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Fulham 1-2 Cardiff Prem 06 1314 The Guardian

last updated Sunday 29th September 2013, 9:14 PM

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Paul Doyle at The Guardian

Fulham (1) 1 Cardiff (1) 2

Fulham removed the Michael Jackson statue from outside Craven Cottage in midweek and a growing throng of the club's fans now want to topple Martin Jol. Chants of "Jol Out" are becoming as catchy around these parts as anything the King of Pop ever came up with. Even a draw may not have placated the crowd after a contest in which Fulham were made to look inferior to their newly-promoted opponents for long periods, but when Jordon Mutch gave Cardiff all three points with a superb goal in stoppage time, a large choir of Fulham fans vented their anger at the manager.

"I take responsibility, you can't say that the players don't work hard because they do," said Jol, who remains convinced that he will turn things around - and warned the fans calling for his head to be careful what they wish for. "I will always be calm but I hate it when people are getting worried and nervous, especially if they ask the manager to quit. That is awful because you never know what will happen with a new manager. I don't want to see this club at the bottom of the table. I know that we can do a lot better."

Shahid Khan, the businessman who bought Fulham from Mohamed Al Fayed during the summer, will ultimately decide how long Jol gets to reverse the downward trend. Asked how patient he expects his employer to be, Jol paused before replying: "It's not about me."

Khan had declared in the programme that he expected Tuesday's triumphant comeback against Everton in the Capital One Cup to signal an end to the team's sorry home form and "provide the club the lift we need to begin our climb up the Premier League table . it's important we establish Craven Cottage as a difficult, if not impossible, place for clubs to visit." But Cardiff found it to be more fun park than fortress.

New to the top flight they may be, but the Welsh side looked superior from the start: sharper, more fluent and more inventive. The trio of Gary Medel, Kim Bo-kyung and Aron Gunnarsson took control of midfield even before Scott Parker was forced off with an injury for the hosts in the sixth minute. Peter Odemwingie also impressed on his first league start since his summer transfer and in the 12th minute he nudged a lovely pass through to Kim, whose attempt from 10 yards was foiled by Giorgos Karagounis. Fulham were negligent from the ensuing corner as Steven Caulker was allowed to meet Peter Whittingham's delivery at the edge of the six-yard box and power a downward header into the net.

Fulham might have equalised straight away but Darren Bent, who contributed little throughout, mis-controlled a long pass by Karagounis. The action soon returned to the other end as Steve Sidwell had to head an Andrew Taylor header off the line.

Fulham's attempts to repel set pieces were appalling and Ben Turner was given two great chances to increase Cardiff's lead. His first header brought a good save from David Stockdale in the 27th minute and he was left unmarked from the resultant corner but bungled his close-range effort. David Marshall had to tip away a Karagounis drive from distance on the half-hour mark but that was a rare break from Cardiff pressure.

Jol took a bold early decision to turn the tide, changing to a midfield diamond in an effort to regain a foothold in the centre and introducing a second substitute, Bryan Ruiz for Alex Kacaniklic, five minutes before half-time. He was rewarded when Ruiz equalised just before the break with a sumptuous curling shot from 20 yards.

The second half was more evenly contested and Fulham had chances to edge in front, notably when Dimitar Berbatov nodded over from close range.

For Cardiff, Frazier Campbell shot over from seven yards after a low cross from substitute Mutch. In the second minute of stoppage time, Mutch settled the game himself. A punt from Marshall rebounded to him and he struck a wonderful arcing shot into the net from 25 yards. "I was delighted with our performance from the first minute to the last," said Malky Mackay. "After six games we now have a real belief that we are at home in this league." Fulham fans wish they could say the same.

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