Blackburn battle off bottom

14 January 2012 05:46

Blackburn moved out of the relegation zone for the first time in four months on Saturday after overcoming an early red card to down Fulham 3-1.

Rovers scraped out of the bottom three with an improbable victory after striker Ayegbeni Yakubu was sent off for a reckless lunge on Danny Murphy midway through the first half.

The Nigerian striker's deserved dismissal suggested another grim afternoon was in store for the Ewood Park faithful, who have been demanding the sacking of manager Steve Kean since the start of the season.

But Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Dunn struck in the moments either side of half-time to give Blackburn a 2-0 lead and leave Rovers on course for what was only their fourth victory of the season.

Former Blackburn idol Damien Duff pulled a goal back for Fulham to give the Cottagers hope of a comeback but Rovers held their nerve and secured all three points when Mauro Formica struck on the counter-attack late on.

The win means Rovers move out of the relegation zone on goal difference at the expense of Queens Park Rangers, who face Newcastle on Sunday.

Although Rovers could slip back into the bottom three if QPR avoid defeat against the Magpies, beleaguered Kean will be encouraged by the character his side displayed after Yakubu's sending off.

"It's nice to be out of the bottom three. Today again the fans were great," Kean said.

While Kean was unhappy with referee Anthony Taylor over his decision to send off Yakubu, who will now miss three games against Everton, Newcastle and Arsenal, Rovers refused to be blown off course by the setback.

Pedersen curled a low 20-yard free-kick past David Stockdale in first half stoppage time to put Rovers 1-0 up and then Dunn pounced inside the opening minute of the second half to make it 2-0.

Fulham fought back gamely and Duff drove in from a tight angle to beat Paul Robinson and make it 2-1.

But just as Fulham launched an onslaught in search of an equaliser, Rovers made sure of the win when Formica beat Stockdale from 12 yards after good work from Steven Nzonzi.

Source: AFP