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Fulham 2 Rovers 1


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Match Report by Big A

An odd game really, if we'd played like we did for the last half hour we'd have won easily, as it was we had more than enough chances. However on the basis of the first hour we didn't deserve anything though Fulham were little better for the most part.

The first half was poor all round, we started perhaps slightly the better and Emerton missed a sitter when he headed wide in front of an opener goal. We were struggling to break down Fulham's defence especially with Bentley and Dickov up front. There was little physical presence (Knight easily contained Dickov) and for all the possesion we had we couldn't create anything. However defensively we looked shaky, Collins John and Radzinski both nearly scored when we failed to deal with long balls and the Fulham goal right before the end of the half was poor too. Boa Morte floated in a free kick and Todd allowed Bouba Diop to get in front of him far too easily to score.

The second half started in a similar vein and Fulham again exposed our poor defending to score a pretty decent goal after some good passing football. Boa Morte with an excellent finish from Helgusson's cross. Shortly afterwards Kuqi appeared and from then on we were much better and controlled the game. Kuqi and Dickov were both clean through before being stopped by late offside flags, MGP's free kick hit the bar amongst numerous other attempts.

Kuqi caused problems as did Thompson when he came on for possibly injured Pedersen. However once again we struggled to carve out clear cut openings and we were reduced to rather more hopeful efforts. It was fitting that the goal was an own goal, Knight kindly nodding in Dickov's cross, as it seemed that Rovers couldn't put the ball in the net at all. Dickov then shot just wide and forced a decent save from Crossley as Rovers tried to provide an equaliser.

The game was pretty physical, Neill's challenge (which wasn't as bad as MOTD made out imo) was just one of several pretty poor challenges. Knight and Dickov both made nasty challenges on each other and Boa Morte did his usual best to wind up everyone and everything. If Kuqi had started things could have been very different however the defence was worryingly insecure. Neill did well enough, especially going forward, but Todd, Zura and Gray didn't impress.

Emerton did ok without doing anything special while Tugay and MGP were in and out of the game rather. I thought Savage was one of our best players today, he did extremely well in midfield up against Diop and then Legwinski.

Up front Dickov ran his heart out, causing problems for Fulham especially after Kuqi's arrival. Beforehand he hadn't had much service but looked better than Bentley who did much better when he switched to the right wing. I'd play him in front of Emerton next match, his skilful technique was more suited to the wing than the centre forward role where he was out muscled.

The two substitutes Kuqi and Thompson both made an impact, Kuqi caused a lot of problems for Fulham as you'll have gathered though at times didn't quite have the ability to capitalise while Thompson added energy and drive as Rovers pushed forward in the last fifteen minutes.

Bellamy could have made a big difference today I feel, with him playing we'd have made and converted more chances.

Fulham: Crossley, Leacock, Knight, Goma, Rosenior, Radzinski, Diop (Legwinski 49), Christanval, Boa Morte (Elrich 90), McBride, John (Helguson 35).

Subs Not Used: Warner, Pearce.

Booked: Helguson, Knight, Radzinski, McBride.

Goals: Diop 45, Boa Morte 52.

Rovers: Friedel, Neill, Khizanishvili, Todd, Gray, Emerton (Kuqi 57), Tugay, Savage, Pedersen (Thompson 76), Bentley, Dickov.

Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Reid, Mokoena.

Booked: Bentley, Dickov, Tugay, Neill.

Goals: Knight 90 og.

Att: 20,138.

Ref: M Clattenburg

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