Goals from Chris David, Omri Altman and Alex Smith saw Fulham’s Under-21s defeat 10-man Blackburn Rovers 3-1 at Ewood Park on Friday evening to seal a third successive win.
On a freezing night in Lancashire, Fulham went in front after just five minutes when Dutchman David collected Ronny Minkwitz’s fine pass before curling a shot home.
Cauley Woodrow then saw an effort disallowed for offside, before Altman fired over after robbing Will Beesley of possession.
Just after the half-hour mark, Woodrow saw a shot tipped onto the crossbar after meeting David’s cross, but it was 2-0 to Fulham on 38 minutes when Altman headed home Sean Kavanagh’s delivery.
Boumesca Tue Na Bangna replaced Dino Islamovic at half-time and Rovers were dealt a further blow on the hour mark when Fabio Nunes was shown a second yellow card followed by a red. He had been booked in the first half for failing to retreat at a free-kick and was issued a second yellow for a needless challenge.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Rovers pulled a goal back on 63 minutes when a Robbie Cotton free-kick was headed home at the back post by Micah Evans.
The Whites saw a chance to regain their two-goal advantage thwarted 10 minutes later by the woodwork when Charles Banya slammed a shot against the post. Smith then blazed over on 82 minutes with just Rovers keeper Christopher Dilo to beat.
At the other end, Fulham somehow survived when a Cotton corner was met by Jordan Slew who saw his shot cleared off the line, with Kellen Daly then seeing an effort cannon back off the crossbar before the Whites scrambled the ball to safety.
With the game entering added time, Fulham made sure of the points when Smith finished emphatically to end any hopes of a Blackburn comeback.
Under-21s Manager Kit Symons told fulhamfc.com: “I’m delighted with the win. It’s three on the spin now. We scored three really good goals as well, the quality was excellent. To be honest, we didn’t play as well as we did in the previous two wins against Aston Villa and Chelsea. I thought we passed the ball better in those games and played at a better tempo.
“But we worked very hard defensively and the closing and pressing was good. On the ball, some of our passing wasn’t as slick as it has been in previous weeks, but we’re still very pleased with the win.
“It was another nice pitch and another nice stadium and while you’re not always going to play silky soccer in every game, we didn’t pass it as well as we could. We still deserved the win, though.”
Fulham are next in action on Thursday (1pm) when they host Rovers at Motspur Park, with Symons adding: “It will be a tough game. They’re a strong, hard-working team. Whether it will pan out in a similar way, you never quite know.”
Fulham: Joronen, Christensen, Kavanagh, Minkwitz, Athurworrey, Grimmer, David, Altman, Woodrow, Islamovic, Smith.