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Match Reports

Report: Fulham 2-0 Rovers

Rovers suffer defeat on the road despite an encouraging performance at Craven Cottage against The Whites

10 August 2019

A goal in each half did the damage as Rovers suffered defeat on the road against Fulham at Craven Cottage in the second Championship outing of the season.

Tom Cairney's stunner roared the hosts into life midway through the half before a close range Aleksander Mitrovic made the result safe late on for the west Londoners.

It was a much improved performance from Tony Mowbray's charges, who restricted Fulham to very few chances throughout the encounter and will feel unfortunate not to have taken something back to East Lancashire.

The best chances came through Bradley Johnson and Adam Armstrong, but Rovers returned north pointless and will look to get on track in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday against Oldham Athletic.

Mowbray named three changes to his starting lineup with Charlie Mulgrew, Darragh Lenihan and Stewart Downing dropping out, with Tosin Adarabioyo, Derrick Williams and Joe Rothwell coming into the side.

Mulgrew's departure to Wigan Athletic and an injury to Lenihan saw Adarabioyo and Williams appear for the first time this season, with the former making his debut for the club after arriving from Manchester City.

Fulham included two ex-Rovers in their squad, with Cairney taking the armband for the hosts and Harrison Reed - a deadline day arrival - on the bench.

Rovers came flying out of the traps, and Johnson nodded wide from the edge of the box after being picked out by Adam Armstrong just 20 seconds in.

The next opportunity came soon after, with Dack - on his 250th career league appearance - seeing his drive deflect just wide off Tim Ream.

It was a really open start in the capital, and only more good defending denied Johnson's strike from 18 yards from testing Marcus Bettinelli.

Two quickfire opportunities came the way of Scott Parker's side midway through the half, with the dangerous Mitrovic poking wide of the target before Anthony Knockaert dragged wide just a moment later.

Rovers were having the better of the game, but it was Cairney who came back to haunt his old employers with a superb curling effort from the edge of the box that gave Walton no chance just after the half hour mark.

Mowbray's men went in at the break a goal down, but to their credit the performance had been very encouraging against the favourites to win the division.

Rovers continued to probe the home side and Armstrong fired just past Bettinelli's right-hand post just after the interval as the visitors kept the search on for the equaliser.

At the other end, recent signing Harry Arter sent an effort wide from range, with The Whites ensuring the Rovers backline were kept busy.

Knockaert was next to try his luck, but this time his curled effort drifted comfortably over Walton's upright just after the hour mark, before Cairney curled over from a free kick

Mowbray played all his cards to end the game with five strikers on the pitch, and one of those in Gallagher saw his header fly inches wide with 15 minutes left.

But with nine minutes remaining Mitrovic made the game safe from close range. A bustling run from Joe Bryan saw the left back advance and find a way through into the box, and his low ball in was simply finished off by the big Serb.

It could have been 3-0 later on, but Bobby Decordova-Reid, on his debut, lashed wide of the target from close range in the last notable action of the game.

Fulham: Betinelli, Odoi, Mawson, Johansen (Decordova-Reid, 60), Mitrovic, Cairney (c), Ream, Arter, Cavaleiro (Reed, 79), Bryan, Knockaert (Le Marchand, 86).

Unused substitutes: Rodak, McDonald, Ayite, Christie.

Goal: Cairney, 34, Mitrovic, 82

Rovers: Walton, Bennett (c), Adarabioyo, Williams, Bell (Downing, 70), Travis (Graham, 74), Johnson, Rothwell (Brereton, 65), Dack, Armstrong, Gallagher.

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Evans, Platt, Buckley.

Booked: Johnson, 59, Bennett, 85

Referee: Keith Stroud.

Attendance: 17,987

 

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