Fulham and Rovers share spoils
Rochina's rocket is cancelled out by Zamora's pearler
Last Updated: 12/09/11 9:14am
Zamora: Secures point for Fulham with equaliser
Blackburn earned their first point of the season as they shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
The visitors broke the deadlock through Ruben Rochina's fine 18-yard drive but Fulham managed to equalise through Bobby Zamora's curled effort six minutes later.
Both sides remain in the bottom three of the table and are still searching for their first league win of the season.
The Cottagers looked nervous at the back in the early stages as Blackburn exerted some intense pressure, keeping possession for long periods without really threatening in front of goal.
Rochina could have opened the scoring for the visitors, but he curled his tame effort straight into the safe hands of Mark Schwarzer.
Minutes later David Goodwillie attempted an acrobatic overhead kick which just flew over the crossbar.
At the other end Scott Dann's poor back pass was collected by Zamora before he collided with defender Michel Salgado but referee Howard Webb waved away appeals for a penalty.
However, Rovers eventually broke the deadlock after Philippe Senderos' poor clearance was picked by Junior Hoillet wide left.
He was given time to pick out Rochina in space, on the edge of the box and the former Barcelona man fired a stunning left-foot strike into the top right-hand corner, giving Schwarzer no chance to bag his first Premier League goal.
But, it took just six minutes for the hosts to restore parity at Craven Cottage as Rovers' defensive deficiencies were against highlighted after some poor defending by Givet allowed Zamora to curl home his left-foot effort into the far corner.
The Cottagers dominated the second half for long periods but failed to break down Blackburn's defence-oriented line-up.
New signing Bryan Ruiz was handed his Fulham debut after joining from FC Twente for £10.6million.
The visitors, meanwhile, handed a debut to former Birmingham centre-back Dann as Steve Kean plumped for a 4-5-1 formation led by striker David Goodwillie.
The match started at quite a tempo although it took eight minutes for either side to eke out an opportunity, with Fulham's Steve Sidwell blazing wide inside the 18-yard box.
While the home side were enjoying slightly more of the possession in the opening exchanges, Rovers looked dangerous on the break.
Rochina twisted and turned on the edge of the box before forcing Schwarzer to save, before Goodwillie came close with an audacious overhead kick that flew just over the crossbar.
The Cottagers saw Aaron Hughes forced off with a knock in the 20th minute and their frustrations increased further moments later when Webb waved away claims that Zamora was upended by Salgado in the box.
Steven N'Zonzi came close with a 35-yard drive at the other end and Blackburn took the lead with a moment of genius from Rochina in the 32nd minute.
The former Barcelona starlet was found by Hoilett on the edge of the box and unleashed an exquisite left-footed drive that went in off the underside of the bar.
The home faithful were audibly irked by the goal and Fulham's indifferent performance, but only had to wait six minutes for an equaliser.
Much like Rochina's goal, Zamora scored out of the blue after ghosting in from the right flank and placing a shot past Paul Robinson from an awkward angle.
Both sides made changes at half-time, with Martin Olsson coming on for Christopher Samba due to a back injury and Mousa Dembele replacing Ruiz after an ineffective debut.
Aside from a tame Mauro Formica effort, neither side was able to produce a real opening at the start of the second period.
Fulham continued to struggle in their attempts to break down Blackburn's defence-oriented line-up, while the visitors were relying on counter-attacks.
Hoilett was a rare shining light on a miserable afternoon in west London and only a last-ditch tackle from Sidwell prevented him from getting away a shot in the 57th minute.
The Cottagers had their own chance to score seconds later but heroic defending from Gael Givet prevented Zamora tapping in John Arne Riise's cross.
The game descended into a sloppy affair as rain began to hammer down at Craven Cottage, with neither side able to dominate play.
Fulham twice came close through Clint Dempsey, who had Robinson and Gael Givet to thank for thwarting the United States international.
Blackburn had a chance of their own through lone striker Goodwillie with six minutes remaining, before Dempsey again came close.The match ended in unsavoury fashion after Schwarzer and Hoilett clashed heads in stoppage time, with the latter forced off the field on a stretcher wearing a neck brace.
|Fulham||Team Statistics||Blackburn Rovers|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|3||Shots on Target||3|
|5||Shots off Target||5|
Barclays Premier League
|13||West Ham United||4||4|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||4||3|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||4||2|