Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday November 25 2007
In a game of two halves, Fulham and Blackburn shared the spoils at Craven Cottage.
Lawrie Sanchez surprised a few people with his team selection today. A striking partnership of Healy and Kuqi had seemed to be the way forward in recent weeks but for the visit of Blackburn he chose to revert to the pairing of Dempsey and Kamara. In the defence, Konchesky returned having served his suspension. For Blackburn, Robbie Savage, the perennial pantomime villain, had to be content with a place on the bench.
The first half whilst brimming with industry failed to set Craven Cottage alight. In fact, an early injury to Benni McCarthy (in the 4th minute) disrupted proceedings to such an effect it took until stoppage time for the game to really open up.
Until then we had to be content with one glorious chance for Kamara that came to nothing as Friedel stood firm to deny him as he raced on to a great through ball whilst Blackburn had one glorious cross from Warnock to look back on, a cross that evaded everyone in the six yard box.
However, with the teams playing out the four minutes of the stoppage time allowed after McCarthy had injured his knee in a collision with Stefanovic, chances began to be created.
Bentley found Robert sin the box but he couldn`t get the ball out from under his feet and was thwarted whilst Pedersen saw his shot blocked. With Blackburn pushing forward Warnock delivered a second great cross that evaded everyone whilst Friedel had to remain alert to turn aside a Kamara cross.
Sadly, despite the good finish, it hadn`t been a memorable first half.
Thankfully the second half proved to be much more enticing and provided a four goal feast.
The first of these saw Fulham take the lead when Ryan Nelson mistimed his tackle, missed the ball and took out Kamara. Murphy stepped up and duly sent Friedel the wrong way.
Unfortunately, the lead was to last only six minutes as in the fifty-seventh minute the visitors equalised. Kamara lost possession with a careless ball and Blackburn broke with clinical efficiency. A Warnock cross was played by Roberts into the path of Emerton and he made no mistake from close range.
Thankfully, Fulham didn`t buckle and five minutes later, somewhat against the run of play regained the lead. Murphy fed the ball out wide to Davies and his cross was turned in by Kamara for his second goal of the season.
The home crowd hoped that Fulham could hang onto the lead something they`ve failed to do so many times this season and Niemi did his best to keep us ahead with fine individual saves from Pedersen, Emerton and then Samba as Blackburn looked to get back into the game.
Unfortunately, as is often the case the defence did eventually buckle and it came when Roberts out-smarted two static defences to cross for the impressive Warnock to net at the far post.
Sanchez made two brave changes introducing Healy and Ki-Hyeon but it wasn`t to be, it was to be yet another score draw as Fulham find it almost impossible to close out a game.
Fulham Team - Niemi, Baird, Hughes, Stefanovic, Konchesky, Davis, Davies, Murphy (Healy - 83), Bouazza (Kuqi - 67), Dempsey, Kamara (Ki-Hyeon -83)
Fulham Unused Subs - Warner, Bocanegra
Blackburn Team - Freidel, Ooijer, Nelson, Samba, Warnock, Bentley, Mokoena (Reid - 89), Kerimoglu, Enerton, Pedersen, McCarthy (Roberts -4)
Blackburn Unused Subs - Brown, Savage, Khizanishvili.
Yellow Cards - Bentley (Blackburn), Murphy (Fulham), Stefanovic (Fulham)
Red Cards - Nil
Scorers - Murphy (Fulham) 49, Emerton (Blackburn) 57, Kamara (Fulham) 62, Warnock (Blackburn) 78.
Date:Sunday November 25 2007
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