Fulham see off Rovers
By Peter ORourke. Last Updated: 17/12/05 4:55pm
Fulham made it four wins in a row at Craven Cottage with a 2-1 success over Blackburn Rovers.
First half goals from returning duo Papa Bouba Diop and Luis Boa Morte were enough to give Fulham all three points although they were made to sweat for the victory after a late own goal from Zat Knight.
Fulham started brightly and Diop saw a shot deflected just wide on ten minutes after Lucas Neill had carelessly given the ball away.
The home side came close to breaking the deadlock on 21 minutes when Boa Morte picked out Collins John inside the box with a fine cross, but the Dutchman's header was superbly tipped over the crossbar by Brad Friedel.
Robbie Savage had Blackburn's first serious shot at goal on 25 minutes when he fired a free kick from the edge of the box over the top.
John was forced off on 35 minutes with Heidar Helguson replacing him in attack.
Brett Emerton went close to scoring on 39 minutes when Paul Dickov played him in down the right, but his shot was kept out by Mark Crossley.
Blackburn really should have opened the scoring seconds later when David Bentley stood up a fine cross for the unmarked Emerton six yards out, but the Australian with the goal at his mercy somehow headed his effort wide of the target.
Friedel had a lucky escape on 41 minutes when he dropped a long ball from Dean Leacock under pressure from Helguson, but he recovered to block Brian McBride's shot after the ball dropped to the American striker.
Morten Gamst Pedersen wasted a good opening a minute before half time when he flashed a shot over the top after Knight's headed clearance fell invitingly to him on the edge of the box.
Fulham made the breakthrough right on the stroke of half time when Diop bundled Boa Morte's in-swinging free kick past Friedel.
The home side suffered a blow four minutes after the break when the influential Diop limped off with an injury and he had to be replaced by Sylvain Legwinski.
Fulham doubled their lead on 52 minutes through Boa Morte after a fine flowing move.
McBride sent Helguson scampering down the right and he cut the ball back for Boa Morte who kept his composure before sweeping his right-footed shot past Friedel.
Blackburn were inches away from pulling a goal back on 57 minutes when Gamst Pedersen saw his free kick from the edge of the box thump off the crossbar.
The visitors were infuriated on the hour mark when Dickov ran clear on goal only to be pulled up with a late offside flag and Bentley was booked for his protests.
Things threatened to turn ugly when Dickov and Knight were both booked in quick succession and Neill was lucky to escape a caution after clattering into Boa Morte.
Blackburn's frustrations were getting the better of them and Tugay and Neill were both booked in the last five minutes as tempers boiled over.
Two Rovers substitutes David Thompson and Shefki Kuqi combined to create a chance on 86 minutes, but Thompson's volley was deflected wide by Knight.
Rovers were handed a lifeline in the final minute when Knight headed Dickov's cross into his own net and in the dying seconds Dickov saw a dangerous cross just fly wide of the post.
Dickov was then denied an equaliser when Crossley kept out his shot as Blackburn threw everything into attack, but Fulham held on to take all three points and climb further away from trouble at the wrong end of the table.
|Fulham||Team Name||Blackburn Rovers|
|4||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||3|
|2||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||6|
|13||Total Fouls Conceded||13|
Barclays Premier League
|5||West Ham United||18||31|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||18||17|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||18||17|