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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 14 Jan 12 at 17:01 PM

Report: Rovers 3 Fulham 1

Ten-man Rovers battled to a brilliant 3-1 win over Fulham to move out of the bottom three.

Bobby Zamora headed against the woodwork midway through the first half, before Yakubu was shown a straight red card for a high tackle on Danny Murphy just a minute later.

Rovers reshuffled and took the lead on the stroke of half-time courtesy of a Morten Gamst Pedersen free-kick.

David Dunn doubled Rovers' lead less than a minute after the restart, before former Rover Damien Duff pulled one back.

But Mauro Formica came off the bench to score a superb third to seal the win, which sees Rovers climb to 17th in the table.

Before the game, Rovers made five changes to the team that suffered a last-gasp FA Cup defeat at Newcastle last weekend.

Goalkeeper Paul Robinson, who had missed the last four games with a calf injury, returned as captain in place of Mark Bunn.

Manager Steve Kean was also able to welcome back Junior Hoilett and Dunn, who had shaken off hamstring strains.

Martin Olsson started his first Premier League game in over two months at left-back, with Gael Givet partnering Grant Hanley at the heart of the defence.

Chris Samba was ruled out through illness, whilst David Goodwillie, Ruben Rochina, Simon Vukcevic and Adam Henley all dropped to the bench.

Rovers made a bright start and registered the game's first effort on eight minutes. Neat build-up saw Pedersen play the ball into the feet of Yakubu, who played a first-time lay-off to Dunn, whose shot was blocked. Hoilett gathered the rebound, but shot straight at David Stockdale.

Fulham grew into the game and came close to opening the scoring at the midway point of the half. Duff crossed from the right and Zamora's towering header struck the stanchion.

A minute later and Rovers were dealt a massive blow when they were reduced to 10 men. After battling for the ball with Brede Hangeland, Yakubu raised his foot to challenge Murphy and was shown a straight red card. It seemed a harsh decision on the Rovers striker, as there was clearly no intent.

Yakubu gets his marching orders
Yakubu gets his marching orders

Dunn temporarily occupied the lone striker's role and fired a left-foot shot straight at Stockdale, before Goodwillie was brought on in place of Radosav Petrovic to provide some support in attack.

Fulham were then forced into a change of their own, with Kerim Frei coming on for the injured Mousa Dembele.

The visitors again came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock six minutes before the break. Following a foul by Hoilett, Murphy's free-kick was headed goalwards by Philippe Senderos, but Robinson made a superb one-handed save to prevent it from going into the top corner.

Three minutes of added time came up on the board and right on the stroke of half-time, Rovers took the lead. Dunn was fouled by Bryan Ruiz on the edge of the box and Pedersen stepped up to fire a sweet left-foot free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner.

Pedersen is congratulated after scoring
Pedersen is congratulated after scoring

Rovers would have been wary of a Fulham fightback immediately after the interval, but it was the home side who quickly doubled their lead.

With less than a minute of the second half gone, Olsson looked to play a one-two with Dunn, the ball broke to Goodwillie, who took too long to get his shot away and his effort was eventually blocked by John Arne Riise. However, the follow-up fell kindly for Dunn, who smashed a low shot past the static Stockdale.

Delight for Dunn and Pedersen
Dunn celebrates his goal

It was the hard-working local favourite's first goal of the season.

On 51 minutes, Fulham almost scored in similar circumstances to Rovers' opener. Pedersen fouled Duff just outside the box, Riise's fiercely-struck free-kick was well kept out by Robinson, Clint Dempsey headed home the rebound, but the American had just strayed offside.

Five minutes later and Fulham did halve the deficit. Murphy picked out Duff in space, Olsson stood off him and the former Rovers man fired into the far corner.

Despite being a man down, Rovers were playing some attractive stuff and threatened to add a third on 65 minutes. Pedersen played the ball into Hoilett, who stung the gloves of Stockdale and Goodwillie slipped just as he went for the rebound.

Both sides brought on fresh legs, with Formica taking over from Dunn and Andy Johnson repacing Riise.

Again Rovers played precise possession football and another well-worked move ended with Goodwillie firing an ambitious effort just wide.

Two minutes later and Rovers did grab a third. Formica played a give-and-go with Steven Nzonzi, who scoooped the ball back into the path of the Argentine, who had timed his run to perfection and lashed a left-foot shot past Stockdale.

Mauro Formica scores Rovers third
Mauro Formica scores Rovers' third

Fulham's substitute almost scored on 85 minutes when Lowe brought down Johnson, but the striker's free-kick was saved by Robinson.

Three minutes of stoppage time was again added, but Rovers saw the game out with ease to claim three precious points in their fight for survival.

ROVERS: Robinson (c), Lowe, Hanley, Givet, Olsson, Hoilett, Nzonzi, Petrovic (Goodwillie 30), Pedersen, Dunn (Formica 69), Yakubu.

Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Henley, Morris, Vukcevic, Rochina.

FULHAM: Stockdale, Kelly, Senderos, Hangeland, Riise (Johnson 73), Duff, Murphy (c), Dembele (Frei 36 (Davies 87)), Ruiz, Dempsey, Zamora.

Subs not used: Etheridge (GK), Hughes, Sidwell, Kasami.

Booked: Pedersen (Rovers) Senderos (Fulham)

Sent off: Yakubu (Rovers)

Attendance: 18,003

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