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Premier League

  • January 4, 2011
  • • 3:00 PM
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 23654

Fulham 3-0 West Brom: Davies, Dempsey & Hangeland Fire Mark Hughes’ Side Out Of Drop Zone

Fulham 3-0 West Brom: Davies, Dempsey & Hangeland Fire Mark Hughes’ Side Out Of Drop Zone

Home victory sees Cottagers go 13th.

A Simon Davies first half strike and headed goals from both Clint Dempsey and Brede Hangeland has helped to relieve some of the pressure felt by Fulham manager Mark Hughes, as the London side come out of the relegation zone and jump over their opponents West Brom to finish the evening three points off of mid table.

The home side controlled the possession throughout the first half, and dominated in the early period as they looked to exploit the makeshift back four that Roberto Di Matteo was forced to name as the result of his expanding injury list.

During the first quarter of the game, it was all Fulham as they created openings, but never really took them, with firstly Diomansy Kamara going close against his former club, after he received a long ball from Chris Baird.

Minutes later the home fans were clamoring for a penalty as Kamara crossed into the box for Clint Dempsey, as the American striker came onto the ball Youssouf Mulumbu came from behind the Fulham player and eventually got the ball to safety as referee Martin Atkinson waved away the spot-kick claims.

West Brom ran up the other end and nearly took a shock lead as Chris Brunt sent Jerome Thomas clear on goal, but the winger’s strike was saved by Fulham back-up keeper David Stockdale and acrobatically cleared by John Pantsil.

From there on the visitors started to get a foothold in the game, with Graham Dorrans playing a ball though the center of the Fulham defence, looking for Brunt, but Stockdale managed to come out sharply and clear the ball from danger.

On the half hour mark West Brom’s defensive problems went from bad to worse as Marek Cech was forced from the field after a challenge involving Pantsil which meant that the full back had to be replaced by Nicky Shorey in the Baggies back four.

That change gave the home side some fresh hope, as they looked to exploit the newly formed defensive set-up of the visitors, with Dempsey going close, before seeing his strike blocked away for a corner.

Then debut right back James Hurst nearly gift wrapped a goal to Davies, as he failed to clear properly, allowing the winger to strike towards Carson’s net, but his strike went wide of the goal.

Five minutes before the half time whistle Fulham missed their best chance of the game, as center half Brede Hangeland headed a corner wide of goal after being put under pressure by Carson, who punched the defender in the head, while trying to get the ball.

On the stroke of half time the home side went into the lead as Mulumbu lost the ball on the edge of the area to Dickson Etuhu, who passed to Davies and his long range strike went though the hands of Carson and nestled in the top corner of the goal to give Fulham a well deserved lead.

The second half started in the same vain as the first, but Fulham could not get a proper strike on target until ten minutes in when Damien Duff had Carson scrambling, after his strike from the edge of the area whistled by his post.

Minutes later the home side got their second, as a corner was swung in from the left, which Dempsey met head on to double his side’s advantage, powering the header by Carson after teammate Hangeland had failed to connect with the cross.

That goal helped give the home side even more confidence as Duff raced on the right hand side, putting former teammate Shorey under pressure and his cross was cleared by the debut boy Hurst.

The disadvantage that he found his side under made Di Matteo decide to change his team, which the defensive minded Mulumbu being replaced by Marc-Antoine Fortune as the Baggies looked to get back into the game.

Ten minutes after the second goal, Fulham scored once again as Hangeland was left all on his own after Brunt had slipped to allow the big Norwegian to head his side into an unassailable lead, after leaving Carson with no chance as he powered home.

With the superior advantage the home side looked to sit back on their lead, which allowed West Brom to come back into the game, but they could not find a way by Stockdale in the Fulham goal as Thomas had a chance that ended up going wide.

For the reminder of the game the home side were content which their three goal advantage as they made sure that unlike during their previous home game, with fellow strugglers West Ham where they lost a first half lead, this time Mark Hughes side kept a hold of their lead to see the Craven Cottage side jump into 13th place in the Premier League.

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