Baggies continue to climb up table.An unfortunate own goal from Scott Carson wasn't enough to halt West Bromwich Albion's remarkable Premier League start as they beat Fulham 2-1.
For the hosts, Marc-Antoine Fortune continued up front in the absence to injury of summer signing Peter Odeminwingie. Despite his goalscoring antics at Old Trafford, Somen Tchoyi dropped out for tricky winger Jerome Thomas.
Fulham manager Mark Hughes would have been delighted to select Andy Johnson on the substitute's bench as he brought to an end a 10-month lay-off which followed knee surgery. Fellow striker Moussa Dembele began from the start though he was forced off against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, with Danny Murphy not being as lucky.
Clint Dempsey nearly got Fulham off to a flying start in the early going when his shot moved just wide of the post, and Fulham had even more reason to celebrate in the ninth minute when Zoltan Gera's powerful drive hit the post and rebounded off the helpless Scott Carson into his own net. The England international couldn't be blamed for the incident after his initial touch kept out the Hungarian's thunderbolt.
Former Baggies favourite, Diomansy Kamara, almost doubled the advantage just two minutes later. After being played into space, his shot narrowly whistled past Carson's right stick when it really should have been buried past him.
With all the tenacity on show last weekend against Manchester United, the Albion hung in there and were rewarded with an equaliser from Youssouf Mulumbu in the 17th minute. Brunt, the architect of the comeback at Old Trafford, intersected the Fulham defence with a fantastic through ball which the on-rushing defensive midfielder finished with the aplomb of a seasoned hit man.
The two sides continued to trade blows as the half flew by. Giant Swede Jonas Olsson came close to breaking the deadlock as his towering header from a corner was cleared off the line by Chris Baird in the 37th minute.
The Baggies continued to push and were rewarded with a Fortune goal in the 40th minute. A long ball bounced off the striker's back into Brunt's path.
With trademark composure, the Northern Ireland international threaded pass got Thomas behind the Fulham defence. The winger looked up and laid on the simplest of chances for Fortune, who found the net for the first time since his return from a season at Celtic.
The Cottagers couldn't wait for the half-time whistle as they hung on to the ropes. A wild James Morrison strike and Gabriel Tamas header which hit the side netting spared them from falling further behind.
West Bromwich began the second period on the front foot. Pressure was exerted across the pitch and Aaron Hughes was bailed out by Brade Hangeland when his slip and weak back pass played in Fortune in the 52nd minute.
Even apparent injuries to Olsson and Fortune couldn't stop the Baggies tide. Morrison couldn't quite stretch for a cross on the far past.
Substitute Roman Bednar then played in Paul Scharner on the edge of the box. His shot was tipped wide of the post by Mark Schwarzer to keep the Cottagers in the game.
In a welcome boost for the increasingly toothless Fulham attack, Andy Johnson's long awaited return occured when brought on for Kamara in the 58th minute.
A thumping clearance from Carson then left Morrison in the clear on 76 minutes but his effort went wide of Schwarzer's goal. The Scotland international should have trusted his left boot in the circumstance.
As the match ticked towards the final whistle, Fulham were unable to turn increasing possession into opportunities. The win catapulted West Brom into the top four to continue manager Roberto Di Matteo's excellent work.
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