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Blackburn 1-1 Fulham

By Ian Hughes

Jimmy Bullard of Fulham battles with Stephen Warnock
Bullard (left) scored a late equaliser to rescue Fulham

Jimmy Bullard curled in a stunning free-kick to earn Fulham a point after Morten Gamst Pedersen's header had seemed set to win it for Rovers.

A first-half header from Zurab Khizanishvili was all Rovers had to show for all their possession.

But 14 minutes after the break, Pedersen rose to power a Jason Roberts cross past keeper Kasey Keller.

Eddie Johnson's drive hit the post as Fulham hit back, but on 89 minutes Bullard curled in to snatch a draw.

Although the driving rain and skiddy surface were always unlikely to help provide a high-quality game, some of the play was very sloppy.

Time after time, passes were misdirected and even the basics frequently seemed too difficult for some.

Fulham, with only one win since Roy Hodgson took over as manager, were never going to a be an attacking tour de force.

Unsurprisingly, they sat deep and waited for Blackburn to pile forward - and they must have been mightily relieved that the hosts were just as toothless.

606: DEBATE
bullardfulham

In the opening half, Rovers managed one effort on target when Khizanishvili planted a header straight into the arms of Keller.

At the other end, Brad Friedel might have wondered if he could chance leaning against his posts and nodding off for a while.

For the first 10 minutes after the interval, it was more of the same, although Fulham did dare to cross the halfway line.

However, their new sense of adventure was not rewarded, and on 59 minutes they found themselves behind when a teasing cross from the right by Roberts was confidently dispatched by Pedersen

They had a chance to restore parity soon after as Johnson sprinted clear before unleashing a rising drive which clipped the outside of the upright.

Unfortunately, the spark which led to a spell of goalmouth action soon died and the match quickly settled back into a scrappy affair.

Pedersen curled a free-kick wide while David Bentley ruined his work on the flank by taking a shot from a tight angle when he should have crossed.

As Rovers dominated, they should have added a second goal but Roberts was foiled by Keller's excellent pounce at the striker's feet.

And they were made to pay in the last minute of normal time, when Bullard superbly curled a free-kick into the top corner to earn a vital point for his relegation-threatened side.


Blackburn manager Mark Hughes: "We had chances but were a little bit flat in the first half, we had no real tempo.

"But the second half was more open. We got the goal and other chances.

"Maybe at times we should have been more professional, we were 1-0 up with 10-15 minutes to go and we should have been able to close the game out."

  • Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:
    "I thought the players did extremely well because conceding the goal was a savage blow.

    "When you are at the bottom and have missed a few chances, the players could be forgiven for dropping their heads.

    "They kept on and did well to create enough chances to get the equaliser. The performance was not unworthy of the three points today."


    Blackburn: Friedel, Ooijer, Samba, Khizanishvili, Warnock, Bentley, Reid, Kerimoglu (Roberts 57), Pedersen, Santa Cruz, McCarthy (Derbyshire 56).
    Subs Not Used: Brown, Mokoena, Dunn.

    Booked: Kerimoglu, Warnock.

    Goals: Pedersen 59.

    Fulham: Keller, Stalteri, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey (McBride 66), Bullard, Andreasen, Murphy (Healy 84), Davies, Johnson.
    Subs Not Used: Niemi, Volz, Bocanegra.

    Booked: Stalteri, McBride.

    Goals: Bullard 89.

    Att: 20,362

    Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).

    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Fulham's Jimmy Bullard 8.55 (on 90 minutes).

  • Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.




  • see also
    Saturday's football photos
    08 Mar 08 |  Football
    Saturday football as it happened
    08 Mar 08 |  Football
    How to watch Match of the Day
    08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day


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