Saturday 20 September 2008, 3:00pm at Ewood Park, Blackburn
Barclays Premier League
Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers
1
Derbyshire 84'
Fulham FC
Fulham
0
A late goal from substitute Matt Derbyshire handed Blackburn the win in a scrappy encounter at Ewood Park. The Whites created a number of half-chances with Bobby Zamora looking dangerous in the air and Andy Johnson going close with a good second half effort but the home side netted the crucial strike on 84 minutes.

84' Goal

Matt Derbyshire

26' Yellow Card

Keith Andrews Card was given for a foul

32' Yellow Card

Brett Emerton Card was given for a foul

60' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Kerimoglou Tugay
Off:Morten Gamst Pedersen

65' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Carlos Villanueva
Off:Jason Roberts

75' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Matt Derbyshire
Off:Keith Treacy

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Fulham named an unchanged after last weekend's impressive win over Bolton Wanderers as they went in pursuit of their first away with of the season.

 The Whites were first to create an opportunity on goal when the ball was worked wide to Simon Davies inside the Blackburn penalty area. The Fulham winger steadied himself before clipping in a low cross which Andy Johnson turned towards goal – only to be thwarted by a stunning one-handed save from Paul Robinson. The former Spurs goalkeeper did well to thrust a hand up and parry the ball over for a corner. 

Fulham were looking intent on keeping the ball on the floor and maintaining a firm grip on the pace of the game. Indeed, the home supporters were quite forthright in showing their disapproval of their side's lack of early possession.

 The home side tested Mark Schwarzer's reflexes early on when a long ball up to the edge of Fulham's box bounced invitingly for Keith Andrews to volley just wide of Schwarzer's right hand post.

 Blackburn started growing in confidence as the first half progressed and came close to opening the scoring in the 15th minute when a dangerous Pedersen free kick from the left was helped across the face of the six yard box with Jason Roberts waiting. The ball thankfully skimmed through without any Rovers intervention.

 This was certainly a game of fine margins with both sides playing to similar formations and maintaining a similar shape when not in possession. However, in attack, the home side was looking to play a more direct style – hoping to find the spaces in behind Fulham's fullbacks and trying to bypass Fulham's midfield area whereas the Whites were more content to take their time on the ball.

 Jimmy Bullard was on the receiving end of a wild challenge from Rovers midfielder Keith Andrews on the 28 hour mark – the challenge caught Bullard high on the left leg and resulted in the Fulham midfielder requiring a lengthy spell of treatment before resuming. A few minute later, Bullard's progress was halted by another brutal tackle, this time from Brett Emerton, earning another yellow card. 

Danny Murphy clipped the resulting free kick to the back post, where Bobby Zamora was on hand to power a diving header just over. The action quickly swung to the other edge where space opened up on the edge of Fulham's area and Roque Santa Cruz' fiercely driven effort was blocked by Schwarzer.

 The first half finished with a real flurry of chances as a Bullard free kick on 38 minutes found Zamora in the area who headed over.

 Brett Emerton dispossessed Danny Murphy in the 38th minute and made his way toward the Fulham back line, shrugging off Murphy's attempt to win the ball back, Emerton cut back on his right foot and tried to place his shot past Schwarzer. The ball had the keeper beaten but his effort didn't have enough curl to avoid hitting the post. 

Fulham started the second half looking to pressure Rovers higher up the pitch in an effort to reduce the quality of their balls up to the front men. Both Simon Davies and Zoltan Gera were more aggressive in their defending early on.

 The opening exchanges of the second half saw a sprinkling of niggly tackles occur throughout the centre of the park. Rovers were once more trying to win the right to play their game – however Fulham were unyielding in their tenacity and dedication to play the ball on the ground. The passing approach was reaping greater dividends in the second half as Fulham were successfully managing to keep Rovers back in their half. Another Bobby Zamora header came close to giving Fulham the lead when he found space in the box and tried to drop a header over Robinson – unfortunately it went just over and landed on the roof of the net.

 Andy Johnson had a golden opportunity to net his 100th league goal when he latched on to a pass and tried to hit a low shot and catch Robinson off guard. The goalkeeper showed good reactions to get down and palm the ball wide. 

A brace of substitutions for Rovers seemed to swing the momentum back towards Paul Ince's side, with the addition of Carlos Villanueva having a marked effect. Christopher Samba was also playing an influential role in the centre of the home side's defence, getting his head to a number of important balls. 

As the match entered the final ten minutes Fulham found themselves making an increasing number of last-ditch tackles as Rovers' attacking pair of Derbyshire and Villanueva were starting to find the gaps. 

Matt Derbyshire opened the scoring in the 84th minute after Roque Santa Cruz nodded the ball back to the substitute who finished past Schwarzer. The Whites tried in vain to get back on level terms but they were unable to test the Rovers back line.

 

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 20 September 2008
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Ewood Park, Blackburn
Attendance: 19,398

Referee: Lee Probert

Blackburn Rovers

Line-up: Robinson; Simpson, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock; Pedersen (Tugay 60'), Emerton, Andrews, Treacy (Derbyshire 75'); Roberts (Villanueva 65'), Santa Cruz

Unused substitutes: Brown, Ooijer, Mokoena, Benni McCarthy

Fulham

Line-up: Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky; Davies, Murphy, Bullard, Gera; Zamora, Johnson

Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Stoor, Kallio, Teymourian, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Nevland, Dempsey

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Liverpool 5 11
2 Chelsea 4 10
3 Arsenal 4 9
4 West Ham United 5 9
5 Aston Villa 4 7
6 Sunderland 5 7
7 Hull City 4 7
8 Blackburn Rovers 5 7
9 Manchester City 4 6
10 Fulham 4 6
11 Portsmouth 4 6
12 Everton 4 6
13 Middlesbrough 5 6
14 Wigan Athletic 4 4
15 Bolton Wanderers 4 4
16 Manchester United 3 4
17 West Bromwich Albion 4 4
18 Stoke City 5 4
19 Newcastle United 5 4
20 Tottenham Hotspur 4 1
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2)
  • 1Paul Robinson
  • 22Danny Simpson
  • 4Christopher Samba
  • 6Ryan Nelsen
  • 3Stephen Warnock
  • 12Morten Gamst Pedersen
  • 7Brett Emerton
  • 17Keith Andrews
  • 24Keith Treacy
  • 30Jason Roberts
  • 9Roque Santa Cruz
Substitutes
  • 32Jason Brown
  • 2André Ooijer
  • 5Kerimoglou Tugay
  • 15Aaron Mokoena
  • 19Carlos Villanueva
  • 10Benni McCarthy
  • 27Matt Derbyshire
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 4John Pantsil
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 3Paul Konchesky
  • 25Simon Davies
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 21Jimmy Bullard
  • 11Zoltán Gera
  • 9Bobby Zamora
  • 8Andrew Johnson
Substitutes
  • 19Pascal Zuberbühler
  • 22Fredrik Stoor
  • 33Toni Kallio
  • 6Andranik Teymourian
  • 7Seol Ki-Hyeon
  • 10Erik Nevland
  • 23Clint Dempsey