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Match Report

 

Posted Thu 28 Apr 11 at 00:03 AM

Report: Fulham 3 Wanderers 0

Fulham avenged their defeat against Wanderers in the FA Cup fifth round by turning out 3-0 winners in the Premier League rematch at Craven Cottage.

A volley inside the first 15 minutes by Clint Dempsey set the Cottagers on their way before the American converted from close-range just minutes after half-time to double his and Fulham's tally.

Brede Hangeland nodded his side into a three-goal lead midway through the second half, however Johan Elmander and Gary Cahill endured less fortune inside the Fulham box with headers that landed just wide of the mark.

Despite the defeat, Wanderers remain in eighth spot in the table, hot on the heels of Everton who sit just one point above them.

Fabrice Muamba Fulham

Owen Coyle was forced into making one change to his starting line-up for the trip to West London. An ankle injury sustained in the win over Arsenal kept Daniel Sturridge out of the action, and that resulted in a tactical reshuffle as Johan Elmander reverted back to his customary central striking role, with super sub Tamir Cohen earning only his second start of the season in central midfield.

It was the Israeli's partner in the middle of the park, Fabrice Muamba, who could have put Bolton one goal ahead within the opening 60 seconds.

Wanderers were lightning-quick out of the blocks and when Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander combined down the right channel, the England Under-21 international could only side-foot the ball into the arms of Mark Schwarzer from the penalty spot mark.

Equally, the hosts too should have made the most of two early opportunities and, indeed, it was hard to believe the game was still scoreless after only five minutes.

Former Trotter Eidur Gudjohnsen did well to release Clint Dempsey, who brought a fine low save from Jussi Jaaskelainen, before roles were reversed in the next attack when the American international crossed for the blonde haired striker, who somehow ballooned the ball over with his left foot from just six yards out.

Even in the early stages Dempsey had looked Fulham's stand-out player, and it was his crashing volley which broke the deadlock with a quarter of an hour played.

A corner from the left was only half-cleared and when Chris Baird turned the ball back into the penalty box, Dempsey was well positioned to volley high into the top corner of the net from 12 yards out.

The early goal helped to put the wind in the sails of the home side and they weren't afraid to pepper Jaaskelainen's goal as they went in search of a second.

Dempsey and Carlos Salcido blazed just over from promising positions, while Jaaskelainen made world-class saves to beat away Mousa Dembele's thunderbolt and turn Gudjohsen's clipped finish against the post.

Despite the Cottagers' early dominance, Wanderers too looked dangerous whenever they ventured forward.

Elmander was a whisker away from making contact on Chung-Yong Lee's cross-shot and Gretar Steinsson brought a good save out of Schwarzer with a shot from the edge of the box that seemed destined for the top corner.

It was proving to be a real open encounter and the Australian stopper made another competent save to stop Matt Taylor's low curler on 40 minutes - just moments after the Wanderers midfielder had been called into defensive duties to deflect Dembele's skidding attempt over the crossbar.

Arguably Bolton's best chance of the first half fell to the feet of Cohen a minute before the interval. Unfortunately for the midfielder, the opportunity inside the penalty area arrived on his weaker right foot and he was unable to get enough purchase on his effort, with Schwarzer making a routine save.

As with the first half, Fulham enjoyed a fast and frantic opening after the restart and that culminated in their second goal of the evening on 48 minutes.

Moments after Dembele had seen a long-range effort ricochet off the crossbar, Dempsey doubled his tally with a tap-in.

A quickly-taken corner caught the Wanderers defence off-guard and the Fulham frontman converted past Jaaskelainen via his right knee.

Another set-piece led to Fulham's third goal of the evening on 64 minutes as Brede Hangeland towered to meet Danny Murphy's free-kick from the right. The giant defender nipped in front of Cahill to plant his finish high in the corner.

Trailing by three goals, Bolton were really up against it and their cause wasn't helped when Steinsson had to leave the field injured midway through the second half. David Wheater was the Icelander's replacement, with the former Middlesbrough man slotting in at right-back.

It was the first of three quick substitutions by Coyle as he sought a means of getting his team back into the game. Ricardo Gardner - making his 400th appearance in a Bolton shirt - and Ivan Klasnic were the two other attack-minded changes.

Bolton did offer a late rally as Elmander and Cahill nodded inches wide of the upright in successive attacks. The Swede's header powered just over the crossbar and the England centre-half's glancing touch skimmed the far post, but it was too little too late for Owen Coyle's men.

Fulham felt that they should have had a fourth late on when Zamora latched on to a high hanging cross from Simon Davies and rifled high past Jaaskelainen, however referee Mr Taylor cancelled out the strike for handball.

The result more or less guarantees that these two teams will once again meet for the 11th successive Premier League season during the 2011/12 campaign as, with four matches remaining, Bolton sit 12 points above the drop zone and Fulham eight.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Salcido, Hangeland, Baird, Sidwell, Murphy (Etuhu 79), Hughes, Gudjohnsen (Johnson 84), Dempsey, Simon Davies, Dembele (Zamora 68) (Subs not used: Stockdale, Kelly, Senderos, Kakuta)

Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson (Wheater 65), Robinson, Cahill, Knight, Taylor, Chung-Yong, Cohen, Muamba (Gardner 71), Elmander, Kevin Davies (Klasnic 71) (Subs not used: Bogdan, Petrov, Rodrigo, Blake)

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