Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Sunday April 29 2007
With eighty-four minutes played our survival hopes looked to be improving but at full time devastation was the order of the day!
Two goals in the last four minutes condemned Fulham to their tenth consecutive Premiership game without a win and left relegation to the Championship hanging over the club like a bad dream.
However, in all honesty Arsenal should have had the game sown up in the first half as their cultured football created chance after chance that they then contrived to waste.
After the home side opened the scoring as early as the fourth minute, it never looked good for Fulham. The goal came as a result of Baptiste heading home, from eight yards, an Adebayor cross.
The pressure on Fulham was intense in that first forty-five minutes. After opening the scoring Arsenal forced two corners in quick succession that had the Fulham defence having to answer all sorts of searching questions.
Matters got worse when Brown received an early yellow card but thankfully Niemi was able to keep out Toure`s free kick. Even when Fulham had Arsenal penned back courtesy of a free kick the home side were deadly.
The free kick was cleared and only poor finishing from Baptiste prevented Arsenal opening up a 2-0 lead. The same player then also shot wide when well placed seconds later as Fulham led a charmed life.
Fulham`s first chance came from Rosenior but the full back, who was later to be taken ill, shot wide. Still Arsenal engineered more chances and Niemi had to be in top form to deny Fabregas with a great save.
The keeper then did well to deny Adebayor by keeping out a header and it looked only a matter of time before Arsenal would double their lead. Adebayor saw another shot blocked before Fulham created the last chance of the half.
It came after Radzinski had drove into a dangerous area to win a free kick. From the resulting kick the same player could only head behind when the aim should have been to head back across goal.
If the first half had seen an Arsenal onslaught the second was to be completely different with Fulham making something of a comeback. The early action saw Adebayor waste a good chance before Fulham suddenly believed they could get something out of the game.
Jensen tried his luck from range but shot wide before a Diop shot was deflected for a corner that saw Lehmann grateful to receive a free kick for an innocuous challenge.
Sanchez tried to shake matters up even more bringing on Helguson and Dempsey and withdrawing McBride and Jensen. A couple of minutes later Rosenior had to be replaced by Volz after succumbing to an illness that had saw him throw up at half time.
Ten minutes after the introduction of Volz Fulham equalised. The goal came after Lehmann had rushed out of his goal to clear any danger but the keeper found he was stranded as Davies looked up and lobbed the ball into an open goal.
It was the first goal of Simon Davies` Fulham career and it gave us renewed hope that we could at least get a point. Dempsey saw a header go narrowly over before Fulham got carried away and got caught by a sucker punch.
Pushing forward, desperate to get a winner, holes were left at the back and Arsenal exploited them in style when Adebayor curled an exquisite shot past Niemi. It was harsh on Fulham but things were to get harsher still.
Two minutes later Volz lost his balance and pulled Hleb down and Gilberto gave Niemi no chance with his penalty. At 3-1 it was time to contemplate life in the Championship although, one win, just one win, against either Liverpool or Middlesbrough might be enough to save us.
Date:Sunday April 29 2007
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