Roy Hodgson was forced to make two changes to his regular Premier League starting eleven to face Hull City on Monday evening.
Andy Johnson and Dickson Etuhu were both ruled out through injury. Diomansy Kamara replaced Johnson in attack whilst Chris Baird started alongside captain Danny Murphy in central midfield.
After the international break both teams were desperate to record a victory and move away from the bottom half of the Barclays Premier League table. Former Fulham midfielder Jimmy Bullard had to settle for a place on the bench against the Whites as Phil Brown opted to ease the midfielder back into action.
Brown’s team got Monday night’s game underway and during the opening exchanges both sides were guilty of losing possession all too easily. Neither side created any opportunities of note in the first ten minutes in what was a scrappy opening.
Fulham produced the first incisive move of the game after 15 minutes when Murphy whipped a cross-field ball into Duff’s path down the left flank after some tidy one-touch passing in central midfield.
Duff collected the ball on the touchline and teased his marker to the by-line before floating in a dangerous cross to the centre of the Myhill’s area. Hull managed to clear the ball to safety but the move signalled the start of a strong spell of pressure by the Whites.
The only serious attempt on goal by the visitors during the opening 20 minutes was a speculative 40-yard drive by Geovanni. It was a fair effort by the striker but Schwarzer was never likely to be troubled from such a distance.
Hodgson’s side looked to break Hull down from the flanks and after 24 minutes of play Bobby Zamora was only inches away opening the scoring after latching onto Kamara’s cross from the left flank.
Zamora deserved a goal after timing his run to perfection to beat his marker at the near post. Unfortunately the ball blazed over the cross bar and the game remained level.
Damien Duff, Fulham’s greatest attacking threat during the first half, forced Myhill into making a fine save at his near post after 34 minutes. Duff, having switched flanks with Dempsey, cut inside from the right flank and fired a fine left footed shot on goal.
Duff was certainly causing Hull problems and Dawson was booked 10 minutes from half time for obstructing the winger as he skipped past the defender close to the right touchline.
A minute later Konchesky was in the Referee’s book for a foul on Ghilas as Hull countered. The game had certainly livened up as half time approached, with all the pressure coming at the away end. Fulham were showing far greater ambition and the Whites finally got their reward for their positive play three minutes before the break.
It was Damien Duff who created the chance for Bobby Zamora to head home past Myhill. Duff’s stinging drive from 25 yards was parried away by Myhill but Zamora, closing in on goal, reacted well to head the ball home from close range and earn Fulham a one-nil lead.
Fulham made a bright start to the second half and constantly looking to utilise the skill and pace of Duff down the right flank. The Republic of Ireland international was enjoying another fine game in front of the Cottage faithful.
Fulham certainly moved up a gear in the second half; the pace and sharpness of their play was noticeably brighter as Roy Hodgson’s team looked to strengthen their hold on the game early on.
There was bad news for the Whites on 54 minutes when Danny Murphy appeared to suffer an injury to his right knee. Fulham’s captain received treatment on the side of the pitch and attempted to run the injury off but he was clearly in pain.
After 57 minutes former Fulham midfielder Jimmy Bullard was introduced to the fray, replacing Ghilas. Unfortunately for Fulham, Murphy could not carry on and Roy Hodgson introduced Jonathan Greening in central midfield.
Fulham extended their lead, and deservedly so, after 63 minutes when Diomansy Kamara fired past Myhill from close range.
Bobby Zamora beat the offside trap to latch onto a ball down Hull’s left flank. Zamora, one-on-one with the keeper, selflessly played a square ball along the six-yard line to Kamara, who fired home from six yards to put Fulham two-nil up and firmly in command.
Phil Brown made his second substitution of the match after 68 minutes, introducing Altidore for Hunt. The change did little to alter the state of play; Fulham continued to dominate in the final twenty minutes and Kamara came within a whisker of extending the home side’s lead further after 75 minutes.
A Fulham counter attack saw Roy Hodgson’s side cut through Hull’s defence with ease. Duff and Zamora linked up to set Kamara free on the left hand side of the area. Kamara twisted and turned his marker but the Senegalese international failed with his shot from 12 yards, firing just wide of Myhill’s near post.
Phil Brown made his final change of the game ten minutes from time, replacing Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink with Mendy, but not before Dempsey rose above his marker to head just wide of goal from a Duff corner.
Fulham's Republic of Ireland international received a thoroughly deserved ovasion when Roy Hodgson replaced the winger with Zoltan Gera six minutes from time. Duff was arguably the home side's Man of the Match by a clear margin, followed by the impressive Zamora and Baird.
Goalscorer Kamara was the next to be applauded by the home fans when Hodgson made his final change of the game. The striker was replaced by Erik Nevland in attack and the Norwegian almost made an immediate impact with a strike on goal from the edge of the area. Unfortunately Nevland failed to deliver to required pace and direction to put the Whites further ahead.
It was the final action from a game dominated by the home side. Roy Hodgson's side certainly deserved all three points from Monday night's game which moved Fulham into 12th place in the Barclays Premier League table.