Sat 07 Apr 12
at 17:27 PM
Report: Bolton 0 Fulham 3
Bolton's three-game winning run in the Premier League came to an end as Fulham took all the points back to West London, winning 3-0 at the Reebok.
Clint Dempsey's first-half brace set the Cottagers on their way, with the American scoring a 30-yard free-kick and a close-range header.
The Whites were more of an attacking threat after half-time as they looked to find a route back into the contest.
But on an afternoon of frustration, Fulham completed the win when Mahamadou Diarra converted inside the six-yard box ten minutes before the end.
Owen Coyle had made one change to his team from the win at Wolves seven days prior. Darren Pratley was declared fit after the cut on his knee, sustained in the Tottenham FA Cup tie, had healed. Ivan Klasnic dropped to the bench as a result, with Wanderers reverting back to the 4-5-1 formation.
It was a fairly even opening to proceedings. Both teams felt each other out but created very little in the way of goalscoring opportunities.
On-loan winger Ryo Miyaichi went close for Bolton when he looked to round-off a slick passing move involving Mark Davies, Darren Pratley and David Ngog, however his side-footed effort from just inside the area flew over the crossbar.
Fulham's first real effort on goal came about when Damien Duff, operating on the right wing, cut in and fizzed an effort narrowly wide of the target, with Adam Bogdan scrambling to his left to make sure that he had it covered.
The visitors thought they had taken the lead in the midpoint of the first half when Duff, again drifting in from the touchline, hit another effort towards goal. It took a deflection and landed at the feet of Dempsey, but his finish from close-range was correctly disallowed for offside.
There was no about Dempsey's next effort as he put Fulham ahead with a brilliant free-kick from 30 yards out on the half-hour mark.
After Ngog had tripped Mahamadou Diarra, the American stepped up and smashed the ball into the top corner, leaving Bogdan with very little chance as he dove full stretch to his left.
Following the deadlock-breaking goal, Wanderers responded positively. Ngog and Reo-Coker forced low saves from Schwarzer in the moments leading up to the interval.
But the Whites were hit with a sucker punch on the stroke of half-time when Dempsey netted his second of the afternoon, ghosting into space in the six yard box to plant Duff's cross past Bogdan with a clinical header.
Owen Coyle shook things up at half-time by bringing both Kevin Davies and Chris Eagles on for Ryo and Pratley, with a shift in tactics to 4-4-2.
Eagles' first involvement was to a whip a free-kick narrowly wide of the upright after Alonso had been upended a couple of yards outside the Fulham box, two minutes after the restart.
Petrov volleyed wide and Ngog headed over, while the French striker had a strong penalty claim turned down when he took a tumble under a challenge from Brede Hangeland.
But as much as Wanderers pushed forward, they became susceptible on the counter-attack.
Bogdan twice produced excellent saves to deny Duff, and Dempsey wasted a glorious chance to net his hat-trick when he curled inches wide having broken clear.
Ivan Klasnic was thrown as the Whites continued to press for a way back in the game. Kevin Davies was causing problems in the final third but nothing dropped for a Wanderers player.
Nine minutes from time, the Cottagers effectively wrapped-up the three points when Diarra scored his first goal in English football with a close-range tap-in.
The former Real Madrid midfielder timed his run to perfection, converting at the near post after John Arne Riise has centred from the left.
The Whites knew that it wasn't to be their day when Eagles blazed Petrov's cross over the bar when unmarked six minutes before the end.
Despite the loss, a consolation for Bolton is that Blackburn and Wigan also fell to defeats in their respective matches in the battle at the bottom of the table.
Bolton: Bogdan, Alonso, Ream, Wheater, Ricketts, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Pratley (Kevin Davies 46), Mark Davies, Ryo (Eagles 46), Ngog (Klasnic 60) (Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Sordell, Knight)
Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Riise, Hangeland, Ruiz (Etuhu 74), Duff (Frei 84), Hughes, Diarra, Dempsey, Dembele, Kacaniklic (Trotta 88) (Subs not used: Stockdale, Baird, Senderos, Simon Davies)