Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday November 18 2012
A game of two halves saw Fulham crash to a home defeat although they had to play the last hour with ten men after Brede Hangeland was sent off.
For the fixture, Martin Jol opted for the following starting eleven:-
Starting XI - Schwarzer, Riether, Riise, Hangeland, Hughes, Sidwell, Karagounis, Kacaniklic, Duff, Ruiz, Berbatov.
Sunderland got the action underway at Craven Cottage and it was our visitors who had the better of the first few minutes but it was Fulham that created the first chance when Berbatov headed wide from a Duff cross.
Schwarzer saw his goal peppered with long shots from Larsson and Sessegnon, the former of which he saved and the latter of which sailed over the cross bar. Berbatov and Sidwell combined with a shot from the latter barely testing Mignolet.
Thirty minutes into what had been a half devoid of chances Jol was forced to make a change bringing on Rodallega for the injured Kacaniklic. Matters then went from bad to worse when Brede Hangeland harshly received a straight red card for a perceived two-footed lunge on Cattermole.
Down to ten men, Fulham pushed forward and Mignolet was forced into a save from a low shot from Berbatov. Jol, following the dismissal of Hangeland, withdrew Karagounis to insert Senderos alongside Hughes.
Sunderland pressed and Hughes did well to thwart a thrust that had seen Sessegnon break into the box. Hughes then set up Berbatov in the other area but the Bulgarian`s shot flashed the wrong side of the post.
With two minutes of stoppage time negotiated half time was with us.
Half Time - Fulham 0 Sunderland 0
No further changes were made at half time and three minutes into the half the woodwork was rattled when a Riise shot was deflected onto the bar but Sunderland were to break quickly and take the lead through Steven Fletcher with the summer signing notching his sixth of the season. The goal came after Adam Johnson had cleared Riise`s shot that had rebounded off the bar and his ball saw Fletcher race through and beat Schwarzer.
Matters got worse when Ruiz looked to have picked up a hamstring injury. Petric replaced Ruiz and almost scored immediately, firing over from close range. Down the other end Schwarzer pulled off a great save to deny Johnson.
Mladen Petric proved to be an inspired substitution when he equalized after sixty-two minutes hooking home, from close range, a Duff cross. But the lead was to last a mere two minutes when Carlos Cuellar restored Sunderland`s lead powering home a header from a corner.
Five minutes later the game was put out of Fulham`s reach when Stephane Sessegnon curled a shot past Schwazer from twenty-five yards out. Fulham tried to respond but a Rodallega free kick was fired straight into the wall. Petric also had a good chance but Mignolet pulled off a great save.
Date:Sunday November 18 2012
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