Blackburn 1 Fulham 1: Dempsey strike maintains unbeaten start for Hughes

18 September 2010 04:11
Clint Dempsey ensured Fulham maintained their unbeaten start to the Barclays Premier League season after Blackburn had threatened to overwhelm Mark Hughes' side on his return to Ewood Park.   [LNB]Chris Samba had given Sam Allardyce's Rovers the half-time lead in controversial circumstances while Fulham had barely had a sniff of goal.[LNB] Power play: Christopher Samba (centre) latches on to Paul Robinson's goal kick to give Blackburn the lead[LNB]The second half was a different story, however, as Hughes' men had much the better of the match and secured a scoreline that was on balance a fair result.  [LNB] Blackburn were unchanged with 18-year-old Phil Jones, who played with distinction as the holding midfield player against Manchester City, impressing again in a different role to his usual position in central defence.   [LNB]Former Rovers player and manager Hughes chose an old Blackburn team-mate Damien Duff to take the place of Bobby Zamora, who suffered a broken leg last week.   [LNB]Blackburn were utterly dominant for much of the opening half, starting when Nikola Kalinic won an early free-kick in a dangerous spot right on the corner of the area - another inch and it would have been a penalty - but Fulham were able to clear.   [LNB]Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer came close to having a nightmare afternoon with a series of fumbles. The first nearly led to the opening goal but Brede Hangeland managed to head clear off the line after his fellow Norwegian - and good friend - Morten Gamst Pedersen delicately chipped in the loose ball. [LNB] Ful force: Clinton Dempsey celebrates[LNB]Jones hooked over from the ensuing long throw-in and, when Fulham did finally conjure up a meaningful opportunity, Dempsey drifted the direct free-kick well wide.   [LNB]Mame Biram Diouf looked to be in on goal but his control deserted him at the critical point, and the Senegalese striker then claimed a penalty when he was challenged by Hangeland, though it appeared the big Norwegian just nicked the ball away.  [LNB] Hangeland was then booked for going through the same player and, from the free-kick, the goal that Blackburn had been threatening finally arrived. [LNB] Get in: Fulham's Clinton Dempsey scores the equaliser[LNB]Paul Robinson hoisted the ball high and with Schwarzer again looking uncertain - and some shoving by El-Hadji Diouf not helping Fulham's cause - Samba won the heading lottery to loop the ball into the empty net.  [LNB] Hughes reacted with anger on the touchline, provoking good-natured jeers from the home crowd, and his mood would not have been improved when Robinson displayed superb agility to turn aside Carlos Salcido's impressing curling strike.  [LNB]Fulham looked much more positive in the second half and had a chance to get back on terms within seconds of the re-start but Simon Davies' direct free-kick was woeful.   [LNB]Real deal Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce[LNB]Dempsey made no mistake in the 56th minute, however, when Salcido floated across an inviting cross from left, beating Ryan Nelsen to the ball to plant a powerful header past Robinson for the equaliser.   [LNB]Schwarzer dropped the ball again under pressure from Samba as Blackburn tried to respond and this time referee Anthony Taylor awarded a free-kick whenreplays showed clearly there had been no foul.   [LNB]Benjani Mwaruwari came on for Kalinic to make his Blackburn debut and his header down gave Brett Emerton space for a snap-shot but he hit it straight at Schwarzer.[LNB]Schwarzer's uncertainty continued to be a problem for the visitors andhe was left grateful to his defence for keeping out El-Hadji Diouf after another fumble.   [LNB]Fulham were lucky to survive again when Salgado whipped a vicious ballacross the face of goal, then Danny Murphy tricked the Spanish defender into conceding a free-kick on the edge of his box.   [LNB]Murphy tried to curl it into the top corner but Robinson never looked worried as it sailed over.[LNB]The match might have been there for the taking for either side after that, but fear of defeat won the day as the game drifted into a stalemate.[LNB] Premier League live: All the action as it happenedRovers boss Allardyce: I'd be a great fit for Inter Milan or Real MadridModern boots or bad luck: What's behind all these nasty injuries?BLACKBURN ROVERS FC

Source: Daily_Mail