West Brom hit for six
Saturday, Jan, 11th 2006, 3pm
Fulham hammered West Brom 6-1 at the Cottage yesterday as everything went right for Chris Coleman's side.
In truth, it was a complete and utter annihalation instrumented by the spectacular skills and vision of Radzinski and Malbranque in midfield and the finishing of Helguson and late subsitute, Collin John, with two goals a piece.
Fulham had won seven of the last eight games at home and although a victory for them looked more likely, few could have predicted the sensational display that they put on.
It looked like being a bad day at the office for the Baggies after only four minutes when Helguson scored from the most basic of route one build-ups. Niemi's long clearance was headed on by Brian McBride and Helguson muscled in to place the ball past Kuszczak.
However, Fulham were not to have it all their way in the first half as West Brom battled away in the midfield to try and gain a foothold in the game. Nigel Quashie looked dangerous throughout the game and tested Niemi with three long-range efforts that Niemi did well to save.
But Fulham finished the half in confident mood, with Heider Helguson adding his second of the game. Simon Elliot to the free-kick on the left-side of the area aand Helguson rose above everyone to head powerfully past Kuszczak.
Fulham scored again two minutes into the second half to kill off any chance West Brom thought they might have of pulling themselves back into the game.
The ball was played neatly about in midfield before Malbranque spotted Radzinski's run and after he avoided the offside trap, Radzinski, in acres of space, took the ball down with a wonderful touch and lobbed the oncoming Kuszczak for Fulham's third. It was Radzinski's first Premiership goal of the season and his first league goal since May and his celebration earned him a booking for removing his shirt.
Only eleven minutes later and Fulham had scored again. Helguson will want to claim it but in truth his shot from 25 yeards would have been no way near the target but for the deflection off Curtis Davies that wrong-footed Kuszczak.
The afternoon could only get worse for the West Brom 'keeper after he suffered an injury and had to be taken off to be replaced by Russell Hoult who made his first appearance for the Baggies since last May.
In the 83rd minute Fulham got their fifth after fantastic work from Radzinski on the left. His dribble and cross found Collins John running in to steer home his first.
The Baggies got some consolation after good work by Greening on the edge of the area led to the ball being slid through for Kevin Campbell to hit first time past Niemi after some poor defending on 85.
The game was still not over though and after more clever play from Fulham another Radzinski ball found Collins John who again found the corner of the net for his second of the game and Fulham's sixth.
All in all it was a demolition but one that in truth, Coleman's inventive and hard-working side thoroughly deserved.