Fulham 2 Blackburn 0
Fulham clinched a hard fought but merited victory in their first game back at Craven Cottage in the Championship.
Tom Cairney capped a fine display with a marvellous goal in the first half, with Aleksandar Mitrovic making it two in the latter stages as Scott Parker’s side recovered from their opening day loss at Barnsley.
The Whites were tested by a physical Blackburn outfit but responded well. They now go to Huddersfield Town on Friday in confident mood.
Debutant Harry Arter took his place in the centre of midfield alongside Stefan Johansen and Tom Cairney as the Whites hoped to atone for last week’s surprise defeat at Barnsley. In blustery conditions, Aleksandar Mitrovic linked up well with Anthony Knockaert during a fiercely energetic opening spell, although it was Blackburn who threatened most with a couple of chances from Bradley Johnson.
Fulham eventually sprung to life, when Knockaert drove a 18 yard shot inches wide in the 24th minute. The Whites, however, were occasionally vulnerable to counter attacks but Denis Odoi was called upon to avert dangerous moments.
Nevertheless, Fulham made a 33rd minute breakthrough in spectacular fashion. Captain Cairney created space 25 yards out, before despatching a high quality shot past Rovers’ keeper Christian Walton into the top corner of the net.
Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli was relieved to see Adam Armstrong’s effort zip narrowly past as Rovers pressed high after the break before Arter went close from distance. The impressive Johansen was replaced on the hour by Bobby Reid, making his Whites’ debut. And Fulham clearly improved, with Knockaert curling just over.
Mitrovic made it safe with nine minutes remaining, drilling home from six yards following great work and a low cross from the left by Joe Bryan. Parker will be encouraged by what ultimately proved to be an impressive afternoon for the Cottagers.
Fulham: Bettinelli, Odoi, Mawson, Johansen (Reid 60), Mitrovic, Cairney, Ream, Arter, Cavaleiro (Reed 78), Bryan, Knockaert (Le Marchand 84).