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Last Updated: Monday, 12 April, 2004, 20:56 GMT 21:56 UK
Fulham 3-4 Blackburn
Garry Flitcroft and Andy Cole celebrate for Blackburn
Blackburn bagged three crucial points after a stunning encounter with Fulham.

Rovers led when Andy Cole lashed in a volley only for Fulham to score twice as Collins John first nodded in then converted Steed Malbranque's cross.

Blackburn stunned the hosts by retaking the lead with a fierce Jonathan Douglas snap-shot and a Lorenzo Amoruso free-kick that deceived Edwin van der Sar.

Luis Boa Morte broke away to level once more before Jon Stead crashed in the winner from 20 yards from Cole's pass.

Going in to the game Blackburn had lost three games in a row and were only out of the relegation zone ahead of Leeds thanks to a superior goal difference.

They started slowly, visibly aware of the pressure that had been placed upon them by Portsmouth's win earlier in the day.

Indeed they only came to life when Zat Knight appeared to lean his head towards Stead, the officials taking no action having not seen the incident.

23 mins: Cole opens scoring
26 mins: John equalises
45 mins: John's volley puts Fulham ahead
49 mins: Douglas fires Blackburn level
51 mins: Amoruso free-kick makes it 2-3
60 mins: Boa Morte keeps his cool to score
75 mins: Stead hits the winner

Soon after Amoruso drilled a 35-yard free-kick inches over the Fulham bar before the visitors deservedly took the lead.

Tugay curled an outrageous pass with the outside of his right foot into the path of Cole, who took one touch before rifling the ball into the roof of Van der Sar's net.

But the lead only lasted three minutes. Martin Djetou's effort hit the bar and Steed Malbranque headed it back across goal for John to steer home.

The hosts were now firmly in the ascendancy and Malbranque's drive was tipped around the post by Friedel before two Knight headers brought the American into action again.

In stoppage time at the end of the half Blackburn suffered a body blow. Malbranque's right-wing free-kick was met on the volley by John who skilfully steered the ball into the corner.

Whatever Graeme Souness said at half-time to his players, he can surely never have had such an immediate impact on a game as manager.

Three minutes into the period Douglas got on the end of a long throw from Tugay and crashed a volley past Van der Sar to get Blackburn back on level terms.

And just two minutes later they were astonishingly ahead, Amoruso drilling in a free-kick from 25 yards that Van der Sar really should have stopped.

It could have got even worse for the shell-shocked hosts as Stead lashed in a shot that Van der Sar got down well to block.

Yet again, though, Fulham stunned Blackburn with a quick reply. John played a lovely pass through to Boa Morte and he took his time before sending a left-foot shot low beyond Friedel.

Fulham could have taken the lead against the run of play but John blazed wide as he went looking for a hat-trick.

As it seemed Fulham might turn the screw on Blackburn the visitors took the lead for a third time, Stead driving a sweet right-foot shot from 20 yards that Van der Sar perhaps also should have saved.

With time running out John skied a right-foot shot well over the bar and Moritz Volz hit a 20-yard screamer that Friedel did well to gather.

The win lifts Blackburn above Portsmouth and puts a vital three-point gap between themselves and Leeds in 18th.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Volz, Djetou, Goma, Bocanegra, Sean Davis (Petta 79), Legwinski, Knight, Malbranque (McBride 84), John (Hayles 87), Boa Morte.
Subs not used: Crossley, Pearce.

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Amoruso, Short, Gresko, Andresen, Flitcroft, Tugay, Douglas, Cole (Emerton 89), Stead (Gallagher 90).
Subs not used: Enckelman, Reid, Johansson.

Attendance: 13,981.

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

BBC Five Live's David Oates
"Rovers deserved the points"

Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
"It was a battling performance"

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