- Venue:Ewood Park
- Referee:Friend, K
Fulltime: Blackburn 2-0 Fulham. The final whistle goes and Blackburn seal a win that was comfortable in the end. Fulham had their chances but were made to pay by goals from Samba and Nelsen from set-pieces.
Gera catches Hoillett after some interplay between him and McCarthy. Yellow card to the Fulham man.
McCarthy takes a free-kick from just outside the area after Kalinic was fouled. The effort goes up and over the wall towards the top corner but it doesn't come down fast enough and goes over.
Salgado is chopped down by Nevland as the Norwegian over ran the ball. The foul is deemed enough to warrant a booking.
This game looks done and dusted now. Fulham have performed well but they just haven't had the rub of the green today.
Salgado comes on for Emerton.
McCarthy steps away from Baird who brings him down earning himself a caution in the process.
Damien Duff is able to get some space on the left hand side but his cross is too high for everyone in a Fulham shirt. Duff has been Fulham's best player today.
Almost an embarassing moment for Robinson as he fails to gather a cross from Kallio. It falls to Johnson but he can't direct his effort on target.
Murphy looks to take a free-kick quickly in the Rovers half and slides the ball into the path of Johnson but Samba tracked the run and is able to clear for a throw-in. It's been that kind of day for Fulham.
Nevland shows great turn of pace as he skips into the box and appears to have his shirt tugged by Samba and goes down but Kevin Friend gives nothing.
Gera breaks down the right hand side and strikes a low cross along the six yard line and forces Nelsen to try to clear. He gets a foot to the ball and almost turns it beyond Robinson but the keeper gathers above his head.
Keith Andrews enters the action to replace Steven Reid.
A corner from Duff comes in from the left and finds Gera who lets fly on the volley but strikes it straight at Robinson. That could have been a turning point in the game.
Hangeland concedes a needless corner and the Ewood faithful roar in anticipation of a third. McCarthy takes it short to Reid who strikes for goal but blazes it over the top from the edge of the box.
Hoillett breaks down the left hand side and looks to cross for Kalinic but Hangeland is alert to the threat and makes a crucial interception.
Apparently Dempsey is suffering from a knee injury. Hopefully it's not too serious.
Erik Nevland comes on for Dempsey.
Dempsey is down injured and seems to be in some pain. I think he has signalled to the bench for a substitution. It goes from bad to worse for Roy Hodgson and his team.
A loose ball has Kalinic interested in the Fulham half and Kelly takes no chances in thumping it away before the striker can steal possession.
Hoillett comes on for Givet so Olsson will probably revert to left-back as Hoillett slots into midfield.
A goal completely against the run of play! It's a long way back for Fulham from here and they will need a quick goal to get back in it.
BLACKBURN 2-0 FULHAM. Kelly concedes a free-kick for a foul on Olsson on the left hand side. McCarthy will deliver and he whips it in with pace and picks out NELSEN eight yards from goal who heads home with great composure.
Rovers are camped in their own half and again the danger comes from Dempsey and Johnson as they link up but Samba is able to hack it clear.
Fulham need to play at the same tempo that they did before the break. Hughes is careless with a back header to Schwarzer and almost lets Kalinic in but the keeper is off his line fast enough to gather.
Rovers win a corner that falls for Givet but his shot is blocked. Fulham look to counter through Johnson who crosses for Dempsey at the back post but his header goes across goal and Blackburn clear.
Tony Kallio comes on to replace Konchesky. Perhaps the full-back has picked up a knock in the first half.
The second half gets underway.
Half Time: Blackburn 1-0 Fulham. Blackburn hold on to half time and go into the break with the lead despite Dempsey threatening everytime he picks up the ball.
A long ball forward for Blackburn breaks loose and Olsson latches onto it to strike a snap shot at goal from range but it flies into the arms of Schwarzer who gathers well.
How Dempsey hasn't bagged a goal or two already today I don't know. Blackburn finally get some respite as Robinson has the time to launch the ball long from a goal-kick and relieve the pressure.
More clever interplay from Fulham as the ball is threaded in to Dempsey who turns neatly in the box and unleashes a venomous drive from twelve yards but Robinson makes a strong save.
A dipping cross comes in from the right and finds the American Dempsey who leaps and strikes an acrobatic overhead kick that looks destined for the net but cannons back off the crossbar. What a goal that would have been!
Fulham are beginning to press and Murphy is dictating play. Hangeland strides out of defence and threads the ball into Johnson put the striker fires high over the bar. Poor effort.
The resulting corner is whipped in by Duff from the right and finds Chris Baird at the near post who meets it with a glancing header that goes fractionally wide.
Murphy breaks to the byline and digs out a hanging cross that drops under the crossbar but Steven Reid does well to track back and head the danger away.
Samba is cautioned for a blatent foul on Andy Johnson. Can the Cottagers respond to going behind?
BLACKBURN 1-0 FULHAM. A corner comes in from the right hand side and the ball drops to SAMBA who pokes it high into the roof of the net to give Rovers the lead.
McCarthy brings down another high ball and turns before unleashing a stinging shot from long range but Schwarzer makes a sprawling save to deny the South African.
Another panic moment at the back for Fulham as the returning Brade Hangeland slashes wildly at the ball and sends it high into the air but Fulham just about manage to clear.
Stephen Kelly breaks down the right hand side and crosses towards the penalty spot. Dempsey arrives late and beats Samba in the air and heads goalbound but it's straight at Robinson.
A horrible clearance from Schwarzer as he slices it to Olsson who delivers a cross from the left towards Kalinic but he is penalised for a foul on Hangeland.
Fulham press and Duff is chopped down by a mistimed challenge from Reid. Dempsey takes the free-kick from the left and delivers into the box but he fails to find a team-mate.
Dempsey picks the ball up in the Rovers half and knocks the ball in behind for himself to run onto but he is penalised for a foul on Nelsen. Both defences have been solid so far and the passing has been far from cutting edge.
Schwarzer claims a Reid long-throw and sets Fulham away on the break. Dempsey plays a one-two with Johnson and but the third pass is cut out by the experienced Nelsen.
Givet looks long for Blackburn and finds McCarthy on the edge of the box. The South African brings it down and turns, weaves a path into the box but his touch is too heavy and it runs out of play.
A fairly typical start to a close encounter like this. Both sides are doing a little early sparring as they trade long balls and try to feel out eachother and settle into the game.
Kevin Friend will referee today's game and with a sharp blast on his whistle the game is underway.
Roy Hodgson will be pleased to see Hangeland return to fitness to start today alongside Aaron Hughes at the back. Baird and Murphy will look to dominate the middle of the park with Dempsey and Johnson providing plenty of pace and energy in attack.
No Morten Gamst Pedersen in the squad for Rovers today so Olsson comes into a midfield also containing Steven Reid. Kalinic and McCarthy are paired in attack and the ever present Samba and Nelsen in defence.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Duff, Baird, Murphy, Gera, Johnson, Dempsey
Blackburn: Robinson, Chimbonda, Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Emerton, Nzonzi, Reid, Olsson, Kalinic, McCarthy
Hello and welcome to Ewood Park where Blackburn Rovers will look to bounce back from a disappointing 4-1 defeat to City on Monday night. Fulham haven't notched a league win since their victory over United and will be looking for three points today.
Sam Allardyce has demanded an instant improvement from his Blackburn Rovers side after they slumped to a 4-1 defeat at Manchester City on Monday night.
Rovers are on a run of nine league games without a win but the manner of the performance at Eastlands - which was littered with defensive mistakes - left the Ewood Park chief in critical mood.
"Except for the last goal, all of the goals were avoidable," he fumed. "We've got to look at ourselves and say that we haven't done our job defensively."
Blackburn returned to action in the Carling Cup with a semi-final first leg meeting with Aston Villa on Thursday night but the bread and butter of the league is where Allardyce's focus is.
The Lancashire club have slipped down to 13th place in the table on the back of their recent form and are only three points clear of the drop zone.
Allardyce has not been helped by the absence of any frontline attacking options as Jason Roberts is struggling with a knee problem and Benni McCarthy continues to be plagued by a back problem.
El Hadji Diouf remains suspended following his red card in the FA Cup defeat to Aston Villa two weeks ago.
Visitors Fulham continue to delight and frustrate manager Roy Hodgson in equal measure.
After beating Manchester United handsomely on December 19, the Cottagers have failed to win any of their three following games.
A draw with Tottenham and defeats to Chelsea and Stoke City must have left Hodgson scratching his head, as will ninth-placed Fulham's comparatively poor record on the road this season.
They have not won any of their last nine league away matches and have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of them either.
The Whites have also conceded a total of five goals in their last two league games, after conceding only two in the previous six.
Leading scorer Bobby Zamora (shoulder) will again be absent alongside key defenders Brede Hangeland and John Paintsil (both knee).
Goals from central defenders Chris Samba and Ryan Nelsen helped Blackburn Rovers overcome Fulham 2-0 at Ewood Park.
Samba opened the scoring on 25 minutes from a Benni McCarthy corner and Nelsen added the second on 54 minutes.
The closest Fulham came was a first-half effort from Clint Dempsey which came back off the bar.
Rovers gave Steven Reid his first league start for 18 months and brought McCarthy into the starting line-up in place of David Dunn as they aimed for their first Premier League win in 10 games.
Morten Gamst Pedersen, a scorer in each of their last two league matches, failed a late fitness test on a knee problem and was replaced by Martin Olsson.
Fulham, looking for their second away win of the season, made one change from their 3-2 defeat at Stoke with Clint Dempsey coming in for injured leading goalscorer Bobby Zamora.
Samba celebrated his 100th Premier League start by firing Rovers into the lead on 25 minutes.
McCarthy earned a corner with a rasping 20-yard drive which Mark Schwarzer tipped round the post and took the flag-kick himself from the left.
It bounced off Schwarzer's legs in the goalmouth and fell to Samba, who lashed into the roof of the net for his second goal of the season.
Fulham turned up the heat in the latter stages of the first half as they chased an equaliser, with an overhead kick from Dempsey coming back off the bar following a left-wing free kick from Danny Murphy and shots by ex-Rover Damien Duff and Dempsey both bringing smart saves from Paul Robinson in the Blackburn goal.
Two minutes before the break, a smart shot from 18 yards by Olsson was saved on the line by Schwarzer.
Nelsen doubled Rovers' lead eight minutes into the second half as he joined his central defensive partner on the scoresheet with his third league strike of the season.
A free-kick was awarded on the left for a foul on Olsson, McCarthy fired it into the penalty area and Nelsen stooped to head it past Schwarzer from eight yards out.
Fulham suffered a blow on 61 minutes when Dempsey limped out of the action, but Robinson was forced into action again when he parried a stinging drive from Zoltan Gera following a corner.
But Rovers continued to look good value for their advantage, with McCarthy firing a free-kick narrowly over the bar with five minutes to go and Nikola Kalinic just failing to latch on to a neat throughball from David Hoilett shortly afterwards.
Shots off target