Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday March 9 2008
Fulham travelled to Ewood Park desperate to secure three points.
With ten games left to secure their Premier League survival, Blackburn would have been the ideal opportunity to end the dreaded away run of thirty Premier League games without a win.
Unfortunately, it was not to be, however we did return with a very creditable draw. However, with Reading winning, our spirits were slightly dampened.
For the game, Hodgson chose to recall Kasey Keller relegating Anti Niemi to the subs bench. Also back in favour were Clint Dempsey, surprisingly dropped last weekend and Leon Andreasen, available again after serving a one game suspension.
With a sprinkling of Fulham supporters having ventured to the north-west and the home support relatively quiet, it was never going to be the most atmospheric of fixtures.
Unfortunately, the fare served up by both sides in the first half was, to put it bluntly, dire. Hodgson went with one up front and stifled Blackburn with a five man midfield.
Sadly, with our attacking restrictions severely limited, it was going to take something like a set piece to give us any vital breakthrough.
In fact, to be honest, the game only got kick-started when Mark Hughes, after fifty six minutes, took a brave and bold move by throwing on two more attacking players.
The move was to pay almost instant dividends with the home side taking the lead minutes later through a controversial goal.
Jason Roberts slung over a cross and Morten Gamst Pedersen appeared to haul Paul Stalteri to the ground before lunging in and heading the ball past Keller.
Stalteri was livid but despite chasing the referee, he knew the decision, however much he protested, was never going to be reversed.
The goal saw Hodgson switch to 4-4-2 throwing Brian McBride into the fray and gradually Fulham began to push Blackburn back.
Unfortunately, it didn`t look as if that equaliser was going to come, that was until Samba was penalised for dangerous play when his foot was clearly too high when challenging Eddie Johnson.
The ball was in the perfect place for Jimmy Bullard to execute one of his trademark free-kicks. Jimmy took tow steps and clipped the ball past a bewildered Brad Freidel to give us that vital point.
Whether it`ll contribute enough to our survival remains to be seen.
Date:Sunday March 9 2008
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