Egil Ostenstadt and Damien Duff scored the goals that secured struggling Blackburn Rovers’ first win in ten matches as they won the battle of the big spenders against Fulham at Ewood Park this afternoon.
Popular caretaker Tony Parkers, back in temporary charge once again hailed the belief of his side as they ended a barren run with a performance full of quality and fight that won the acclaim of the home fans. Teenage winger Duff scored the clinching second goal in the last minute of the ninety, producing a moment of individual magic, to finish impressively past Maik Taylor from inside the six yard box as the visitors sought to bely their numerical disadvantage by scoring a late equaliser despite the sending of Danny Cadamarteri.
Duff had already tilted a tight contest the way of the home side in the eleventh minute. The devastating dribbler took centre stage after a perceptive pass from Ashley Ward released the Irishman along the left wing and his precise cross after an enterprising run found Ostenstadt, who stretched full length to put the crucial finishing touch out of the reach of a helpless Taylor in the Fulham goal.
Paul Bracewell’s side threw everything at their hosts, even after Cadamarteri had been sent off to the disappointment of his manager. They were well in the game in the first half with Sean Davis shooting narrowly over the bar after a brilliant cross from Paul Peschisolido and, right on half time, Lee Clark forced a fine save from Alan Kelly from just outside the box. But the Whites had little answer to excellent afternoon of exemplary wing play from Duff, who sealed the win with a poacher’s finish at the near post after he had darted away from the Fulham defence with a piece of clever movement to score his first goal of the season.
Bracewell berated Fulham’s ill-discipline afterwards, partially laying the blame for a defeat that could damage their hopes of promotion at the feet of on-loan Everton striker Cadamarteri.
I’m not happy with our discipline and we have now had three red cards this season – we can’t carry on like that.
BLACKBURN ROVERS (4-4-2): Kelly; Grayson, Harkness, Peacock, Dailly; Carlsey, Dunn, McAteer, Duff; Ostenstadt (Wilcox 77), Ward. Subs (not used): Filan, Matt Taylor, Davidson, Jansen.
BOOKED: Ward, Grayson.
GOALS: Ostenstadt (11), Duff (90).
FULHAM (5-3-2): Maik Taylor; Neilson (Cadamarteri 45), Brevett, Symons, Melville (Riedle 81), Coleman; Davis (Hayles 68), Hayward, Clark; Horsfield, Peschisolido. Subs (not used): Hahnemann, Morgan.
BOOKED: Clark, Horsfield, Coleman, Symons, Hayward.
SENT OFF: Cadamateri.
REFEREE: Mike Riley (West Yorkshire).