Fulham 1.v.1 Rovers
21st April 2007. 15:00 k/o
Attendance: 23, 652
Rovers` UEFA Cup quest is now on life-support. A draw against Fulham in the capital was not particularly useful for either side and leaves Rovers with an even bigger task to overcome if we are to be playing Europena football next season.
The game started quite slowly with Fulham looking the most likely and they duly took the lead after 10 minutes when Vincenzo Montella applied the final touches off his knee to a Simon Davies corner.
Rovers responded well against a nervous looking Fulham side. They were being forced back by the aggressive and direct play from both Rovers wingers. Morten Gamst Pedersen put pressure on Liam Rosenior, so much so the young full-back skewed an effort off his own post.
Fulham finished the half strongly but Rovers came out hungry.
Mark Hughes must have had some inspired words to say at half-time as Rovers went tearing into Fulham and were horribly unlucky not to score straight away.
Benni McCarthy once again demonstrated his ability by sweetly connecting with a cross twenty yards out to crash an effort against the underneath of the crossbar. Antti Niemi then produced two excellent saves to deny Gamst from the rebound.
It had the feel of one of those days again for Rovers as chances were being created but taken.
However, Stpehen Warnock and Gamst combined well down the left for the full back to cross to an unmarked McCarthy who was clinical from close range. It had taken an hour but Rovers were level.
A frantic pace to the game ensued with Fulham responding well. Brad Friedel was forced into making a handful of saves seemingly matching his opposite number who had kept Fulham in the game.
Jason Roberts once more went through on goal but the nature of his poor touch and lack of clinical finishing menat that Niemi was untroubled.
Both sides rallied for the late winner that would have helped their respective causes but it never materialised leaving Rovers just in touch with Europe and Fulham just away from relegation.
A thoroughly pulsating encounter which will have pleased the neutrals but done little to help either teams cause.
Added his 21st strike of the season to his tally and showed tremendous technique with his volley from distance. So unlucky it didn't go in.