Premier League - Vital win for ten-man Blackburn
Blackburn Rovers secured a highly valuable 3-1 home win over Fulham thanks to goals from Morten Gamst Pedersen, David Dunn and Mauro Formica, after Steve Kean's side recovered from the early first half sending off of Aiyegbeni Yakubu to put in an impressive display.
The striker was given a straight red for a challenge on Danny Murphy after 23 minutes, but a rousing response from Rovers saw Pedersen give them the lead right on the stroke of half time from a free-kick.
Dunn doubled the lead less than a minute into the second half before Damien Duff scored against his former club to give Fulham some hope. Martin Jol’s side were unable to make their numerical advantage count however and substitute Formica sealed the victory with just over ten minutes remaining to deliver an important three points for the under-pressure Kean.
After a relatively uneventful opening 20 minutes the game sprung into life when Bobby Zamora struck the top of the right post with a looping header, having been Fulham’s most impressive and active player. Moments later Blackburn’s task was made all the more difficult by a sending off for their top scorer Yakubu.
The striker went in high with his studs up, catching Murphy and leaving referee Anthony Taylor with little choice but to pull out the red card. Kean was forced into a tactical change as he introduced David Goodwillie in the place of Radosav Petrovic, one of his two substitutions that would prove instrumental in Rovers’ victory.
Paul Robinson’s excellent reflex save to deny Philippe Senderos maintained parity as half time approached, but Pedersen then struck with the last kick of the half from a set piece. Murphy’s push on Dunn set Pedersen up and when David Stockdale took a step in the wrong direction it left the Fulham goalkeeper unable to stop the Norwegian’s effort from giving Rovers the advantage.
Dunn struck just 56 seconds into the second half when he followed up a blocked Junior Hoilett shot with a rasping effort, and things were looking good for the home side. However, Duff’s similarly controlled effort ten minutes later pulled one back for Fulham as the Irishman put away his 50th Premier League goal, one which also means Blackburn have now conceded in all their 21 league games this season.
Fulham continued to push but Blackburn were dangerous on the counter attack, and Formica – on in place of Dunn – was presented an opportunity by Steven N’Zonzi whose inspired scooped pass over the Fulham back line set the Argentine up.
He obliged with a cool finish, making it 3-1 as Blackburn successfully saw out the last ten minutes to take only their third win this season at Ewood Park.