Fulham 2-0 Blackburn: Rovers brushed aside in crunch Championship clash
Photo by Getty Images/Alex Pantling

Fulham extended their lead at the top of the Championship table with a comfortable victory over fellow promotion-chasers Blackburn Rovers.

It had been a tightly contested beginning to the match but Fulham soon found their footing when Neeskens Kebano prodded home on 25 minutes. Harry Wilson then doubled the advantage with a delightful chip, and that would be sufficient for the hosts to claim all three points in a crucial fixture for both.

The result sees Fulham remain 1st in the Championship table, with 11 points and two games in hand over 2nd-placed Huddersfield Town, while Blackburn are 4th and still well in the mix for a playoff spot despite slipping up here.

Story of the game

It was a tight opening five minutes but Blackburn conjured the first opportunity when Ryan Giles picked the ball up in his own half and waltzed unchallenged to the edge of the box before shifting it onto his favoured left foot and aiming for the top corner, but it whistled high of the target.

Fulham went straight down the other end with Wilson who whipped in a sumptuous cross for Aleksandar Mitrovic, the striker's glancing header dropping just wide of the far post. Two good early chances created by two superb sides, and there would surely be more.

The hosts had a serious shout for a penalty just past the 10-minute mark when Mitrovic went down under challenge from Rovers captain Darragh Lenihan. They were adamant they'd been hard-done by when referee David Webb waved away their claims, however replays showed both players slipped — the decision was spot-on.

Back in the team after sitting out last weekend's victory at Cardiff City, Kebano's impact was almost instantaneous. The Congolese international was first to react when Thomas Kaminski bizarrely parried Neco Williams' tame shot back onto the penalty spot, putting Fulham ahead in a match they'd edged thus far.

Mitrovic — but a player of his quality always has his moments. He picked up the ball on the right edge of the box and showed good feet to drift inside before selling Bradley Johnson with a feint and taking aim at goal, but Kaminski got down well to save.

Blackburn then counter-attacked rapidly, the ball finding its way to Tyrhys Dolan who meandered his way into the area before collided with Kebano. Webb again dismissed claims for a penalty and booked the forward for simulation.

And moments later it was two for Silva's side. After play resumed Tosin Adarabioyo was given all the time in the world to stride forward and place his pass, picking out Wilson in behind the Blackburn defence who dinked delightfully over Kaminski to give Fulham breathing space with 35 minutes gone.

"We want seven," sang the home crowd. Since it remained just the two at half-time, that seemed unlikely, but Fulham were certainly on top here having taken charge of the contest after a tightly contested beginning.

Fulham started the second-half as they'd ended the first, and they came within inches of making it three before the clock had hit 46. Fabio Carvalho cut in from the left and arced an effort towards goal which deflected off Lenihan and hit the wrong side of the up-right.

Fine margins denied them again just before the hour mark when Mitrovic rose highest to meet Kebano's in-swinging corner — half the ground thought it was in, but it had nestled on the other side of the netting.

But fine margins worked in Fulham's favour five minutes later. Blackburn thought they'd pegged a goal back when substitute Sam Gallagher prodded home at the back post, however after nearly 10 seconds the linesman raised his flag and it was ruled out. Why the flag took so long to come, no one knew — but it remained 2-0 to the hosts.

The second-half was a much better period for Blackburn who truly grew into the contest having been second best by a long distance in the opening 45 minutes. Giles nearly singlehandedly hoisted them back into the contest when his sumptuous first touch set him one-on-one with Rodak but the goalkeeper did well to save down low.

Nonetheless, Fulham remained well in control of this contest. Wilson came agonisingly close to making it three with a vicious curling effort from 20 yards and Williams then hit the crossbar from the half-way line with Kaminski desperately back-tracking; the latter was so unfortunate not to see that hit the back of the net.

The final chance of the match fell to Wilson, the player who had been involved in everything Fulham did well today — his free-kick crept through the Blackburn wall and forced Kaminski into a fine diving save as the game ended 2-0.

Teams

Fulham: Rodak; Williams (Tete 85'), Tosin, Ream [c], Robinson; Seri (Chalobah 80'), Reed; Wilson, Carvalho, Kebano (Decordova-Reid 85'); Mitrovic.

Unused subs: Gazzaniga, Hector, Cavaleiro, Muniz.

Blackburn Rovers: Kaminski; Lenihan [c], van Hecke, Wharton; Zeefuik (Rankin-Costello 17'), Travis, Johnson, Pickering; Giles, Khadra (Gallagher 46'), Dolan (Rothwell 66').

Unused subs: Pears, Davenport, Buckley, Hedges.

Referee: David Webb

Attendance: 19,343

Up next

Following victory here, Fulham travel to south Wales on Tuesday to visit Swansea City.

Blackburn, meanwhile, host Millwall at Ewood Park on the same day.

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