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Fulham 2-2 Blackburn Cham 37 1617 - Lancashire Telegraph

last updated Wednesday 15th March 2017, 7:29 PM


Lancashire Telegraph
Rich Sharpe at Lancashire Telegraph


Fulham (1) 2-2 (0) Blackburn


It has been quite a few days for Lucas Joao.

The Sheffield Wednesday loanee scored twice at Norwich City on Saturday, but Rovers were leave Carrow Road frustrated after conceding an 81st-minute equaliser.

At Fulham, Joao’s introduction once again turned the game in Rovers’ favour as he played a big part in the first equaliser which came via the spot as Craig Conway smashed home after Marvin Emnes was fouled.

And in the dying seconds Joao, who had missed several good chances prior to that, met a Derrick Williams cross to turn in from close range.

It cued wild celebrations among the travelling fans, with the result moving Rovers out of the bottom three with nine games of the season to go.

It also saw his parent club remain in the top six, as a win would have lifted Fulham in to the play-off spots in place of the Owls.

A sixth game in 18 days appeared to take its toll on a Rovers side who struggled to get in to full flow during a first half in which they were below par, and trailed to Sone Aluko’s strike just before the break.

They rallied in the second half, helped by Joao’s arrival, and appeared to be taking a point back to East Lancashire when Conway levelled from the spot.

But it looked to be late heartache once again for Rovers when substitute Gohi Cyriac swept the ball home from Neeskens Kebano’s right-wing cross.

A desire not to be beaten and never-say-die attitude which has stood them in good stead under head coach Tony Mowbray, however, saw Rovers rescue a point late on.

The opening quarter of the game belonged to a Fulham side obviously buoyed by their weekend win at leaders Newcastle United.

They enjoyed 70 per cent possession, with Rovers forced in to countless clearances from inside their six yard box as Fulham had early success down the flanks.

A simple ball over the top was to create their first real chance of the evening, with Jason Steele quickly off his line to deny Aluko.

The game started to open up as the half hour mark approached, with a Conway volley forcing a good save out of David Button down low as he met an Elliott Bennett cross.

Tom Cairney saw an effort saved easily by Steele, but for all their intricate around the Rovers box, the keeper hadn’t been unduly troubled.

Rovers were defending well, but they were lacking any real threat at the other end as they struggled to keep hold of the ball for any sustained period.

And that was to prove their downfall just seconds before the half-time whistle when Aluko put the hosts in front as he swept the ball home from inside the penalty area to round off a quick break which involved Cairney and Stefan Johansen.

The hour mark approached with little sign of Rovers getting a way back in to it, though they did threaten with an Elliott Bennett inswinging free-kick which beat everyone, including the far post.

Bennett then saw an effort saved by Button before Mowbray sent on Saturday’s goal hero Joao for Danny Graham.

That gave Rovers more of an impetus, and the Portuguese forward had a chance similar to the one he scored at Norwich, only to head over.

He would find the target with a 73rd minute header from a Connor Mahoney corner, but will have been disappointed to only find the gloves of Button.

Rovers would be rewarded for their best spell of the game with a 79th-minute equaliser.

It would come from the spot, as after Emnes had been felled by Tomas Kalas after good work Lucas Joao,

Conway hammered his spot-kick down the middle and into the roof of the net.

However, they were to be level for just seven minutes, as Fulham re-took the lead through substitute Cyriac when he fired in from 12 yards after good work down the right by Kebano.

Rovers weren’t done, though, and went close to a leveller as Joao saw an effort saved, moments before he came within inches of turning in a Mahoney corner at the far post.

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