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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 December 2006, 16:52 GMT
Blackburn 2-0 Fulham
By Chris Bevan

Shabani Nonda celebrates putting Blackburn ahead
Shabani Nonda celebrates putting Blackburn ahead
Blackburn ended a run of six Premiership games without a win with a convincing victory over Fulham.

Poor positioning by stand-in Fulham keeper Jan Lastuvka allowed Shabani Nonda to hook home a long ball from Stephane Henchoz and put Rovers ahead.

Benni McCarthy made it 2-0 when his shot deflected off Ian Pearce and looped over Lastuvka into the net.

Fulham offered little going forward and only tested Brad Friedel through Claus Jensen's 87th-minute free-kick.

Rovers have been in excellent form in the Uefa Cup this season but have struggled recently domestically - this was their first success since they beat Wigan on 1 October.

They probably expected a tougher test from Fulham, fresh from their midweek success over Arsenal, but Chris Coleman's team never really got going at Ewood Park and Lastuvka's early gaffe did not help matters.

The Czech shot-stopper, making his first Premiership start because of Antti Niemi's injury, strayed too far right in his goalmouth - meaning that the negligible power that Nonda got in his shot was enough for the ball to make it over the line.

But if Lastuvka was to blame for Rovers' opener then he was nothing but unlucky for the home side's second goal.

This time it was Lucas Neill who pumped a ball over the top for McCarthy to chase, and after the South African had held off Pearce he fired in a shot that hit the Fulham defender and span into the net.

Fulham were still making little impact at the other end as Rovers continued to press forward - and it would have been 3-0 if Morten Gamst Pedersen had made decent contact with his shot after Liam Rosenior's mistake.

The small pocket of Fulham fans who had made the journey north had probably realised long before then that this would not be their day.

But at least Lastuvka found his feet as the game went on, coming out to make good stops from Brett Emerton and Neill either side of half-time.

Liverpool target Neill, who looks set to leave Rovers in the new year, had an impressive game at right-back.

He was given more to do defensively in the final stages as Fulham at last began to threaten, but for all the industry of Michael Brown and Claus Jensen in midfield, the visitors remained distinctly second best.

McCarthy missed a sitter for Rovers late on but, by the time Friedel dived to keep out Jensen's free-kick, the points were already in the bag for Mark Hughes' men.


  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
    "There was a real determination in the guys prior to the game. They understood how important it was to get a victory.

    "We took a foothold early in the game and that was important.

    "We were never in any danger of losing and in fact, given the chances we created, the result should have been more comprehensive."

  • Fulham manager Chris Coleman:
    "I hold my hands up. I changed the shape of the team against Blackburn and it never worked.

    "It was a fantastic performance in midweek but very taxing.

    "We should have closed ranks if we were tired and denied Blackburn but we were slow and sluggish in the first half and did not defend like we should."


    Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Henchoz, Ooijer, Gray, Emerton, Savage, Bentley (Mokoena 85), Pedersen, Nonda (Peter 81), McCarthy (Derbyshire 89).
    Subs Not Used: Brown, Gallagher.

    Booked: Savage, Henchoz.

    Goals: Nonda 6, McCarthy 24.

    Fulham: Lastuvka, Volz, Pearce, Knight, Rosenior, Brown, Diop, Claus Jensen, Boa Morte (Radzinski 64), Helguson (McBride 69), John (Routledge 75).
    Subs Not Used: Batista, Christanval.

    Booked: Helguson, Diop.

    Att: 16,799

    Ref: S Bennett (Kent).

    SEE ALSO
    Saturday's football photos
    02 Dec 06 |  Football


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