Kit needs mir­a­cle play-off push

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Robert Do­man

FUL­HAM manager Kit Sy­mons all but wrote off his side’s chances of mak­ing the Cham­pi­onship play-offs fol­low­ing de­feat at Black­burn.

Sy­mons watched his team go two goals be­hind when Ben Mar­shall and Jor­dan Rhodes gave the Cot­tagers a moun­tain to climb be­fore Ross McCor­mack hit back to throw Ful­ham a life­line.

But de­spite Sy­mons’ ad­mis­sion, he firmly be­lieves his squad still have a bright fu­ture ahead of them, while Rovers boss Gary Bowyer lauded his own team’s win­ning dis­play.

“It would take a mon­u­men­tal run of games for us to make the play-offs now,” Sy­mons said.

“We are ca­pa­ble of putting it to­gether but it will be very, very dif­fi­cult from here.

“We cre­ated quite a few op­por­tu­ni­ties but I am very dis­ap­pointed be­cause we didn’t get what we de­served.

“We put in a good shift and played some re­ally good foot­ball so it is a tough one to take. The sub­sti­tu­tions gave us a dif­fer­ent di­men­sion and from then on we started caus­ing Black­burn big prob­lems.

“I was proud of the per­for­mance but we gave away two poor goals. But this team is de­vel­op­ing all the time and I have high hopes. I be­lieve in this group of play­ers mas­sively and they are start­ing to be­lieve in them­selves more too.”

Black­burn’s Ja­son Steele re­acted well to keep out Cauley Woodrow’s ninth-minute ef­fort af­ter McCor­mack’s through ball gave him a clean sight of goal.

And Mar­shall re­sponded to put Rovers ahead three min­utes later when he slot­ted past Mar­cus Bet­tinelli in the Ful­ham goal.

Rhodes’ vol­ley was saved by Bet­tinelli mo­ments later be­fore Woodrow missed the tar­get at the other end af­ter run­ning onto Scott Parker’s pass.

Craig Con­way then struck the Ful­ham up­right with a de­light­ful curl­ing strike.

But Woodrow al­most equalised for the Cot­tagers two min­utes be­fore half-time when his header shaved the Rovers post.

Rhodes headed over from Con­way’s free-kick ten min­utes into the sec­ond-half and Hugo Ro­dal­lega failed to find a killer touch when Ash­ley Richards drifted a Ful­ham set-piece his way on the hour.

Rhodes then bagged his tenth of the sea­son, head­ing home from six yards when he met Mar­cus Ols­son’s 61st-minute cross.

But Woodrow soon rat­tled the Black­burn cross­bar from Lasse Vi­gen Chris­tensen’s cut-back.

And Ful­ham halved the deficit when McCor­mack tapped in on 66 min­utes to spark new life into the game. How­ever, it was Rovers who went clos­est in the fi­nal stages, Con­way’s 83rd-minute shot be­ing beaten away by Bet­tinelli with Rhodes putting the re­bound over the bar.

Black­burn boss Bowyer said: “Full credit has to go to the play­ers be­cause they showed great con­fi­dence to bounce back from a dis­ap­point­ing re­sult at Derby.

“They thor­oughly de­served the win but it’s im­por­tant that we keep a level head.

“We knew we would have our hands full with Ful­ham’s at­tack­ing op­tions but we de­fended ever so well.

“We showed the threat we have and we took our goals re­ally well. In­side the dress­ing room we all know what we’re ca­pa­ble of.

“Now we want to try and get a run go­ing be­cause the games will come thick and fast.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

WELL MAR­SHALLED: Ben Mar­shall puts Rovers ahead against Ful­ham with a clin­i­cal fin­ish

Rhodes RHODE TO GOAL: Jor­dan

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