Saturday 13 December 2008, 3:00pm at Britannia Stadium, Stoke
Barclays Premier League
Stoke City
Stoke City
0
Fulham FC
Fulham
0
An uninspiring match saw neither Stoke or Fulham create many chances, but the Whites will be happy to take a hard earned point back to SW6.

11' Yellow Card

Ricardo Fuller Card was given for a foul

5' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Richard Cresswell
Off:Mamady Sidibe

61' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Michael Tonge
Off:Rory Delap

44' Yellow Card

Zoltán Gera Card was given for a foul

0
15
30
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90

Roy Hodgson was forced to reshuffle his starting eleven for Saturday's clash at the Britannia Stadium after Bobby Zamora was ruled out with a hip injury. Clint Dempsey moved into attack alongside Andy Johnson and Zoltan Gera returned to the starting line up at right midfield.

The first half was a bruising encounter and after just five minutes of play the game was brought to a lengthy halt when Sidibe went down following an innocuous tussle with Brede Hangeland in the area. Sidibe's injury was serious enough for the striker to be stretchered from the field of play. Tony Pulis had no option but to introduce Richard Cresswell alongside Ricardo Fuller in attack.

Fulham tamed Stoke's early offensive and the home side's frustration was highlighted after ten minutes of play when Ricardo Fuller was booked by Stewart Atwell following a reckless tackle on Brede Hangeland.

Fuller produced the first shot of the game after 15 minutes of play, a speculative 30 yard drive which sailed high over Schwarzer's cross bar. Two minutes later Fulham's traveling army of supporters were appealing out for a penalty when Johnson went down in the area in front of the away end. Johnson's run across the area was checked by Andy Wilkinson but the decision went in Stoke's favour.

Rory Delap failed to launch his much-lauded throw-in on his first attempt after 20 minutes and the midfielder's aggravated shoulder injury appeared to restrict his movement.

Fulham looked to attack down the channels with Johnson and Dempsey working hard to find the space behind the home side's defence. Stoke's approach was more direct and a sustained bout of pressure after 20 minutes saw a series of long balls into area which were expertly dealt with by Mark Schwarzer.

As half time approached Stoke conceded two consecutive free kicks outside the area but Bullard's delivery failed to find his man. The first clear-cut opportunity of the game fell to Cresswell five minutes before the break. Fuller threaded a neat through ball into the feet of Cresswell, unmarked, 12 yards from goal. The striker attempted to bend the ball past Schwarzer into the far corner of the net but the ball ballooned wide.

Zoltan Gera followed Fuller into Atwell's book just before the break for a deliberate handball. Moments later play was brought to a halt when Hangeland and Fuller collided challenging for a header in Fulham's area. Both players required treatment as the Fourth Official indicated four minutes of added time.

Right before the whistle Stoke almost found a path to goal with two consecutive long range throw-ins. Schwarzer tipped the first over the bar and the fortunately the second was cleared to safety by a resolute defence.

This was not a clash for the football purists but credit to Roy Hodgson's side. The Whites matched Stoke's muscular approach during the first half and went in on level terms.

Fulham started the second half brightly and Jimmy Bullard fired in Fulham's first shot on target after 46 minutes. Some neat play down the right saw Johnson's flick inside the area set Bullard up for the snapshot on the right hand side of the box. Unfortunately the midfielder's attempt lacked the bite to seriously test Sorensen in goal.

After 52 minutes of play Fuller and Pantsil clashed on the touchline and the Fulham defender fell to the ground. Steve Atwell had a word with both players and play resumed but the incident certainly raised the temperature in the Britannia Stadium.

Tony Pulis made his second substitution of the game replacing Rory Delap with Michael Tonge. Moments later Dempsey almost broke the deadlock following a superb piece play by Gera. The Hungarian sent a delightful through ball to Johnson in the area who pulled the ball back to Dempsey from the by-line. The striker's shot on goal from seven yards was deflected over the cross bar for a corner.

A sustained period of Fulham pressure followed Dempsey's effort and Stoke were forced to defend in numbers deep in their own half. Simon Davies tried his luck from distance on 67 minutes but his right-footed effort flew wide of Sorensen's goal. Long-range shots from distance seemed the only way that the deadlock would be broken as both sides failed to create anything of note in the final third. Amdy Faye tried his luck as the final ten minutes approached but 30-yard effort sailed high and wide.

Tony Pulis made his final substitution of the game after 68 minutes, bringing on Vincent Preicard for Danny Pugh in midfield. The home crowd were appealing for a penalty five minutes from time when Fuller went down in the area under pressure but Attwell was unimpressed and dismissed the appeal.

Fulham dominated possession in the final stages and attempted to find a way through Stoke's defensive ranks with their natural passing play. In the final minute of added time Fulham pressed forward with some neat one-touch football and Clint Dempsey ended the move with a sweet 25 yard drive which flew just wide of Sorensen's near post.

Stewart Atwell called time on the game after three minutes of added time. Fulham fought hard for their point on Saturday and return to West London residing in tenth position in the Barclays Premier League on 21 points.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 13 December 2008
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Britannia Stadium, Stoke
Attendance: 25,287

Referee: Stuart Atwell

Stoke City

Line-up: Sørensen; Wilkinson, Faye, Sonko, Higginbotham; Delap (Tonge 61'), Whelan, Amdy Faye, Pugh; Fuller, Sidibe (Cresswell 5')

Unused substitutes: Simonsen, Cort, Davies, Olofinjana, Camara

Fulham

Line-up: Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Davies, Murphy, Bullard, Gera; Dempsey, Johnson

Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Stoor, Kallio, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Gray, Etuhu, Nevland

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Liverpool 17 38
2 Chelsea 16 36
3 Manchester United 15 31
4 Aston Villa 17 31
5 Arsenal 17 30
6 Hull City 17 27
7 Everton 17 25
8 Portsmouth 16 23
9 Wigan Athletic 17 22
10 Fulham 16 21
11 Bolton Wanderers 17 20
12 Middlesbrough 17 20
13 Stoke City 17 20
14 Manchester City 17 18
15 Tottenham Hotspur 16 18
16 West Ham United 16 18
17 Sunderland 17 18
18 Newcastle United 16 16
19 Blackburn Rovers 17 13
20 West Bromwich Albion 17 12
Stoke City (4-4-2)
  • 29Thomas Sørensen
  • 28Andy Wilkinson
  • 25Abdoulaye Faye
  • 16Ibrahima Sonko
  • 3Danny Higginbotham
  • 24Rory Delap
  • 6Glenn Whelan
  • 19Amdy Faye
  • 14Danny Pugh
  • 10Ricardo Fuller
  • 11Mamady Sidibe
Substitutes
  • 1Steve Simonsen
  • 5Leon Cort
  • 21Andrew Davies
  • 4Seyi Olofinjana
  • 23Michael Tonge
  • 16Richard Cresswell
  • 27Henri Camara
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 4John Pantsil
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 3Paul Konchesky
  • 25Simon Davies
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 21Jimmy Bullard
  • 11Zoltán Gera
  • 23Clint Dempsey
  • 8Andrew Johnson
Substitutes
  • 19Pascal Zuberbühler
  • 22Fredrik Stoor
  • 33Toni Kallio
  • 7Seol Ki-Hyeon
  • 17Julian Gray
  • 20Dickson Etuhu
  • 10Erik Nevland