Stoke 2 Fulham 0
Any hopes Martin Jol had of hanging on for a 0-0 draw, were blown away by two goals in the last ten minutes at the Britannia Stadium.
On the back of the 6-0 rout over Queens Park Rangers, Martin Jol made only one change to his starting eleven at the Britannia Stadium with Aaron Hughes, having recovered from injury, coming in for Zdenek Grygera.
Fulham had an early chance when Johnson won a corner but despite it being put into the danger area Sidwell and Hangeland couldn`t force it home. Buoyed by the win last time out, Fulham were looking confident stroking the ball around maintaining possession.
The possession game almost saw Fulham take the lead when John Arne Riise hit a delightful shot that flew just over the bar.
Stoke though had a glorious chance to open the scoring when a Pennant ball into Crouch saw the gangly striker, in a great position, completely miss his volley.
Fulham were now opened in their own half with Pennant and Etherington, on the flanks, proving lively.
Moussa Dembele picked up an injury and had to be replaced by Damien Duff with thirty-six minutes gone. Although there had been some interesting moments, the fare served up so far wasn`t exactly anything to write home about.
As half time approached our hosts had a great chance to take the lead, Pennant, drifting inside, played a one-two with Crouch but although his shot beat Mark Schwarzer, it went the wrong side of the posts for the home side.
Half Time - Stoke 0 Fulham 0
Stoke were straight on the attack at the start of the second half. Forays forward were rare but a Riise long throw almost put AJ in but Zamora was given offside.
A Delap long throw saw Etherington and Crouch almost score but the Fulham rearguard continued to, somehow, hold firm. At times it looked as if the rearguard would be broken; one effort saw Delap, via a deflection, hit the post.
With time ebbing away, Danny Murphy and Matthew Upson were involved in a handbags melee which required Martin Atkinson to restore order.
Under the cosh for so long, Fulham could have snatched a goal when a Riise free-kick cannoned to safety off of the crossbar, although Fulham had a Murphy clearance, off the line, from a Wilson effort to keep the score level.
Sadly, the rearguard did buckle, on 80 minutes, when Stoke won a free kick. Delivered into the box, Jonathan Waters guided it home from close range after a Matthew Etherington shot looked to be going wide.
Any chances of a comeback were ruined when Stoke doubled their lead through Rory Delap. Pennant delivered a free kick into the area and there was Delap to head home.
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