Two goals from Damien Duff and a late penalty from Bobby Zamora ensured three points for the Whites at Craven Cottage in a hard-fought win over a determined Blackburn side.
Jason Roberts stung the palms of Mark Schwarzer early on after the former Bristol Rovers man turned past Aaron Hughes in the area to give Fulham’s goalkeeper his first test of the afternoon. The Australian keeper produced a routine stop.
Fulham soon started to find their rhythm and a forceful run from Clint Dempsey set up a half-chance for the lively Andrew Johnson who was denied a sight of goal by some strong defending from Grant Hanley. Johnson, playing right on Blackburn’s defensive line, was certainly stretching the Rovers defence.
Johnson was seeing a lot of the ball early on and a fine cross from Damien Duff on 15 minutes was cleverly met by Johnson at the near post, unfortunately the Fulham striker was unable to find the target from the narrowest of angles.
Duff and Johnson linked up well again on 22 minutes, with Johnson feeding the ball out to Duff who, in turn, produced a good cross for Johnson which was bravely headed away by Hanley.
Blackburn responded with their own spell of pressure and Mark Schwarzer was twice called upon to produce crucial saves.
Dickson Etuhu almost wrong-footed Paul Robinson on 31 minutes when the Fulham midfielder was allowed to turn in the Blackburn area and strike a low effort from eight yards.
Fulham capped off a fine spell of pressure with a goal on 37 minutes from the in-form Damien Duff. The Republic of Ireland winger, who scored in Fulham’s previous match against Manchester City, made it two goals in two games with a powerful left-footed shot that carried too much pace for Robinson.
But Blackburn equalised in fortuitous circumstances in first-half injury time after a Grant Hanley chip deflected off the head of Brede Hangeland and sailed past Mark Schwarzer, who was left totally wrong footed.
Christopher Samba almost started the second-half with an own-goal after a less than convincing clearance sliced off the outside of his boot and clipped the top of the bar. The ball fell to Aaron Hughes from the resulting corner but the Fulham centre-back volleyed over from close range.
A lively run from Carlos Salcido had the Fulham fans on their feet as Fulham turned the screw. Damien Duff’s low cross somehow managed to find its way across the edge of the six yard box without a Fulham touch and Duff subsequent corner kick evaded both Hangeland and Hughes.
The Blackburn goal was certainly leading a charmed life but Rovers could easily have taken the lean on 55 minutes, were it not for an excellent defensive header from Chris Baird.
Damien Duff put Fulham back in the lead on 58 minutes after he collected the ball on the edge of the area from Mousa Dembele beat Robinson at his near post with a crisp low shot.
Chris Baird came to Fulham’s rescue again when Mame Biram Diouf’s header looked to be dropping into the net but the Northern Ireland international rose well on the line to head over the bar.
Rovers were soon back on level terms on 65 minutes when Jason Roberts played the ball back into the path of David Hoillet after some good close control on the by-line. Hoillet took the ball on his chest and struck a firm volley past Schwarzer.
Danny Murphy made way for Bobby Zamora on 70 minutes. The change resulted in Clint Dempsey moving into central midfield and Mousa Dembele taking up position on the left wing. Mark Hughes made clear his intent on coming away from the game with more than just a point when his replaced Mousa Dembele with Gael Kakuta on 77 minutes.
Blackburn were not without attacking threat however, just prior to Kakuta’s introduction the Whites had been stretched at the back by a quick Rovers counter-attack.
With Fulham in the ascendancy, the Whites were awarded a penalty after Aaron Hughes was fouled in the penalty area by Hanley on 88 minutes. Bobby Zamora stepped up and slammed the ball past Robinson to win the game for Fulham.
With Blackburn tempers fraying late on, the substituted Gael Givet was shown a red card after the final whistle.