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Fulham 1-0 Bolton Cham 46 1516 - GetWestLondon

last updated Tuesday 10th May 2016, 11:30 AM


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Dimitri Kondonis at GetWestLondon


Fulham (0) 1-0 (0) Bolton


Tom Cairney ensured Fulham ended their seemingly never-ending season on a high note with a 1-0 win over Bolton at Craven Cottage.

The Whites missed a whole horde of chances, with Matt Smith and Ross McCormack the biggest culprits in the first half.

But Cairney struck in the final 15 minutes to give the hosts a much-needed boost after a season of frustration.

And the win ensured the Cottagers finished in 20th - a scant consolation for Slavisa Jokanovic's men.

Ryan Fredericks, a constant early threat, nearly created an opening after just two minutes when his cross was met by Matt Smith six yards out, only for Lawrie Wilson to deny him with a terrific block.

Just a few minutes later, Ryan Tunnicliffe had his overhead kick from a corner block, before Dan Burn had his poke deflected wide.

Whites fans might have been forgiven for thinking a goal was imminent when the hosts countered with four on two in their favour, only for Cairney to be denied the final pass.

Matt Smith then had the best individual chance for Fulham on 31 minutes when he left his marker on the ground and raced through on goal, only to drive his shot wide of the near post.

Fulham were unfortunate not to be ahead when Cairney’s shot from the edge of the box was remarkably tipped wide by Ben Amos.

Centre-back Burn, reinstated to the starting 11 after last weekend’s Brentford defeat, then hit the woodwork with Amos beaten after strolling forward unchallenged and hitting an effort from the edge of the box.

Scottish forward McCormack should have fired the Whites ahead on the stroke of half time after a fine pass from Tunnicliffe, only to find Amos’ welcoming arms.

Emile Heskey should have done better when he headed over from inside the box, before Smith was equally guilty - nodding wide from McCormack’s back-post chip.

Emerson Hyndman joined McCormack and Smith in testing the Bolton defence, only to be rewarded with a corner before Cairney finally broke the deadlock, curling home after Amos kept out Smith.

And here are five things we learned after a dominant win.

Ryan Fredericks fitness woes re-emerge
The right-back was Fulham’s most obvious threat in the opening 15 minutes, marauding down the right flank and constantly getting in behind Bolton.

But the former Spurs man has struggled with injury since joining the club in August last year, and poses a frustrating question for Jokanovic.

Does he stick with the 23-year-old and work on his fitness? Or should he cut his losses and sell the electric paced man signed from Bristol City in the summer?

Jokanovic is finalising his defensive jigsaw
The Fulham manager is still unsure on his preferred defensive line-up, after re-introducing Shaun Hutchinson, Ryan Fredericks and Dan Burn.

The trio were left out in the 3-0 thumping at Brentford last weekend, and Jokanovic was eager to get another look at them before the summer transfer window.

The boss will want to solidify his transfer plans early on as a long summer overhaul surely beckons for the most leaky defence still remaining in Championship.

Matt Smith stakes his claim
The former Leeds target man started against Bolton as Jokanovic was forced to leave out Moussa Dembele through injury.

With Dembele seemingly set for a summer exit - the Frenchman is out of contract - the Fulham boss will surely want to analyse his options ahead of next season.

And Smith could yet prove a useful option for the Whites, with the 26-year-old more than capable of terrorising Championship defenders if Fulham opt for a more direct route to goal.

Fulham’s profligacy proves costly?
The Cottagers were one of the highest scoring Championship teams this season, and yet still finished 21st.

Clearly the hosts were no strangers to finding the net, and defensive frailties have really cost them a chance at a successful season.

But against Bolton they missed a plethora of chances - including a four-on-two counter attack which really should have been scored.

Jokanovic will be hoping to make his side more lethal over the summer, though he may struggle with the imminent departure of Dembele.

Luke Garbutt returns
The on-loan Everton defender made his return to the pitch as a substitute in the final quarter of the game.

Despite a confident start to his Fulham career, the 22-year-old has endured a frustrating season since, with injuries and lack of form adding to the Whites’ woes.

But he came back against Bolton and added an extra impetus in the hosts’ push for a goal.

Could Jokanovic be tempted to re-sign the Blues defender next season?























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