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Fulham 2-2 Blackburn Cham 37 1617 - Daily Mail

last updated Wednesday 15th March 2017, 7:09 PM

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Oliver Todd at Daily Mail

Fulham (1) 2-2 (0) Blackburn

After 95 minutes of exhilarating back-and-forth football, referee Andy Davies raised a yellow card for Lucas Joao.

His celebration had been deemed 'excessive'. But over-celebrating was impossible. Sheffield Wednesday loanee Joao had just scored the goal which could prove to be vital to both his clubs' seasons.

In finding the net deep into stoppage time at Craven Cottage, the Portuguese forward hauled Rovers out of the relegation zone and stopped Fulham from leapfrogging his parent club into the play-off places.

From a corner of the ground, stood by the Thames, the hardy Blackburn fans finally believe, courtesy of the renewed grit instilled by Tony Mowbray — six games unbeaten now. 'We are staying up,' they sang.

'For a club that's supposed to have a disconnect with its supporters it was a fantastic feeling for the players and fans to unite at the end with a deserved point,' Mowbray said afterwards.

'I think there's a decent group of footballers there, they have galvanised themselves into a group that refuse to get beat. The desire not to lose is huge.'

Blackburn have found renewed grit. They had been dire for much of this season under Owen Coyle but Mowbray's appointment has been transformative.

Fulham were favourites to win the play-offs before this game — despite not being in the top six — and after a slow start they took the lead on the brink of half-time.

Tom Cairney picked up possession on the turn 30 yards out, drove through midfield, spun a pass out to Stefan Johansen on the left and the subsequent ball in was put away by Sone Aluko.

But Blackburn came back. Marvin Emnes was proving a handful upfront and twice went close before Thomas Kalas brought him down in the area on the end of substitute Joao's through ball. Penalty. Craig Conway, fresh back in the side from the birth of his daughter at the weekend, stepped up and smashed down the middle.

Gohi Cyriac put Fulham back in front with four minutes left by sweeping in Ryan Fredericks' delivery. Blackburn, though, weren't done.

Derrick Williams sent the ball in from the left deep into stoppage time and substitute Joao, arriving at the back post, slotted in the equaliser.

Fulham boss Slavisa Jovanovic admitted: 'We didn't have enough experience to kill the game when we scored the second goal. We tried, but then we gave them the chance to come back.

'We lost two points, we have one point more with nine games in front of us. You cannot be satisfied when you concede the goal but we've just lost a chance for now.

'We're going to fight to be in the top six at the beginning of May. We have to keep going and push hard.'

Blackburn, with Mowbray leading the charge, will certainly be pushing as hard as anyone to stay in the Championship come May.

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