Football: Ostenstad ensures forward movement

Blackburn Rovers 2 Ostenstad 11, Duff 90 Fulham 0 Half-time: 1- 0 Attendance: 18,543
Click to follow
The Independent Online
WITH THE wannabes waiting in the wings, Tony Parkes' rejuvenation of beleaguered Blackburn continues apace. Both Colin Todd and Colin Hendry watched from the stands, each having expressed a desire to be part of the rebuilding of Jack's dilapidated house.

Since the club remain tight-lipped on the subject of a long-term replacement, their pres- ence in itself means little other than to the gossip-mongers. However, they will have been impressed by the tenacity and, for much of the game, quality of the home side's play, and whoever Jack Walker does eventually hire will more likely reflect on Blackburn's last two performances against top-six opposition, which have garnered four points, than on the dismal start to the season under Brian Kidd.

Paul Bracewell, meanwhile, is left scratching his head in bemusement at Fulham's current form - one win in their last eight - which, while his side remain in the hunt for the play-offs, far from suggests their early promise will be converted into a successive step up.

For a brief period yesterday he had five strikers on display, so desperate was the urge to salvage something from the game. While his five-man midfield had been squarely outplayed by the combative endeavours of Lee Carsley and the particularly impressive Jason McAteer, the bypassing of the central zone was folly and stretched Fulham to a point which gave Damien Duff the opportunity to seal victory with an injury-time volley.

"It gave us so much space to play in," said Parkes, relieved after steering the club he has been associated with for three decades to their first win in 10 outings. While two good results do not a season make, Parkes is now confident enough to set his sights on the position occupied by Fulham at kick-off. "It's only one win, but if we can put a run together, the play-offs are there for us."

The Fulham manager appeared relatively unconcerned with defeat in a game in which he, possibly alone in the ground, felt his team's showing was worth a share of the spoils. "I was impressed with our work-rate and that can only be good for us in the long run," he said.

He was, though, far from pleased with the sending-off of Danny Cadamarteri five minutes from time, at a point in the tie when Fulham were matching Blackburn in a frenetic, no--holds-barred finale. The on- loan Evertonian's stamping of McAteer had only one possible outcome and the headache of suspensions - Fulham picked up five bookings as well - now looks like replacing the previous concerns the manager had with injuries. "I'm not happy with our disciplinary record at all and it's something we'll be working on. As for Cadamarteri, he'll be fined and dealt with internally," Bracewell added sternly.

It had taken just 11 minutes for the Ewood outfit to edge ahead after a scrappy opening, Ashley Ward threading a delightful ball into space on the left flank which Damien Duff, reinstated by Parkes, fed to Egil Ostenstad to poke past a static Maik Taylor.