Premier League - Dempsey grabs point for Fulham
Sat, 18 Sep 15:59:00 2010
Mark Hughes returned to the club where he made his name as a manager and saw his side initially overwhelmed by Rovers who started very strongly and took the lead on half an hour through a disputed goal from Samba.
Dempsey grabbed the equaliser for Fulham in the second half when he beat Samba in the air at the near post following good work from the debutant Carlos Salcido.
Blackburn came flying out of the blocks in the first half, and at every opportunity they launched long direct balls into the box aimed at Mame Diouf and Nikola Kalinic who together were causing havoc in the Fulham defence.
Kalinic should have opened the scoring early on, when latching onto a ball over the top he rolled wide of the right hand post when one on one with Schwarzer.
High balls were troubling the Fulham defence early on, particularly Schwarzer, who looked hesitant and twice came for the ball and failed to collect cleanly under pressure, before on 30 minutes, a free kick taken long by Paul Robinson saw Schwarzer impeded by El-Hadji Diouf and Samba nod the opening goal.
However, as livid as Fulham's keeper was at referee Anthony Taylor's failure to see the Senegalese blocking him to the floor, he was also somewhat lucky to not have at the very least a yellow card to his name as following one of his earlier flaps he dived for the ball and got a hand to Morten Gamst Pedersen's attempts to lob the keeper from outside the area. Brede Hangeland was on hand to head off the line, but Schwarzer was quite clearly outside his area when he got a touch to the ball.
Hangeland was also on hand to deny the lively Mame Diouf with a last gasp tackle, as the striker on loan from Manchester United burst into the box.
Fulham played their way back into the game, and Hughes' side piled on the pressure towards the end of the first 45 minutes. The excellent Salcido came closest to equalising, when following a good passage of play the left back cut inside and whipped in a viciously curling effort on his right foot which was brilliantly tipped wide by Robinson at full stretch.
Moussa Dembele also caused trouble for Rovers' defence when he ran from the halfway line and drove a shot from 20-yards wide of the post.
The second half started much as the first had finished with Fulham in the ascendancy, and eventually the visitors made their pressure tell. Salcido was played in down the left hand side and his floated ball to the near post allowed Dempsey to get ahead of Samba and crash a header past Robinson.
While Fulham were playing the ball around nicely, and Dembele was doing well to cover the absence of Bobby Zamora, Schwarzer was still failing to collect simple crosses and twice in the second half he put pressure on his defence after dropping crosses at the feet of, first Diouf and then Brett Emerton.
Luckily for the Australian keeper his defence were on hand to clear up for his mistakes and Hangeland and Aaron Hughes made crucial interventions to prevent Rovers taking the lead.
Danny Murphy went closest for Fulham after their equaliser when he put a free kick just wide with Robinson stranded, but the game eventually ended level as both sides took less risks as the match drew to a close.
Highlights: Blackburn 1-1 Fulham