Premier League - Fulham hit five past Wolves

Sun, 04 Mar 15:56:00 2012

Fulham leapt up into the top half of the Premier League table with a 5-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Craven Cottage.

Fulham 5 Wolves 0

Pavel Pogrebnyak continued his excellent start to his career in English football by scoring a first-half brace for the Whites before Clint Dempsey added a third 10 minutes after the break.

Pogrebnyak then struck just past the hour mark to register a perfect hat-trick, scoring one each with his left foot, right foot and head.

Dempsey then added another seven minutes from time to round off a miserable afternoon for Wolves, who allowed their hosts 18 shots on target.

The win carries Fulham up from 13th to eighth in the table, while the heavy defeat sees Wolves drop into the bottom three, below Blackburn Rovers on goal difference.

The Whites completed a run of three straight league wins for the first time since May 2008, and Martin Jol's side have now won six and lost just one of their last eight games at Craven Cottage.

The early loss of Wolves midfielder Karl Henry to injury only aided the flow of play in an open encounter.

John Arne Riise's low strike was saved well by Wayne Hennessey before Damien Duff fired a crisp strike just wide. Richard Stearman then headed wide from a Jamie O'Hara free-kick before Wolves team-mate Christoph Berra had a diving header blocked.

With 36 minutes played, Pogrebnyak continued his scoring run since his January arrival at Fulham with his third goal for the club. The big Russian striker was allowed far too much space at a corner by Ronald Zubar and he headed past Hennessey from close range.

Pogrebnyak then made it two just before the break after Kevin Foley's suicidal pass across the pitch was intercepted. Andy Johnson motored down the right before crossing, and Pogrebnyak finished with aplomb at the near post.

Wolves looked in no better shape as they emerged from the break. Soon after the restart Hennessey's clumsy spill after clattering his own defender led to Johnson flashing the ball across the six-yard box, before a terrible mix-up in the area allowed Johnson to tee up Dempsey, who could only trickle a tame effort on goal.

Dempsey, who scored the winner for USA in their friendly with Italy in midweek, did not have to wait much longer for his goal, however. Danny Murphy picked out his run with a weighted through ball and the American took it around Hennessey before finishing for his eighth goal in his last nine games.

Wolves' misery was compounded when Pogrebnyak struck to claim the match ball. Johnson's low shot was saved by Hennessey, but the Russian was there to send home the rebound.

Pogrebnyak had not scored from open play for parent club Stuttgart at all during the first half of the season, but he has now scored with each of his five shots on target in the Premier League since making his loan move.

Dempsey took his tally for the season to 18 in the final 10 minutes. Mahamadou Diarra, making his debut off the bench for Fulham, laid the ball into Dempsey's path and the American surged into the box before dispatching an emphatic finish inside the near post. Fulham strung together 22 passes in the move which led to that goal, although one of them was a handball from Pogrebnyak.

Nevertheless, the Russian left the field to a standing ovation when he was substituted five minutes from time.

Tony Mabert - @tony_mabert / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account