Premier League - Win puts West Brom in top four
Sat, 23 Oct 16:55:00 2010
Goals from Youssouf Mulumbu and Marc-Antoine Fortune gave West Brom a 2-1 win over Fulham at the Hawthorns that put the Baggies in the top four of the Premier League and extended Fulham’s woeful away record.
An unlucky own-goal from Scott Carson had given the Whites an early lead but the home side refused to compromise their philosophy as they played their way to victory, with all the goals coming in the first half.
Fulham, who have not won away in the league since August 2009, took the lead against the run of play when, on nine minutes, former Baggies midfielder Zoltan Gera’s excellent long-distance drive smacked the inside of the post and went in off the head of the unfortunate Carson.
Until that point West Brom had bossed possession while Fulham barely left their own half, but it should have been 2-0 to the Whites soon after the opener when Diomansy Kamara drilled wide after a dreadful pass across the face of goal by Gonzalo Jara had put him in.
The Baggies continued to play their attractive brand of passing football and it reaped dividends in some style when, on 17 minutes, the impressive Mulumbu capped off a slick move with a low finish past Mark Schwarzer, the livewire Chris Brunt weighing in with a superb assist.
Steven Kelly cleared Jonas Olsson’s header off the line as the home side looked the more likely, and they took the lead on 40 minutes with Brunt again the principle architect.
The Northern Ireland international’s inch-perfect through ball released Jerome Thomas on the left side of the penalty area, the linesman’s flag stayed down and he cut the ball back for Fortune to roll a low finish into the bottom right.
Paul Scharner headed into the side netting in injury time as the half-time whistle blew to the relief of Fulham’s players.
Fulham came closest to an equaliser after the break when a Jonathan Greening corner skipped off the head of Gera but flew clear of the assembled bodies on the edge of the six-yard box.
Mark Hughes spotted the deficiency and brought on Andy Johnson, absent since January with chronic injury problems, as Fulham continued to hem the Baggies back.
But the Baggies could have extended their lead as first Brunt found James Morrison unmarked at the far post but Schwarzer kept out his low finish, then Scharner fired just wide after superb centre-forward play by substitute Roman Bednar, while Thomas was denied a good call for a penalty when Kelly slid into him from behind, taking man before ball.
Fulham had lost their rhythm and when they did get a chance to break their promising counter fell apart when Moussa Dembele again tried a complicated turn with options either side of him.
West Brom almost got a third with an uncharacteristic route-one move as Morrison raced on to a Carson punt that left the visiting defence floundering, the Scot firing just wide as Schwarzer made himself big.
The visitors cranked up the pressure in the latter stages as Carlos Salcido’s excellent cross just missed the outstretched boot of Johnson and Nicky Shorey putting behind as Bjorn Helge Riise prepared to tap in at the far post.
But West Brom were able to weather the late storm to hold on for a deserved win, their fourth so far this season.Reda Maher / Eurosport