|Two goals late in the first half and the sending off of Andy Johnson ensured that Fulham suffered their first home defeat of the season – but the Whites went down fighting.|
Andrew Johnson Card was given for a foul
Paul Konchesky Card was given for a foul
Danny Murphy Card was given for dissent
Andrew Johnson Card was given for a foul
Brede Hangeland Card was given for a foul
Scott Parker Card was given for a foul
Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Luis Boa Morte
Fulham had largely dominated the opening 45 minutes but West Ham stole the lead with two strikes against the run of play. Despite being a man down in the second half, Fulham continued to hold the upper hand and got back into contention when Danny Murphy scored from the penalty spot. However, despite their best efforts, the Whites were unable to salvage a point.
Fulham fired the first salvo on five minutes; Danny Murphy nodded the ball to Simon Davies inside the West Ham penalty area. The Wales international turned and fired a fierce volley towards goal which flew inches wide of Robert Green’s right hand post.
That chance put Fulham on the front foot and good opportunities for Zamora, with a header, and Johnson soon followed. Johnson’s chance was a particularly cute effort, a long and low pass from Brede Hangeland was dummied by Zamora and Johnson almost squeezed past Upson, unfortunately Green came out to collect.
The clement conditions had the Fulham faithful in good voice but the pace of the game was somewhat subdued due to heat – making for a more tactical contest. Andy Johnson entered the referee’s book on 21 minutes when a mistimed challenge caught Herita Ilunga.
A quick counterattack from Fulham saw Bullard feed the ball to Davies, who in turn played in Zamora. The big striker took a nice first touch and tried to place the ball past Green with the outside of his foot. The ball found a way past the keeper but also the far post. Nonetheless, it was Fulham who had created the better chances in the first half hour.
A corner from Jimmy Bullard on 27 minutes found the head of Brede Hangeland. The Norwegian flashed a header over the bar. The next Fulham chance fell to Bullard from a direct free kick after Simon Davies was body-checked on the edge of the penalty area. Bullard was able to get his effort over the bar but there wasn’t enough dip on the ball to trouble Green.
Bullard soon had another opportunity from an almost identical situation a matter of minutes later – on this occasion he opted to bend the ball low around the side of the wall, producing a save from Green.
Paul Konchesky was the second Fulham name into the book when his forceful challenge on Matthew Etherington was deemed severe enough to warrant a caution.
West Ham snatched the lead against the run of play at the end of the first half through Carlton Cole. The big striker started the move off, winning a header against Brede Hangeland, the ball was worked wide to Etherington who crossed, Schwarzer was only able to palm the ball out to Cole who had the simple task of prodding home from close range. Their lead was doubled moments later when a long ball from Mark Noble played in Etherington, the winger was able to beat the advancing Mark Schwarzer to the ball and prod the ball past the keeper.
A miserable end to the first half was topped off when Andy Johnson was shown his second yellow card after he ran across to charge down a clearance from Lucas Neill. The ball was cleared and minimal contact was made but Referee Marriner clearly did not like the look of the challenge and sent Johnson for an early bath.
Roy Hodgson sent his men out early for the second half as they faced an uphill task to get back into the game. The Whites adjusted to the dismissal of Johnson by providing additional support for the midfield in the shape of Paul Konchesky and John Pantsil. The two fullbacks allowed the Whites to pack the midfield and look to spring a midfielder forward to join Zamora in attack.
Danny Murphy put Fulham back in contention from the penalty spot on 57 minutes when West Ham’s Lucas Neill handled in the area. The Whites Captain stepped up and sent Green the wrong way.
Excellent work from Simon Davies down the left wing almost crafted Fulham’s equaliser. Davies made good ground into the West Ham area before cutting back and delivering a teasing cross which just evaded the leaping Zoltan Gera.
West Ham were certainly not making their numerical advantage count – with no discernable change in the pattern of possession coming about. The lack of an extra body up front for Fulham only resulted in more shots coming from the Whites’ midfield, with Bullard in particular looking to test his shooting boots.
A Bullard free kick on 68 minutes had the West Ham supporters looking on nervously as Zamora rose high in the box and directed his header just wide of Green’s left hand post.
The Whites continued making their possession count and West Ham had to work hard to win the ball back. Bullard and Murphy were instrumental in retain the ball and making full use of the width of the pitch.
Craig Bellamy squandered a golden opportunity to put the match beyond doubt in the 80th minute. With an open goal at his mercy his first attempt was heroically cleared by Hangeland, the ball came back out to Bellamy who blazed his second attempt over.
Despite their best efforts, Fulham were unable to get the equaliser but it was a valiant effort nonetheless.
Competition: Barclays Premier League
Date: Saturday 27 September 2008
Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Referee: Andre Marriner
Line-up: Schwarzer; Pantsil, Konchesky; Murphy; Hughes, Hangeland; Davies, Bullard; Johnson, Zamora; Gera
Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Stoor, Kallio, Baird, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Nevland, Dempsey
Line-up: Green; Faubert, Ilunga; Parker (Boa Morte 90'); Upson, Neill; Behrami, Noble; Carlton Cole, Di Michele; Stanislas
Unused substitutes: Lastuvka, Gabbidon, Davenport, Lopez, Bowyer, Sears
|5||West Ham United||6||12|
|10||West Bromwich Albion||6||7|