hadji Diouf 4
David Dunn 6
Jason Roberts 8
Franco Di Santo 6.5