McCormack and Dembele score in Fulham victory


Fulham 2 Blackburn 1

First-half goals from Ross McCormack and Moussa Dembele were enough to give Fulham a controversial victory at Craven Cottage.

Jordan Rhodes brought Blackburn back into the match with a penalty midway through the second half after he was fouled by James Husband.

And the Whites had two let-offs in the final five minutes, first when Grant Hanley’s close-range shot seemed to cross the line before being cleared by Jamie O’Hara, and then when Fode Koita fired against the post.

Fulham’s brilliant start proved to be all-important. They went ahead after just four minutes when Dembele burst through on the right-hand edge of the penalty area and teed up McCormack, who finished coolly.

McCormack returned the favour by playing a key role in Demeble’s goal on the half-hour mark.

The Scotland forward crossed from the left and keeper Jason Steele produced a fine double save to deny Ryan Tunnicliffe and then Tom Cairney only for Dembele to follow up by hammering the loose ball into the roof of the net from close range.

Blackburn simply could not cope with Fulham’s front two and could have been more than two goals down at the interval.

McCormack had a near-post header saved by Steele, fired wide after again being found by Dembele, and also sent in a teasing low cross which his strike partner was just unable to connect with.

Not that Fulham had things all their own way. Andy Lonergan made several fine saves, keeping out efforts from Nathan Delfonso and Danny Guthrie before producing a stunning stop shortly before half-time when he stooped to his right to parry Ben Marshall’s header.

Rovers threatened again early in the second half and an unmarked Rhodes was unable to direct his header at the target after being found by substitute Koita’s right-wing cross.

Rhodes then did manage to direct Craig Conway’s left-wing delivery towards goal, but Lonergan produced another impressive save.

Lonergan also dived to his left to push away a curling effort from Conway but was finally beaten by Rhodes’ spot-kick after the Rovers striker had been shoved over at the far post by Husband following Conway’s left-wing cross.

Fulham (4-4-2): Lonergan; Richards, Stearman, Ream, Husband (Burn 88); Cairney, Tunnicliffe, O’Hara, Pringle (Fredericks 61); McCormack, Dembele.
Subs not used: Lewis, Kacaniklic, Mattila, Woodrow, Christensen.