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Fulham 3 Rovers 4


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In the latest must-win encounter for freefalling Rovers against Leeds, Souness saw his big names again flop, leading to boos and jeers at the final whistle echoing around Ewood Park which is fast becoming a millstone to the club's hopes of survival.

2003-04 season was one of those years for Rovers - a slow start, a few key injuries, some dodgy defending - and all too soon we were at the wrong end of the table. With only a month of the season to play, we'd just suffered three straight defeats. In fact, I think we may even have been in the relegation zone with Leicester and Wolves, or maybe a place above. At any rate, we needed a win to give us some confidence - the pundits were giving us the usual 'too good to go down?' questions (apart from Lawro, he had probably already relegated us). Next up was a midweek trip to Loftus Road, the temporary home of Fulham.

I'd never been there before, but turned up with my brother expecting a scrappy dull game, hopeful that we might get a win (I'm a Rovers optimist rather than a Rovers pessimist). The away part was under a shed-type stand behind one goal, and there were probably 300-400 Blackburn fans there, out of a sparse 14,000 crowd. We soon had something to cheer, as a majestic long diagonal pass from Tugay ( :D ) found Andy Cole, and he thumped it past Edwin van der Sar. I didn't really see it, as I was watching Souness berate the officials, but I did see Fulham equalise two minutes later, a short range tap in after some goalmouth confusion from our defence.

It soon got worse, as right on halftime Collins John scored his second sending us in 2-1 down, and no doubt Souness stripped the paint off the dressing room walls. But after halftime and a plastic cup of appalling tea, Jonathan Douglas scored for us - his first and only for Rovers - to put us level. Just a couple of minutes later, we got a free kick 25yds from the goal were were all behind. Tugay and Amoruso were standing over it, and I turned to my brother and said "It can't be Amoruso. He's ****ing rubbish at free kic.." in the same instant, Amoruso smashed the ball into the top corner of the net - cue lots of jumping around. 3-2 to Rovers.

However, this is Blackburn, and a incredible long run by Louise Boa Morte - I think he went 3/4 of the pitch - ended with him sliding one past Friedel and into the corner of the far goal, pulling Fulham back level at 3-3. There was still half an hour to go, but anything could have happened. Thankfully, super Johnny Stead picked up the ball after a defensive error by Zat Knight, and belted one past a despairing van der Sar fifteen minutes later to put us up 4-3, and the small band of Rovers fans went daft once again. Some last-ditch defending, and we held out for the win - probably one of the best games of football I've seen, certainly one of the best Rovers games. Afterwards I went to the toilet and realised while I was drying my hands that they were still shaking. Another fan was standing there with a dazed look, blew out his cheeks and said simply "****ing hell." "Yeah," I replied.

Graeme Souness's post match comments - "It was a big win for us, in a cracking game of football. We'll see how important it was at the end of the season. I don't know if it will ease our nerves, but I hope it gives us the confidence to get into safety zone." As it was, we recovered brilliantly and went on something of a run, winning a few of our final games and eventually finishing 15th on 44pts in the year Arsenal went the entire season undefeated.

BRFC - Friedel, Neill, Amoruso, Short, Gresko, Andresen, Flitcroft, Tugay, Douglas, Cole, Stead.

Fulham - Van der Sar, Volz, Djetou, Goma, Bocanegra, Davis, Legwinski, Knight, Malbranque, John, Boa Morte.

Match Report

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i was working a late shift till around 2am the night of the game so i taped it.

switched the mobile off all night so nobody could be a spoiler.

got home, put the tape on and cracked open a few cans.

2-1 down at half time and it was all doom and gloom then between 3 and 4am the amount of jumping, shouting and going wild must of woken the whole neighborhood up, what a match in the 2nd half.

i still have the tape. what a classic :brfc:

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I remember working that day and planning to go to the match afterwards. However, I ran out of time and had to watch it on Sky Sports. I was so disapointed that I couldn't be there and because it was such a good match, but at least I got to see it in some capacity. I remember my girlfriend at the time getting very upset for me ignoring her all night.

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probably one of the best games of football I've seen, certainly one of the best Rovers games.

Thankyou for that reminder. This is arguably my favourite Rovers games that I have attended.

After the defeat by Leeds (who had found form whereas we were on a downwards slide), it left us level on points with both them and Portsmouth. Leeds were still in the bottom 3 but only by goal difference.

At half time, having squandered our lead, I remember feeling totally miserable and was mentally preparing myself for relegation (I discovered afterwards that I'd been captured by the Sky cameras at half time looking totally depressed).

Talk about a game of two halves though! I must admit, after the Stead goal, I had almost lost track of the score briefly, as had the guy sitting next to me (we couldn't see the score board, which was on the front of the stand above us). I knew we were ahead and so it finished. 4-3, three very valuable points, we went mental! :D

It took about a week for the euphoria of that match to die down (plus Leeds lost 5-0 to Arsenal in their next game). It still delights me to think about it.

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The only live Rovers game I've ever seen. Getting chills just reading the re-cap.

What a cracking night it was.

I've rarely felt as proud to be a Rovers fan, for various reasons. Our support was tremendous, the fight the team showed was unbelievable and we pulled the result out with no little amount of skill and ability.

I enjoyed that whole season trememndously - although thats easy to say in hindsight!

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  • 4 months later...

Just had another look at the video on youtube... I remember the goals as if they were scored yesterday and I even remember the fan zone guys too! Cole and Boa Morte's goals were superb, especially Boa Morte's. I think that result could have been very different if it weren't for Mark Crossley - He was at fault for three of our goals there.

Edited by tcj_jones
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This one lives long in the memory, it was a very strange day... my brother, cousin and myself travelled down in the car for this one...

We arrived late for the game... heavy traffic on the M1 then drove round in circles trying to find Loftus Road. I decided to go into a pub for directions and saw Cole score the first goal on a big screen. In the end we abandoned the car and got a taxi eventually arriving at the ground 10mins before half time.

Once in the ground after waiting for someone to let us in I had the then other half giving me grief on the phone for going all the way to london instead of going to see her. The phone was then promptly switched off at half time and we enjoyed the 2nd half.

After the final whistle we lost my young brother outside the ground and didnt find him for about half an hour!

The joys of being a football fan eh?!

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Best Rovers game I've ever seen live.

Just to add to what's already been mentioned; remember Souness' tactical gamble paying off, dropping Reid and Emerton who were playing as wide men and playing 4 central midfielders as he bought in the previously (and in future) unheralded Andresen and Douglas. And Zat Knight getting away with GBH on Jon Stead early on, can't remember if it was before or after the first Rovers goal.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has such fond memories of this match. IMO it was the most thrilling rollercoaster of a Rovers game this decade. I felt like I had aged 10 years in 90 minutes by the end of it.

In fact, it is the second most amazing football match I have witnessed live in my life .... second only to Real Madrid 2 Barcelona 2 at the Bernabeau Stadium. THAT'S how good it was.

I remember meeting my dad at the train station near Loftus Road (was it a mid-weeker? I think so). It was the first away match he'd been to in London - and what a game to choose!

From memory we were on a truly horrible run of form. I believe we had lost three matches on the spin and had been routed 4-0 by Liverpool at Anfield. I remember having that horrible feeling in my gut that if we lost that game to Fulham we would be relegated. It was as simple as that.

We got off to a great start with a phenomenal raking pass by Tugay that Cole paggered into the net (I think it ended a particularly long goal drought for him). However, by half time it had all gone predictably t*ts up and I remember seriously contemplating another season in the Championship over my half-time brew.

As the second half got underway I remember my dad saying, "Souey must have torn a new arsehole for this lot, look at Tugay go!" And it was true, the Turk was steaming into every challenge and chasing the ball down all across the park like a man possessed. I'd never seen him compete that aggressively before or since.

The score was eventually tied at 3-3 and my fingernails were bitten raw, but a draw STILL wasn't good enough. We simply HAD to win. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and it had to be Steadinho to score the winner. He thrappled the ball home with a wonderful half volley.

I remember he came and stood right in front of us away fans, clenched his fists by his side and just screamed in pure ecstasy at the Rovers faithful. I'll always remember the look of pure euphoria on Stead's face - in that moment I came as close as I ever will to understanding just how unbelievably brilliant it must feel to score such a vital goal.

The final 15 minutes or so seemed to last an agonising eternity, but we held out. There was an explosion of pent-up relief as the ref finally blew up. Adrenaline was buzzing around my body and I remember being unable to get to sleep until about 3am that night.

Just writing about it now has got me pumped up!

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