An own-goal from the unfortunate Rufus Brevett and a brilliant display of goalkeeping from Brad Freidel ensured Blackburn Rovers beat Fulham 2-1 at Ewood Park this afternoon to earn their sixth league win of the season.

Veteran striker Dwight Yorke led the line superbly – scoring once and pressurising Brevett into the game’s decisive mistake – as jean Tigana found little to celebrate during his 100th game in charge of Fulham. The Frenchman watched his side lay siege to the Blackburn goal in the second half but leave Lancashire with nothing to show for their spirited display, largely thanks to the heroics of American international Friedel, who made two sensational saves to deny Steve Marlet.

A match played in atrocious conditions following a torrential downpour was never likely to be a contest high on quality but the hosts had the better chances in the first period. Edwin van der Sar was called in action in the first minute to field an audacious long-range effort from David Dunn and the England under-21 midfielder was denied again by the Dutch goalkeeper from outside the box on the quarter hour.

Andy Cole should have done better than the tame shot that resulted after he had taken down a fine cross from former Liverpool midfielder David Thompson, but Yorke fired Rovers ahead ten minutes before the break after more excellent play from the dangerous Dunn. The talented central midfielder drove deep into Fulham territory before threading a pass out to Damien Duff and Yorke diverted the Irish winger’s cross past van der Sar to give the home side a lead they fully merited.

French midfielder Sylvain Legwinski should have levelled before the break but he blazed disappointingly over after a flowing Fulham passing move had bisected the Blackburn defence. The visitors looked dangerous immediately after the interval with Luis Boa Morte bursting into the box, only to be thwarted by a fabulous recovery run from Duff, who had sprinted 70 yards to save the day for his side.

The visitors looked much more confident going forward and Marlet produced a magnificently-taken leveller on the hour, beating two Blackburn defenders during a strong run that took him into the penalty area before the French forward found the top corner with a fine finish. Such composure was lacking seven minutes later from the spot when Friedel made a fine save after Craig Short had brought down Boa Morte in the box.

The Portuguese winger looked to be in to give Fulham the lead anyway, until Australian international Lucas Neill came sliding in to avert the danger with a wonderfully timed tackle. The Whites paid the price for their failure to make their dominance count through a freakish Blackburn winner. van der Sar did well to get his hands to a Yorke shot – only for the ball to bounce off the unlucky Brevett and over the line from the rebound.

Fulham pressed for a late leveller but Friedel denied Marlet from point blank save with two minutes to play as Blackburn held on to claim all three points.

BLACKBURN ROVERS (4-4-2): Friedel, Neill, Todd, Short, Johansson; Thompson, Tugay, Dunn (Douglas 89), Duff; Yorke, Cole. Subs (not used): Kelly, Ostenstadt, Jansen, Grabbi.


GOALS: Yorke (35), Brevett (o.g. 78).

FULHAM (4-5-1): van der Sar; Finnan, Brevett, Goma, Melville; Davis, Legwinski, Clark (inamoto 59), Malbranque, Boa Morte, Marlet. Subs (not used): Taylor, Djetou, Goldbaek, Sava.

BOOKED: Finnan, Davis.

GOAL: Marlet (60).

REFEREE: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).