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  • 4 March 2012
  • • 14:05
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 24034
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Fulham 5-0 Wolves: Pogrebnyak hat-trick seals stunning victory & puts visitors in relegation zone

Fulham 5-0 Wolves: Pogrebnyak hat-trick seals stunning victory & puts visitors in relegation zone

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Pavel Pogrebnyak sparkles with a fine display as the Cottagers demolish sorry Wolves, leaving Terry Connor's side in the bottom three

Pavel Pogrebnyak scored a hat-trick to make it five goals in three games as Fulham thumped Wolves with a classy 5-0 victory on Sunday.

The home side dominated possession, producing some fine flowing football, and Pogrebnyak put the Cottagers out of sight with a close range header and a cool finish before half time, with Dempsey grabbing a brace in the second half either side of the Russian’s third.

It was Fulham’s 1000th league win and the first time they’ve won three matches on the spin since 2008, a run which has lifted them into the top half of the table. Wolves, meanwhile, drop into the relegation zone on goal difference.

January signing Mahamadou Diarra made a first appearance from the bench for Martin Jol’s side, while Chris Baird filled in at right-back for Stephen Kelly and Damien Duff replaced the injured Bryan Ruiz.

Terry Connor made one change, brining in Michael Kightly in midfield, while striker Stephen Fletcher started on the bench. Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey also started despite missing his country’s defeat at home to Costa Rica on Wednesday.

Pogrebnyak looked like he’d have a frustrating afternoon early on, as he struggled to spring the Wolves offside trap.

On six minutes Ronald Zubar was booked for strong challenge on Clint Dempsey, but Jon Arne Riise’s free kick was drilled straight into the Wolves wall.

Riise then struck a stinging low drive from 25 yards, but Hennessey was able to tip his effort wide. Moments later the Norwegian had yet another attempt from out wide; this time deflected over by Zubar.

Fulham’s domination continued past the first 15 minutes, and Duff hit a powerful effort inches wide after good work from Dempsey.

Wolves then nearly took a surprise lead when Jamie O’Hara’s curled free kick was headed inches wide by Richard Stearman.

Hennessey was called into action yet again on 23 minutes, saving Andrew Johnson’s effort from point-blank range after a superb ball in from Riise. Senderos then had a golden opportunity from the corner as the ball fell to him, but the Switzerland international shanked his effort wide.

Moussa Dembele used quick feet to move away from Kevin Foley and unleash a snap-shot on 36 minutes, which was deflected wide. Then from Duff’s corner Pogrebnyak was there to head in low from close range for his third goal in as many games since moving to Craven Cottage.

The big Russia international then grabbed his second just before half time after Wolves cheaply surrended possession. Johnson pulled the ball back to Pogrebnyak whose fierce strike nestled in the top corner, giving Hennessey no chance.

Wolves had an early let-off in the second half when Aaron Hughes’ ball was spilled by Hennessey and picked up by Johnson, but his ball failed to find a teammate.

Another defensive mix-up ensued minutes later as Christophe Berra’s clearance struck Milijas and fell to Johnson, who laid off to Dempsey, but the USA striker shot straight at Hennessey.

Dempsey
then notched his first goal of the afternoon on 55 minutes, rounding Hennessey after a superb through ball from Danny Murphy and producing an excellent finish for Fulham’s third goal of the afternoon.

Wolves’ top scorer Stephen Fletcher replaced Michael Kightly on the hour to provide some much-needed support for Doyle, but Fulham immediately made it four as Pogrebnyak was first to react to Hennessey’s parry from Johnson, the Russian stabbing home to grab his hat-trick.

O’Hara nearly grabbed a consolation goal for Wolves on 65 minutes with a deflected effort from the edge of the box which ran wide.

Johnson, who had an excellent afternoon, nearly made it five with a clipped effort from outside the area which hit the crossbar.

Diarra replaced Murphy on 68 minutes to make his Fulham debut, and was instantly enjoying time on the ball as Wolves continued to surrender possession.

Steven Fletcher, coming on as a substitute on the hour, then had a wonderful opportunity to add to his ten league goals, after a long ball evaded the Fulham defence, but the striker blasted well over.

Fulham then parted the Wolves defence once more, as Dembele found himself alone in the area, but his shot on the turn flew straight into the arms of Hennessey.

Duff was next to try his luck, slicing wide from the edge of the area after cutting inside from the right wing.

Diarra then made a telling pass on 82 minutes, slotting through to Dempsey who rifled a shot into the top corner for his second and Fulham’s fifth.

Jamie O’Hara had a late effort in stoppage time with a low drive straight at Mark Schwarzer; the visitors’ only shot on target in the whole match as they slumped to a poor defeat.

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