Premier League - Fulham fight back to beat Arsenal

Mon, 02 Jan 19:28:00 2012

Bobby Zamora scored a dramatic late winner for Fulham as the Cottagers beat 10-man Arsenal 2-1 in their Premier League clash at Craven Cottage.

Fulham 2 Arsenal 1

Laurent Koscielny scored midway through the first half to give Arsenal the lead, but after being reduced to 10 men when Johan Djourou was sent off former Arsenal trainee Steve Sidwell headed home the equaliser five minutes from time.

A share of the points was no less than what Martin Jol's side deserved for their second-half performance – even before Djourou's red card 12 minutes from time – but they did not settle for that and deep into stoppage time claimed a third home win over their London rivals in six years when Zamora volleyed home from close range.

The victory sends Fulham up two places to 12th, while Arsenal missed out on the chance to move back up to fourth place following Chelsea's win at Wolves earlier on Monday.

Right from the off Arsenal looked the most likely side to score when Gervinho met Theo Walcott's cross but could only fire over the bar.

The Ivorian - who will soon be departing for the African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon – then went close again after he met Robin van Persie's corner at the far post but fired off target from a tight angle.

Gervinho had a penalty claim turned down by referee Lee Probert when he skipped past Philippe Senderos before going to ground, seemingly after slight contact with the former Arsenal defender.

Fulham had their chances through a low Zamora strike and Brede Hangeland header, but Arsenal took a deserved lead on 22 minutes via Koscielny's first goal of the season.

Aaron Ramsey's chipped cross took a big deflection off Stephen Kelly, and the French defender found himself completely unmarked to head past goalkeeper David Stockdale.

Stockdale did brilliantly to keep the deficit at one goal just moments after the restart when he first denied Ramsey from close range before making a point-blank reaction stop from his own player in the ensuing melee in the six-yard box.

Fulham's Costa Rican striker Bryan Ruiz had one of his more impressive showings since joining the Cottagers in the summer, and he came close to scoring an excellent goal when he held off Alex Song using strength and skill before firing just past Wojciech Szczesny's near post.

The second half saw an improved Fulham take their visitors to task with Sidwell heading over the bar soon after the restart.

Just after the hour mark the Cottagers spurned two excellent chances to draw level as Senderos headed wide with Szczesny in no man's land at a set piece before Ruiz dug out an inviting cross that Clint Dempsey glanced wide of the far post.

Djourou had already picked up a yellow card for a clumsy sliding tackle from behind on Moussa Dembele, and – just after Ruiz had been denied what looked a certain goal by Szczesny's legs – the Swiss international picked up a second booking for hauling down Zamora on the edge of the box.

Fulham made the most of their one-man advantage, and were aided by further questionable decision-making from Szczesny.

The Polish goalkeeper came off his line to meet a corner but could only flap at it. Senderos headed the ball back into the danger zone and Sidwell – who never made a first-team appearance for Arsenal after coming through the club's youth system – was on hand to head home the equaliser.

Not content with a mere point, the Cottagers pushed for a winner which duly arrived in the second of three added minutes.

Stephen Kelly's cross was sent back into the mixer and Zamora – who has endured an injury-blighted season – reacted quickly to drill a low, left-footed volley for his first goal since October and fully exorcise the ghost of their last match at home, a 5-0 drubbing by Manchester United.

Tony Mabert - on Twitter @tony_mabert / Eurosport

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