Fulham 3-2 Blackburn

Weird.  An initially dire match turned barmy, with five goals, a sending off (I think) and all kinds of confusion.   Last week the Mark Clattenberg (for reasons I have not explored) decided that Famous Player Wayne Rooney’s pre-meditated fore-arm smash against Not Famous Wigan did not merit punishment, and here Clattenberg was again making decisions that seemed to upset the masses.

It all blew up in the dying moments. Damien Duff was tripped in the area (or so Duff thought), and went mad at Clattenberg.  There had been several other half shouts (none wholly convincing), and our increasingly sensitive crowd started to give it the “you’re not fit to referee” thing, which may be true but if we do it every week it starts to sound a bit daft.   Clattenberg wasn’t having the best of games, but it seemed to me that he had a number of calls to make that could have gone either way, and when that happens there will be some disappointment.

No matter, down Duff went, Clattenberg said no, and we won a corner.   Ball in air, whistle, penalty.   Goodness, what can that have been for?   The trick here (and I haven’t seen replays) is that Clattenberg will obviously be able to find an offence because there always are holds and shoves on corners, but it seemed like a really poor penalty and small wonder Blackburn lost their collective rags.   It was the old cricket trick:  scream for enough lbws and you’ll get given one eventually, no matter how ‘close’ it actually might be.   If there was no clear foul then Clattenberg must simply have lost his nerve.

So there we were, Dempsey gave the ball to Zamora, Zamora drove past Paul Robinson, and we’d won 3-2.   How about that?

Previously we’d seen not much of anything, especially passing along the floor.  Damien Duff scored first after Etuhu passed up a shooting chance to slot the ball wide, and Duff smashed the ball low and under Robinson.   25,000 afternoon naps were sharply halted.  What? Where?  A goal?  Oh.

Blackburn got one back after Etuhu lost possession (was he fouled?) on the edge of our area, and somehow or other the ball looped into the net.  No idea what happened, but the crowd were upset with the Etuhu incident (never mind the fact that Hangeland seemed to have handled beforehand).   1-1 at half-time, at which point Diddy informed us that the Blackburn goal was an own goal (but not who it belonged to).   The game had been pretty cagey, with Blackburn adding some curiosity by sending ten players forward for set-pieces, which gave them a decent chance at keeping the ball in our half for a while.   We didn’t deal with it all very well, only Etuhu of the non-defensive players seemed to be anything like his best, Duff occasionally lively, Dempsey alright, Dembele getting no space, Murphy struggling a little, and Johnson utterly futile.

The second half was more open, and out of the blue we scored a second, Duff cutting in and slamming home from 20 yards at Robinson’s near post.   2-1.   Then 2-2, as Fulham failed to clear and somehow or other the ball lolloped into the net.  Rats.

Then Hughes made some bold subs, Kakuta and Zamora on, Murphy and Dembele off, and this made a difference.   Zamora plucked goal-kicks out of the air with great skill (previously Samba and co had headed them back without too much bother) and we were making waves.  Kakuta looks like a turbo-charged mini-Dembele, and is currently the player I most want to see on the pitch.   He looks excellent, thrilling.

So there we are, a game that had everything but nothing.     Most importantly, three points that we needed more than maybe we realised.

11 thoughts on “Fulham 3-2 Blackburn

  1. Duff’s return to fitness means classy crosses and well taken goals.

    Return of BZ – we have a leader of the line again
    Injection of the CFC youngster added pace and quality passes

    A very strong bench for the run in – hooray!

  2. It was AJ (not Duff) that was clattered in the box prior to the corner that resulted in the penalty. Definitely looked like Clattenburg opted for a makeup call there. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, as you see it a bit in sports here in the States (although less with the advent of replay reviews). Whether that’s accepted practice in English football though may be an entirely different matter.

  3. For what it’s worth, I also thought Etuhu was fouled in the buildup to Blackburn’s first goal, but to be fair none of our players seemed to make an issue out of it. The deflection there was off Hangeland, by the way.

    1. He was definitely fouled — took place right in front of us; couldn’t move as opponent had grabbed him with both arms. And, re. #3, it was indeed AJ in the non-penalty incident. Incidentally, I for once have to disagree with Rich — AJ looked pretty good throughout; whereas Moussa and Danny were more or less useless on the day. Maybe Blackburn deserve some credit for that. Kakuta did indeed look hot. Apart from anything else he passed with pace — why don’t more do that?

      1. Johnson really frustrates me – for a player who’s supposed to be quick, he literally never outruns his man. His touch seems very ordinary, and all his shots seemed to be blocked. He got himself fouled perhaps and the highlights made me revise my opinion slightly, but overall I still see a player who’s not what he was and who is in some ways a poor-man’s Erik Nevland. I would like to see a Zamora/Dembele pairing, although at this point I think Dembele needs more space and might need to drop into a deeper role still.

        Dembele is important even when not playing well, I suspect he attracts a lot of attention to keep quiet, which must benefit those around him.

        1. There was a very subtle assist by Dembele for Duff’s second goal. On TV Dempsey and Dembele came across better than had appeared to me live.

          Murphy was in the pocket of Blackburn’s number 2 who man marked him well.

        2. Suspect that Katuka would demand as much attention though. They can’t all be played, but presumably it’s AJ you’d drop to allow him in. A month ago I’d have agreed, but on recent performances not, which is maybe too short-termist.
          As Tony says about Murphy, who through a combination of that and the pitch had one of his feeblest games since the Sanchez era. For the rest of the season he’ll probably impress more away.

  4. Worth mentioning that Blackburn’s main tactic was “put a man on Schwarzer, lump the ball into the area, get in Schwarzer’s way, hope the ball goes in the net”. You’ll recall they beat us this way in the away fixture. So no guilt on my part in these 3 points. There was only one team TRYING to play football. The best penalty shout was probably the one on AJ in the first half. THought AJ had a decent game. Our full backs looked dodgy, except that Baird made some brilliant goal line clearances, at least one of which was from an unnecessary free kick he had given away himself. Why, why, why won’t Etuhu shoot? – we know he can. He goes storming up there, gets in position and then lays it off.

  5. I left the game not really knowing much of what happened but caught up on Football First.

    Steve Kean was right. Technically maybe a penalty but if you give those then there’d be 10 given every match.

    Tony Gale was also right in commentary when he said Clattenburg was making up for not giving a penalty for the push on AJ which WAS a clear penalty IMO. As was a trip on AJ by Samba just before Blackburn got their first equaliser.

    The clear foul on Etuhu in the lead up to the game looked much less so on TV and the deflection was off Hangeland and gave Schwarzer no chance. Not much Brede could have done about it.

    A VERY big 3 points for us. Three good teams are going to be relegated, one very likely with a record points total.

    Another match that was largely about the referee.

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