Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday September 11 2011
Martin Jol will probably rue the fact that this was more two points lost than a point won!
Martin Jol, as expected, gave the £10 million new-boy, Ruiz, his debut, Zamora returned from injury whilst the other recent buys of Grygera, Kasami and Gecov had to be content with a place on the bench. John Arne Riise started at left back after confirming his fitness sin a recent international.
After a minutes silence, immaculately observed, for the victims of 9/11 ten years ago it was Blackburn who got the action underway.
The half started slowly with only a mazy run from Clint Dempsey to get the crowd buzzing in the first eight minutes. Fortunately, Damien Duff was soon to become prominent and one cross in saw Steve Sidwell flash a volley well wide.
Some lapse defending though allowed three Blackburn players to slip through the offside trap and Rochina should have hit the ball first time but delayed and saw Mark Schwarzer pull off a comfortable save. The visitors were having a decent spell and an overhead kick from Goodwillie flashed wide.
With nineteen minutes completed Aaron Hughes was forced to limp off to be replaced by Stephen Kelly. Zamora was presented with a decent chance when Dann, amazingly squared the ball to him, Zamora though, eventually, got crowded out and the chance was gone.
Duff, hugging the right flank was causing Blackburn problems but the visitors were still looking dangerous. Nzonzi flashed a long range shot wide before, with thirty-two minute splayed, they went ahead.
Ruiz, making his debut, lost possession and when Senderos failed to clear the ball was worked back to Rochina who fired home, from outside the area, off of the crossbar.
Six minutes later though Fulham were level with the goal coming down the right flank that Duff had used well in the first half. Zamora burst into the box and curled a lovely left-footed effort past Robinson and into the net.
As half time approached Dempsey was fouled, in a central position, thirty yards out. Taking time to work the free kick well, Murphy rolled the ball to Riise but his shot slammed into the wall.
Half Time - Fulham 1 Blackburn 1
Martin Jol made one change at half time introducing Moussa Dembele for Bryan Ruiz, Fulham had an early chance when Duff blazed a shot we wide from an acute angle before Formica, in acres of space for Blackburn, shot straight at Schwarzer.
Fulham continued to apply the pressure and forced three corners in pretty quick succession, all of which came to nothing. Riise saw another free kick hit the wall, after Dembele had been fouled and Robinson produced a decent save to deprive Murphy as he jinked his way into the box and went for the top corner.
Zamora won another free kick, in a dangerous place, but this time it was Zamora who hit the wall with the free kick. Andrew Johnson was introduced in place of Riise and Johnson could have made an immediate impact but was crowded out.
Another corner was won and Hangeland headed wide. Blackburn, pushing forward for a winner, saw Goodwillie drift a shot just past the far post. With three minutes to play, both sides still had a chance for one further effort. Demspey saw a twenty yard curler saved by Robinson before an error by Kelly saw a horrible collision between Schwarzer and Hoillet.
Hoillet, after a lengthy spell of treatment, was carried away on a stretcher, sad way for an entertaining game to end.
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Date:Sunday September 11 2011
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