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Rovers 2 Fulham 1


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Now that was the type of entertainment that Rovers supporters have been longing to see at Ewood Park for the last two years. After last weeks display at West Ham, although this was basically the same team, the display and performance was unrecognisable, topped by two goals that were capable of winning the goal of the season accolade.

With Rovers kicking towards the Darwen End the Rovers supporters were entertained by an exhibition of fast flowing attacking play, with Tugay orchestrating the play with long cross field passes. Who said 4-5-1 was a boring defensive tactic, with Savage and Reid chasing down and hassling in midfield and Tugay’s vision, Emerton and Pedersen where able to break forward on the flanks to take advantage of good hold up play by Kuqi, to threaten the Fulham defence at will.

Prior to Rovers first goal, there was a slight scare when Friedel fumbled a Boa Morte shot, but that was quickly forgotten when Rovers scored. In a fast flowing move out of defence the ball was laid out to Kuqi on the right hand wing, who out paced the Fulham defence to wip in a Ripley style cross across the box to Pedersen running in from the left flank. With the Norwegian international in full flight he hit the ball first time with his left foot past the helpless Fulham keeper, to score one of the best goals scored at Ewood for many a year and a worthy contender for goal of the season.

With Rovers in total command there was a further scare towards the end of the first half when Friedel’s brilliance stopped Diop scoring with a header.

Rovers were caught napping as Fulham came out for the second half with a bit more bite and confidence resulting in an goal early in the second half, when McBride got in front of Todd, to glance a header past Friedel. Yes once again some sloppy schoolboy defending had infected the Rovers defence, however, this was short lived as Rovers once again took command to control the game, with a string of corners in Rovers favour. Warner in the Fulham goalmouth was kept the busier of the two keeper as he managed to scoop a Pedersen in swinging corner out from the underside of his cross bar. Warner’s luck wasn’t to last as Rovers implemented a training ground move. Pedersen changed his tactics of in swinging corners towards the cross bar by laying the ball out from the left right hand corner to Tugay unmarked on the left of the penalty box. The majestic unmarked, Tugay hit the ball first time on the volley, like a missile through the Fulham defence passed a motionless Warner and a Fulham defender on the line who must be more than pleased that he didn’t attempt to head clear.

With Rovers now full of confidence they attacked at will, with Emerton and full back Lucas Neill coming close on two occasions, the first after a dribbling run through the defence saw his shot go over the bar and secondly a long rang shot that hit the underside of the cross bar.

With Rovers 2-1 up and playing some entertaining attacking football, a sarcastic chant of 2-1 to the Bully Boys, erupted from the Blackburn End, before the team were deservedly applauded of the Park.

The only disappointment of the afternoon was the gate of just under, 17,000. However with a few more performances of that nature Rovers should quickly see the return of some disillusioned supporters, who have had to put up with some dire displays in recent times.

Rovers: Friedel, Neill, Todd, Nelsen, Matteo, Tugay, Emerton (Flitcroft 90), Savage, Reid, Pedersen, Kuqi.

Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Gresko, Gallagher, Johnson.

Booked: Reid, Savage.

Goals: Pedersen 15, Tugay 71.

Fulham: Warner, Volz, Knight, Rehman, Niclas Jensen, Malbranque, Diop, Claus Jensen, Boa Morte, McBride (Helguson 81), Radzinski (John 81).

Subs Not Used: Batista, Elrich, Leacock.

Booked: Diop, John.

Goals: McBride 49.

Att: 16,953

Ref: H Webb

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