Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fulham 1 West Ham 2

Cole made the starting eleven but Bellamy only made the bench.

Fulham started the game the strongest. West Ham consistently gave the ball away in the opening minutes leading to a Davies shot that swerved wide and a Zamora header that missed the goal by about 5 yards. West Ham did manage to create a couple of chances themselves in the opening 15 minutes but Cole and Parker both managed to put them high over the Fulham crossbar.

In the 24th minute Davies played Zamora through but the ex-West Ham man's shot was wide of Green's post. In the 31st minute Neill body-checked Davies on the edge of the box but Bullard fired the free-kick over the bar. A minute later and Bullard had another chance from almost the same spot. This time he fired around the wall and Green saved.

A few minutes before half-time Konchesky made a nasty foul on Etherington. This seemed to anger Etherington as a couple of minutes later Etherington broke through, crossed into the box, Schwarzer palmed the ball out straight to Cole and Cole fired home from 12 yards out. A minute later and Noble put Etherington clear and the winger slotted the ball past Schwarzer. A minute after that and Andrew Johnson fouled Neill and received his second yellow card. So despite being under the cosh for most of the match West Ham went into the break two goals and a player down.

The first effort in the second half fell to West Ham in the 49th minute. Noble shot from twenty yards and Schwarzer managed to palm the ball out for a corner. From the corner the ball fell to Faubert, who fired a shot in which dipped and landed on the top of the net.

Two minutes later it was Ilunga's turn to test Schwarzer. His 19 yard shot was saved by Schwarzer for a corner. From the corner Neill fired in a 12 yard shot but Schwarzer managed to punch it clear.

Now with West Ham dominating play it was Fulham's turn to score against the run of play. In the 59th minute Lucas Neill handballed a Gera header in the box and Fulham were given a penalty. Danny Murphy put the spot kick past Green to make it 2-1.

In the 68th minute Zamora had a glorious chance to equalise from a Bullard free-kick but his glancing header just dropped wide.

In the 74th minute Bellamy came on for Di Michele. In the 78th minute Zamora turned and shot from about 8 yards but the ball flew way over the bar. In the 80th minute Ilunga pulled the ball back to Bellamy, Bellamy's first shot was blocked but the ball bounced back to Bellamy who then fired over from eight yards when he should have put the game beyond Fulham's reach.

In the 87th minute Bellamy pulled the ball back for Cole but his shot from 11 yards was blocked by Hughes. As the game headed into injury time Fulham won a free kick 23 yards out but Bullard fired the ball straight into the wall. Then with seconds remaining Fulham won another free-kick 25 yards out. Bullard again fired straight into the wall.

That was Fulham's last real chance and a bad week for West Ham ended positively.

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