Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday February 22 2009
Fulham picked up maximum points against West Brom with an emphatic win courtesy of goals from Zamora and Johnson.
For the fixture, Dickson Etuhu, Paul Konchesky and Andrew Johnson all recovered from injury to take their places in the starting eleven.
Zoltan Gera, unfortunately, missed out on a chance to take on his former club through injury but Craven cottage was pleased to see Diomansy Kamara named amongst the substitutes.
How Fulham didn`t go into the interval leading will remain one of the great unanswered questions of the season.
Three times the home side hit the woodwork as the West Brom defence buckled under serious pressure.
The first time came as early as the 3rd minute after a free kick had been awarded after Andrew Johnson had been fouled just outside the area and slightly towards the left. Danny Murphy executed what he thought was the perfect free kick but a combination of the finger tips of Scott Carson and the post kept the effort out.
The second time came after twenty-four minutes when Clint Dempsey unleashed a great shot, from thirty yards, that beat Carson all ends up but cannoned to safety off the bar.
Nine minutes later, Murphy again struck the woodwork when his curling effort beat Carson but once again the keeper was left to reflect on his woodwork coming to the rescue.
But it wasn`t only the woodwork that rescued West Brom, Bobby Zamora, wasted a golden opportunity to bury a Davies head down by blazing wildly over and Carson pulled off a superb save to deny Dickson Etuhu when the returning from injury midfielder unleashed a superb volley.
As for West Brom, the visitors exerted only the slightest pressure and their best opportunity came when Fortune tested Schwarzer with a shot from an acute angle that the keeper easily dealt with.
Hopefully, Fulham wouldn`t be left to rue those great chances created in the first half.
The second half saw West Brom put up a more spirited display and Fortune had two good chances to put the visitors ahead. The first saw him head over when well placed and then when a Brunt cross found him unmarked in front of goal he hesitated and a combination of Schwarzer and Konchesky smothered his effort.
Just past the hour mark Fulham deservedly took the lead. Pantsil delivered a great ball into the six yard box, Johnson missed his header but Zamora was present to knock it home from close range. It was his first goal in twenty-one games and only his second Premier League goal of the season.
Having gone behind West Brom tried to get back on level terms. Schwarzer had to react to save a Koren shot from outside the area and Valero shot wide from a similar distance.
Memories of the first half and the woodwork being rattled returned when Hangeland headed a Davies corner against the cross bar but a minute later the game was more or less wrapped up when Johnson netted.
The goal followed good work from Zamora forcing Carson into a save but the ball fell for Johnson to whip it home from about eight yards for his sixth league goal of the season.
Fulham had chances to stretch their lead through Johnson, who forced Carson into a save from a narrow angle, Dacourt, who saw his shot deflected wide, Davies, who had a shot blocked before the game ended with West Brom scorning a great chance to peg a goal back and set up a tense final two minutes of stoppage time.
Hangeland was penalised for tripping Bednar but Schwarzer dived to his left and saved the resulting spot-kick from the very person who had been fouled.
A good performance, a good result and well done to the lads for bouncing back after the horror show at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.
Date:Sunday February 22 2009
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