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Page last updated at 16:01 GMT, Saturday, 20 September 2008 17:01 UK

Blackburn 1-0 Fulham

By Chris Whyatt

Matt Derbyshire and Keith Andrews
Substitute Derbyshire (l) scored the game's only goal in the last 10 minutes

Blackburn snatched a late winner after boss Paul Ince made a series of attacking substitutions in a bruising encounter with Fulham at Ewood Park.

With the game looking like it was drifting towards a draw, Roque Santa Cruz nodded into the path of substitute Matt Derbyshire in the 84th minute.

And Derbyshire met the header with a crisp finish to seal all three points.

Brett Emerton rattled the frame of Mark Schwarzer's goal just before half-time, while Fulham created few real chances.

The win earns Ince his first league victory at Ewood Park and means Fulham are still without a point away from home.

The Cottagers, who have a settled look about them since manager Roy Hodgson helped them avoid relegation last season, were unchanged from the side which beat Bolton 2-1.

Interview: Paul Ince

And despite losing 4-0 at Arsenal last weekend Ince made only one enforced change, with 20-year-old Keith Treacy making his first league start for Blackburn in place of the injured Stephen Reid.

The visitors were the first to show with Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson forced to make an outstanding tip over his bar after Andy Johnson fired Simon Davies's low cross towards the roof of his goal from 10 yards out.

But the onus was on the home side to make things happen and Blackburn, very much in the aggressive mould of their manager, soon carved out chances of their own.

Midfielder Keith Andrews slammed a volley just wide of the post before Morten Gamst Pederson's dangerous free-kick just eluded his forwards.

As the game became scrappier, Andrews received a yellow card for a nasty-looking foul on Jimmy Bullard.

The Fulham midfielder was then hacked down minutes later by Brett Emerton, who was also yellow-carded for persistent fouling.


A bruised Bullard recovered to whip in a free-kick, which Bobby Zamora could only head over the bar.

In between the assaults on Bullard Blackburn striker Santa Cruz had unleashed a powerful drive which Schwarzer palmed away.

The first sign of real quality came just before half-time when Emerton won possession in the centre circle and, evading numerous challenges from Danny Murphy, made his way into the penalty area to curl a superb shot against the upright with Schwarzer well beaten.

No chances were made at the break but, with little of the second half gone and the game going nowhere, Blackburn boss Ince brought on Tugay for Pederson and then took Jason Roberts off and brought on Carlos Villanueva.

The Chilean international soon looked lively and shot just over the bar after neat link-up play with Santa Cruz on the edge of the box.

Zamora should have done better than to land his header on the roof of Robinson's net after John Pantsil's cross found him unmarked at the back post.

Interview: Roy Hodgson

Ince made his final substitution with 15 minutes remaining, bringing on forward Derbyshire for midfielder Treacy - and the attacking ploy finally had an effect.

Tugay fed Villanueva in the centre of the field and the substitute span and pumped a superb long ball to Santa Cruz.

The Paraguay international nodded across the box for Derbyshire to score his first league goal of the season with a crisp left-foot finish from 12 yards out.

Blackburn had broken the deadlock with a goal of real quality and deservedly held out for victory.

Blackburn boss Paul Ince:
"The clean sheet pleased me. It was important for the team.

"When you have got the likes of Roque Santa Cruz and Matty Derbyshire you are always likely to score goals.

"Having a full week's preparation was massive. We have had four or five good days working really hard in training."

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:
"I thought our performance merited a draw. We were reasonably in control and the chances were there.

"But you are never really confident or happy on the bench at 0-0. We must come to terms with it.

"Andy Johnson is desperate to get off the mark for us."

Blackburn: Robinson, Simpson, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Emerton, Andrews, Pedersen (Kerimoglu 60), Treacy (Derbyshire 75), Roque Santa Cruz, Roberts (Villanueva 65).

Subs Not Used: Brown, Ooijer, Mokoena, Fowler.

Booked: Andrews, Emerton.

Goals: Derbyshire 84.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Bullard, Murphy, Gera, Johnson, Zamora.

Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Ki-Hyeon, Nevland, Stoor, Dempsey, Andreasen, Kallio.

Att: 19,398

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Blackburn's Keith Treacy 8.50 (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
20 Sep 08 |  Football
Premier League as it happened
20 Sep 08 |  Premier League

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