Not for the first time throughout the course of this dramatic Championship campaign, Aleksandar Mitrovic demonstrated just how big a role he will have to Fulham’s promotion hopes this season, as he once again came up with the matchwinning moment to end Blackburn’s ten match unbeaten run at Ewood Park.
In a game that had largely seen Fulham frustrated by the rearguard action of their hosts, it was Mitrovic who perhaps not surprisingly, was the one to show the calmness and compusure to take his chance when it came to him, securing three more points that keep the Cottagers well in the hunt for automatic promotion.
After what was a slow start to the game, both sides would see headed chances come and go around the ten-minute mark, which could have seen either take the lead.
First, Sam Gallagher headed a Ryan Nyambe cross onto the roof of the Fulham net from six yards, while at the other end Blackburn ‘keeper Christian Walton produced a decent save to parry Michael Hector’s effort behind from a Tom Cairney corner.
Walton would again be the next ‘keeper to be called into action, this time in somewhat bizarre circumstances just under ten minutes later, as Bobby Decordova-Reid’s cross deflected off the head of Nyambe, almost wrong-footing the Blackburn stopper, who recovered well to just tip the ball over the bar for a corner that would come to nothing.
As the half wore on, it was the visitors who for a period, would dominate possession – as they have done for much of their season – although they would find themselves struggling to break down Rovers’ defence, with Mitrovic even trying his look from inside his own half after spotting Walton off his line, only for his effort to bounce wide of the penalty area, let alone the Blackburn goal.
After that, it seemed briefly as though Rovers had almost decided to give Fulham a helping hand in their search for the lead.
Bradley Johnson headed Joe Bryan’s cross just wide of his own goal from the edge of the area, before Walton took his time with the ball at his feet, almost allowing Mitrovic the chance to charge him down and tap in an opener, although the hosts would manage to hold their ground to head in goalless at half time.
It would be something of a similar story at the start of the second half, with Dennis Odoi firing over from distance after a clearance from Darragh Lenihan went straight to the Fulham man, before Cairney produced a decent save from Walton from a tight angle.
Eventually, Fulham would make their pressure tell, thanks to that familiar, and reliable source. Breaking down the left hand side, Joe Bryan fed the ball into Mitrovic, who found space to turn and fire into the bottom corner of Walton’s goal, to give his side the lead and take his personal goals tally to 20 for the season.
That setback would bring about a response from Rovers boss Tony Mowbray, who sent on attacking duo Danny Graham and Dominic Samuel, although it was an forward who had been on the pitch from the start who would go close to levelling for the hosts, when Sam Gallagher’s flick on bounced back to him off Michael Hector, with the striker’s first-time effort destined for the bottom corner, but for a brilliant save at full stretch from Fulham ‘keeper Marek Rodak.
Blackburn would then be frustrated again as the game entered the finals ten minutes, Darragh Lenihan denied by the offside flag after firing home Lewis Travis’ ball into the box.
Up the other end, Christian Walton produced a brilliant save to deny Stefan Johansen his side’s second after the substitute had been played in by Cavaleiro, who could probably have gone for goal himself.
In the end however, that would matter not, with the Cottagers hanging on to secure another crucial three points that keeps Scott Parker’s side right in the promotion race.