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West Ham United
April 26, 2014
• Craven Cottage, London
Referee: L. Mason
• Attendance: 25700
A. Dejagah 55'
F. Amorebieta 58'
N. Jelavić 75'
S. Long 87'
So that's that. FULHAM 2-2 HULL CITY.Thank you, and I hope you enjoyed joining me, Alex Stewart, for this LIVE coverage of this match. Have a great rest of the weekend. Until next time...
Hull City will be relieved that they came back so strongly. A point is not enough to guarantee them safety either, but two goals from their two strikers will leave them purring ahead of the final few Premier League games and the FA Cup Final.
Fulham will be exhausted by that encounter, mentally as well as physically. They can take heart from how well they attacked, but, as ever, their defence let them down. Shipping a two goal lead at home in a relegation battle is poor. One point doesn't do enough and it will go to the wire for the Cottagers.
There was also a decent penalty shout for Long in the first half, though he was offside, and Davies handled late on in the box but Fulham won nothing for that either.
But Fulham's relentless attacking and open formation meant that Hull could come back into it and they scored through Jelavic and Long after Steve Bruce had made his own changes to give Hull a more offensive complexion.
A superb goal from Dejagah and a lovely header from Amorebieta, who was excellent from start to finish, gave Fulham two goals in three minutes.
Caught your breath yet? It has finished 2-2. Fulham went into a 2-0 lead after bold, attacking changes from Felix Magath allowed them to attack with pace and purpose out wide.
90' + 3'
Hull win a free kick deep into Fulham territory after that break after Fulham had thrown men forward. They don't take it though as the referee blows for full time! WHAT A MATCH THAT BECAME!
90' + 2'
Long and Hangeland get annoyed at each other. Stockdale plays it long again with Hangeland up but Hull can break now. This is dangerous.
90' + 1'
Heitinga sends Richardson free who tries to play in either Fulham striker, but Harper comes and claims. He sends it up and Jelavic is fouled with Long is a good position. There could have been advantage. The free kick comes to nothing.
Hull are stil going for it. Stockdale gathers a through ball and lumps it up towards Rodallega.
Fulham and Magath must be gutted. His changes forced Fulham into a lead but, paradoxically, that very attacking formation left them open to attack and with Diarra suffering, Hull capitalised.
After a drab first half this game has exploded.
GOAL FOR HULL! LONG! A good long cross from substitute Aluko gets over the heads of the Fulham defenders. Long is lurking and heads it down to prevent Stockdale from saving. Good, clever header to bring Hull level. What next?!
PENALTY SHOUT? Curtis Davies mistimes a jump and clearly handles the ball, preventing Bent from getting it in the box. Didn't seem deliberate, but these are the margins...
STOCKDALE SAVE! Boyd crosses and it comes to El Mohamady who hammers it low and hard from the right hand side. Stockdale plunges low and fast to his right and just tips it onto the post. Great keeping.
A rubbish corner from Fulham and Hull look to break, but Fulham scamper back and collect possession again. They throw themselves forward and, though Boyd intercepts and tries to break for Hull, it comes bakc to Fulham and they push forwards again. This is the pattern now.
From the corner, Fulham retain possession and ping it about. It is cleared by Hull but only for a throw-in. Bent wins another corner. This is decent from Fulham but they don't have much choice other than to attack.
Dejagah makes Davies looks a bit silly out wide then pushes the ball into the six yard box, winning a corner.
Diarra sends Rodallega free with a beautiful pass. He crosses towards Dejagah but Harper sprawls and saves well. Bent fires the rebound wide. That is what Fulham need to do, but can they do it for ten plus minutes?
Hangeland tidies up after a heavy touch from Jelavic. The momentum, amazingly, has swung back towards Hull City. This I would not have forseen. Fulham really need to slow it down, but with Sidwell off and two strikers on, they are not built for that. Diarra is in trouble too and cannot come off.
ALUKO! Hits the cross-bar with a possibly deflected shot which left Stockdale stranded. It was from a fair way out too and the Fulham keeper looked leaden.
As Hull ready Sagbo and Boyd to throw more attackers on, Magath must be looking at his side and seeing that all the attacking ability he threw on to push the game is not going to close it down. Both sides will be throwing themselves foward.
This is going to be a bit bloody tense now.
JELAVIC! GOAL FOR HULL. Well that was messy. The ball cannons onto the bar from a Reither deflection which Stockdale saves. Jelavic is on hand to head the ball in with the Fulham keeper on his backside.
Beautiful touch from Bent, high and over his shoulder, to flick the ball back inside to Rodallega. That was class. It didn't come to anything though.
Bent looks a bit rusty there. There was space for him to smash it with his left but he tries to turn Davies onto his right instead and his shot is blocked. He falls over. That could have been Fulham's third and two years ago, Bent would have buried it.
Heitinga is down, clutching his right ankle. Magath must be invoking whatever god he follows that none of his players get injured as they have no subs left.
Hull win it back from Amorebieta though, but give it away almost immediately. Bent whizzes forwards into space on the left but his cross is too close to Harper.
Hull are still a bit too patient and slow. Rodallega intercepts and Dejagah and Parker combine retain possession.
A long throw from Amorebieta is played back to him by Bent. He bends in a cross which evades everyone with Harper clearly in two minds.
Diarra is not moving well.
Alex Bruce is replaced by midfielder Sone Aluko. He's swift and snazzy and Hull will go to four at the back too, matching Fulham's formation better and giving themselves more in attack.
Yellow CardMahamadou Diarra
Huddlestone and Diarra square up in the centre of the pitch after Huddlestone seems to mistake Diarra staying down for feigning injury. Diarra does seem to be carrying a knock, so Huddlestone is being a bit of a prat. Diarra is booked.
Hangeland heads a corner onto Bent and it loops out for a Hull goal-kick.
Diarra is struggling now. Parker is a bit on his own in midfield now, but if Dejagah and Richardson can keep the ball out wide and play directly at Hull's wing-backs, it won't matter.
Jelavic wins a throw off Amorebieta and Myler sprays it wide. Hull are being patient here. Huddlestone through to Myler results in a corner, but Fulham break at real pace.
How can Hull get back into this? They have a little possession now and Livermore and Huddlestone look to get their foot on the ball a bit.
AMOREBIETA! He deserves that for all his good work in the first half. Richardson crosses and Amorebieta, moving away from goal to give himself space from Bruce his marker, dinks a lovely header to Harper's left.
2-0 to Fulham and in the space of three minutes this match is on its head. Magath has obviously done a job at half time, but energising his players and making astute changes which have transformed this game in his team's favour.
All the energy and momentum is with Fulham now and the crowd are up and shouting.
DEJAGAH! GOAL! Thank goodness for that. Dejagah collects after Rodallega stumbles over the ball and it breaks to the Iranian. He dummies right, drags it across the two Hull defenders with his left and hammers it in. That was really very lovely.
Hull have still not had a meaningful attack this half.
Bent is readying himself, coming on for the injured Sidwell. He is been good, the midfield battler, but the added predatory power of Bent might assist Fulham, who now move into a kind of 4-2-3-1 4-2-2-2 thing. Confused?
Harper whumps it out after Hull have played it around the back a bit. Fulham will now start tearing into them again. Fulham are now in a a sort of 4-2-3-1 with the wingers Richardson and Dejagah, and either Sidwell or Parker pushing up a bit.
Hull haven't had any time on the ball until now. They are desperate to settle a bit.
Dejagah is already looking very dangerous. He was part of the Wolfsburg team that Magath dragged away from relegation three years ago. He is fast and direct and a good crosser and this game is better already for his presence.
Fulham have come bursting out of the traps. Sidwell is looking a bit crocked now though, so Fulham cound be forced into a third change almost immediately. Hull's Meyler is also hurt. Neither are subbed though and both struggle on, manfully.
Dejagah and Richardson will add pace and directness to Fulham. Holtby didn't add much to Fulham's game in the first half. Riise did well, but Richardson's free-kicks will be a helpful tool too.
Dejagah, newly on, whips in a corner which Rodallega volleys wide under close pressure from Bruce.
Richardson and Dejagah are on for Fulham. Not sure for whom though yet.
Hull City have had three players, El Mohamady, Jelavic, and Livermore. Fulham have had none. If Fulham can get their wing-backs or Holtby or Rodallega running at El Mohamady or Livermore, that might be a savvy move. Jelavic is more likely to get himself sent off for being silly than through deliberate, tactical targetting.
I'm scratching my head to add to that really. It was quite funny when Livermore got a Hangeland clearance in the face, but beyond that...? El Mohamady's dive, for which he was booked, was important, but it hardly counts as a highlight.
Rodallega has had one decent chance, failing to get enough on a low, whipped Amorebieta cross. Amorebieta has been excellent, but he was involved in Hull City's best chance of a goal when he tussled with Long as the Tigers' striker burst towards Stockdale. Long was offside but there was contact.
The half started with Fulham in the ascendancy and, in fairness, they have been more or less in charge for the first 45 mins. When Hull City attack, they have actually managed to string together better and more fluid passages of play, but they are mostly restricted to countering Fulham.
You'd never have guessed this was a crucially important, relegation-ridden clash of two slightly cautious teams, would you?
45' + 2'
That's it. A few, probably penalty-related chats between Alex Bruce and the referee, as the players troop off.
45' + 1'
Hull are winding the half down. El Mohamady is again the attempted outlet, but rather than hold onto it, he plays an aimless cross and Fulham can build. A through-ball to Riise is too deep though and Harper gathers easily.
Yellow CardJake Livermore
The resulting free-kick is, unsurprisingly, not very good. Hull have one last chance to push foward.
Livermore kicks someone in white, I think Rodallega, who yes is indeed hobbling a bit. He is booked.
Replays show that Long was offside there anyway, so if Hull had won a penalty, there would have been serious questions about that. It all sort of balances out in the end, though a goal would be welcome by basically any means at this point.
Sidwell is down again. He took a knock earlier in a challenge with the hefty James Chester. If Sidwell goes off, Fulham will be hurting a bit too.
LONG PENALTY SHOUT! Long and Amorebieta tussle at pace running towards goal. Amorebieta did nudge him a little bit but in my opinion that would have been harsh.
Rosenior ends a good passage of Hull City play by crossing high and bending out from the left. Hull looked more incisive there, though, with the energy of Myler and Livermore adding much-needed impetus.
Ugh that cross from Reither was woeful.
A good passage of play, with Holtby central to it, ends when Holtby's pass to Amorebieta goes out over the Venezuelan's head. That sort of sums it up so far - promising but ultimately unfulfilling. Like a good starter with no main course after.
Huddlestone slips a low ball into Long on the edge of the six yard area, but Stockdale anticipates well and snatches the ball from his feet. Quick keeping there from the man who was on loan at Hull last season.
Fulham win a corner as Amorebieta, who is playing rather high for a left-sided centre-back, pressures the Hull defender. It goes long and deep and Reither crosses marvellously from the right. But it goes over everyone. Fulham retain possession though, and build slowly again.
Parker wins a throw in which Riise will launch long. It's defended but comes back to Amorebieta, who hammers a shot in low. Hull clear it long and Fulham start again from the back.
Hull continue to cross towards Jelavic, but Fulham continue to defend it well. Jelavic does some frustrated arm waving.
Holtby has a difficult balance to strike between finding space and drifting into areas of the pitch where nothing is actually happening. It's not a thing he's doing well so far, and Rodallega looks isolated.
El Mohamady crosses low and with pace. Hangeland cuts it out and Amorebieta lumps it up towards Holtby or Rodallega, but it drifts out.
Fulham are closing well and pushing Hull back, but when they win the ball, they dither.
Livermore finds Long, who plays it to Jelavic, who in turn nods it to Livermore, who smashes it high, wide, and handsome. But that was decent from Hull.
It's all a bit disappointing so far. Hull are content to launch long balls from deep and Fulham so far are defending them well. Fulham are controlling the tempo better, but once they get into Hull's third, it all gets a bit stale.
Hangeland gets caught by Jelavic's arm but that was a genuine effort to contest the high ball. Hangeland is nails and waves away any interest.
Fulham are defending with greater organisation and confidence, which is good because Hull are now seeing more of the ball. Stockdale claims well from an El Mohamady cross and Fulham build again, through Diarra and out to the left as normal.
Yellow CardNikica Jelavic
From the resulting free kick, which was poor by Holtby, Hull City build from the back. Livermore is robbed by the impressive Sidwell, but the move breaks down and Huddlestone sends Hull forward again. Fulham defend it well.
Jake Livermore gets a savage clearance from Brede Hangeland straight in the head and falls over. Jelavic gets booked for a late challenge on Reither. That was silly, but the forward has a history of lunging in a bit.
Holtby is starting to get a bit of freedom to roam. He's popping up hither and thither. Fulham are playing with a bit of tempo and keeping the ball well. Attacking is probably their best form of defence too. They've not mustered a proper chance since that Rodallega miss, though.
Yellow CardAhmed El Mohamady
Stockdale has to sprawl low and right to save a Shane Long scuffed shot. Fulham are the better attacking side, but my, they look a bit confused at the back.
El Mohamady runs past Amorebieta at real pace. The big Spaniard pulls out of the challenge and El Mohamady goes down as if shot. There was no contact and the Egyptian is rightly booked for diving. Good spot by the linesman on that side.
El Mohamady wins a throw-in running at Riise. Hull City are being harried in possession and El Mohamady swings in a long, deep cross. Jelavic heads gently straight at Stockdale.
RODALLEGA! A fine ball from Diarra found Holtby who plays it wide. Amorebieta crosses again well and Rodallega can only air-kiss the ball rather than thump it in from five yards out. Big early chance.
Fulham are seeing more of the ball, especially on the left with Riise and Amorebieta pushing higher. A good cross from the latter comes to nothing as Rodallega also slips on the turf.
Cagey is the word. Both teams are set up to absorb pressure and nullify each other and, tactically, that's what's happening. Holtby attacks but slips over and Hull start again.
Neither side has been stretched in this opening few minutes. Fulham have generally kept the ball better, but Hull are frustating them well.
Livermore snaps into a tackle and concedes a free-kick. Hull City have done little more than break up attacks so far. Fulham use their free-kick to retain possession, but their attack ends with a free-kick against Holtby for a Zlatan-style kung-fu kick imitation.
Diarra will sit for Fulham, playing it short and wide to his full-backs. He sets up and move which culminates in Rodallega playing it back to Riise, who flashes a shot wide.
It's brilliant to see Steve Harper playing. He hammers it up to Meyler who snaps a shot without being closed down. Stockdale gathers easily. Fulham cannot afford to allow space around that area.
Both teams playing it about a bit. Hull attack through the centre and Sidwell breaks it up and tries to get Fulham some time on the ball. Parker fouls a Hull player to halt the progress.
And they're off! Fulham are in white and Hull in a fetchingly French looking blue kit with red socks.
The teams are out and looking serious. But this is a serious game. Brede Hangeland's fearsome jawline only confirms this.
Fulham have no defenders on the bench, so if they make a change in defence they will have to go to a back four. Both benches bristle with attacking options though and this game is unlikely to end goalless.
Where Fulham could almost be a 5-4-1, Hull City's 3-5-2 is a more attacking take on the formation. Meyler will push high and float in the space behind the two strikers, of whom Long will drop deeper and drive at Fulham's back three.
Both teams playing a 3-5-2, but Fulham's looks more defensive. Riise and Reither are attacking full-backs rather than out-and-out wing-backs, and Parker and Diarra are both quite deep midfielders. Holtby's ability to drop into space and feed the two R's to cross to Rodallega, who has three goals in two games for Fulham, will be crucial.
And the subs: Jakupovic, Koren, Aluko, Quinn, Fryatt, Boyd, Sagbo.
Here is the Hull City line-up (3-5-2): Harper; Bruce, Chester, Davies; Rosenior, Meyler, Huddlestone, Livermore, El Mohamady; Jelavic, Long.
And the subs: Stekelenburg, Kasami, Richardson, Dejagah, Woodrow, Roberts, Bent.
Here is the Fulham starting line-up (3-5-2): Stockdale; Heitinga, Hangeland, Amorebieta; Reither, Diarra, Parker, Sidwell, Riise; Holtby, Rodallega.
So there's everything to play for here at the Cottage this afternoon and you can catch it all here live.
The Tigers will also be glancing nervously over their shoulders at the good form of the teams below them as well as having an eye on an upcoming Wembley showdown with Arsenal, aware that wins in the league will give them momentum too.
Hull are in 14th on 36 points but it's fair to say they need a win to guarantee safety, especially with a now potentially tough away trip to Old Trafford AND a Cup Final on the horizon.
Fulham need a win to continue their recent good run if they are to avoid relegation, especially given Sunderland's miraculous result against Chelsea. Felix Magath, aka the Torturer, has dragged some good recent performances from his side, but they need to grab a home win to continue the momentum.
The last team these teams met, Fulham were on the receiving end of a 6-0 shellacking up north and that was before in-form strikers Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long joined the Tigers.
My name is Alex Stewart and I'll be your host this afternoon with build-up, team news, and all the action from this relegation humdinger.
Good afternoon, and welcome to LIVE updates from Craven Cottage as FULHAM take on HULL CITY
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