Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday May 5 2007
A first goal in English football from Clint Dempsey was enough to ensure Fulham took the three points that ensured Premiership survival.
The goal, scored, in the sixty-eighth minute, gave Fulham sufficient points to ensure that Wigan and Charlton, plus the already relegated Watford, cannot catch them.
The win was also the first in the Fulham managerial career of Lawrie Sanchez and could go some way in deciding whether Lawrie gets the post permanently.
Indeed, Lawrie seems to have something of an Indian sign over Liverpool and we suspect the win would, deep down, have given him as much pride as the epic goal he scored against them in the FA Cup Final for Wimbledon.
To be honest, perhaps our task was made easier by the fact that Liverpool rested numerous players ahead of their forthcoming Champions League Final against AC Milan.
Today, they started without Gerrard, Carragher, Kuyt and Agger to name but a few. However, you can only beat what is put in front of you. Despite the supposedly weaker opposition and the fact that so much was at stake, Fulham didn`t give the performance expected in the first half.
Cheered on by a crowd of 24,554, the home side looked a little lethargic and struggled to seriously test Reina in the Liverpool goal. Indeed, I was Liverpool that created the best chance of the half.
Pennant delivered a great cross into the danger area and there was Fowler lurking some four yards out. Thankfully, for the Fulham faithful, he couldn`t beat Anti Niemi, in fact he didn`t even trouble the Finnish keeper.
At half time Sanchez no doubt read the players a few home truths and the second half performance was a little better although without many chances being created, a point from a 0-0 draw looked to be the best reward we could get.
Thankfully, one swift move was to change that when Radzinski found the advancing Rosenior. Liam, who had to leave the pitch last Sunday due to illness, looked up and saw Dempsey in space eight yards out. All that was required was a good cross and Liam did just that enabling Dempsey to score past Reina.
Craven Cottage erupted and all that was needed was a competent last twenty-two minutes to see us safely home. Unfortunately, Liverpool had other ideas and started to push us back.
Fulham were defending too deep and were lucky to receive one big slice of luck. Alonso took a free kick and the ball ended up in the back of the net, thankfully the officials rescued us and our dream of going to Middlesbrough, in a safe position, were realised.
At the final whistle a sigh of relief echoed around Craven Cottage. Fulham had survived now it`s time to celebrate. As for next season, let`s spend some time digesting what happened today before we worry about 2007-2008!
Date:Saturday May 5 2007
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