Pedersen guides 10-man Rovers out of drop zone
Blackburn Rovers 3 Fulham 1
Sunday 15 January 2012
In a week in which he has lost his assistant and quite possibly his captain, Steve Kean was overjoyed to see his resilient side gain their first home win in more than a month, despite playing for three-quarters of the match with 10 men. Blackburn's top scorer, Yakubu Ayegbeni, was sent off in the 23rd minute with the game goalless, but Blackburn rallied, with Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Dunn scoring a minute either side of half-time, and Mauro Formica sealing the result after Damien Duff scored for Fulham.
"It was a show of team spirit, and more than that it was a show of discipline when we went a man down," said Kean. The Blackburn manager was quick to praise the supporters: "The fans were marvellous again today," he said. "We hope that the fans will come back after a performance like that."
Blackburn were reduced to 10 men as Yakubu was dismissed for a high challenge, which saw his studs connect with Danny Murphy's right knee. Kean debated the legitimacy of the straight red card: "We all know Yak, and know he doesn't have a malicious bone in his body, so I was surprised to see a red card and not a yellow one."
Blackburn took the lead against the run of play in first-half injury-time, as Dunn won a free-kick on the edge of the area. Pedersen deceived David Stockdale, who made the mistake of taking a step to his left and was unable to readjust his positioning in time, the ball defeating him low to his right.
The first goal galvanised Blackburn, with Dunn netting within a minute of the restart. After a scramble in the box, a David Goodwillie shot was blocked by John Arne Riise, with Dunn driving the rebound home from inside the area.
This two-goal deficit did not last long as Duff, a former Blackburn winger, broke away down the right wing unchallenged before striking the ball from inside the area across Paul Robinson, who watched as the ball nestled in his goal.
The visitors looked like a side with only one away win this season, and were suitably punished 11 minutes from time as Steven N'Zonzi broke from midfield before chipping the ball over the defence for Formica to run on to and calmly slot home
Fulham's manager, Martin Jol, was disappointed that his side failed to capitalise on their man advantage: "It looked like everything was going for us with them having a man sent off, but then we conceded a goal just before half-time and that's not what you want," said Jol. "We were the better team, but we didn't play at a very good tempo, which helped them as they could always hit us on the break."
Blackburn (4-4-1-1): Robinson; Lowe, Hanley, Givet, Olsson; Dunn (Formica, 69), N'Zonzi, Petrovic (Goodwillie, 30), Pedersen; Hoilett; Yakubu.
Fulham (4-5-1): Stockdale; Kelly, Hangeland, Senderos, J A Riise (Johnson, 74); Duff, Murphy, Dembélé (Frei, 36; Davies, 87), Dempsey, Ruiz; Zamora.
Referee Anthony Taylor.
Man of the match Givet (Blackburn).
Match rating 8/10.
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