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Fulham 3-0 Stoke Prem25 Guardian

last updated Monday 13th February 2012, 12:39 PM
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Paul Wilson at The Guardian

Fulham (2) 2 Stoke (0) 1

Mark Schwarzer, the 39-year-old Fulham goalkeeper, says he intends to play for at least two more seasons with a view to representing Australia in the 2014 World Cup.

The former Middlesbrough player, who last month committed to stay with Fulham for another season, was largely untroubled as his side saw off Stoke City, with the Russia striker Pavel Pogrebnyak scoring on his debut.

Schwarzer said: "It's great, I am living the dream.

I am playing football at the highest level and I am almost 40 years old.

As long as you love playing and you're still good enough to play at this level then I want to continue.

He added: "I still have ambitions to go and represent Australia in another World Cup in 2014, that is my ultimate goal." Schwarzer spent nearly two months on the sidelines after suffering a spinal injury, but he replaced the England squad member David Stockdale in Fulham's side to face Manchester City a week ago - a 3-0 defeat - and was happy to see his side back to winning ways on Saturday.

"I thought the performance was pretty good," Schwarzer said.

"If you look at the possession it was pretty much in our favour for most of the game.

We were a little bit disappointed in the end that we still gave Stoke an opportunity to get back into the game because of the chances we created and the way we played.

"I think we deserved to have the game out of their reach a lot sooner.

That wasn't to be and you can never knock their determination and fighting spirit.

You know if Stoke get a sniff they can get back in the game.

You're going to be into a real fight to hold on to that lead." While Schwarzer was frustrated to concede Ryan Shawcross' header, he was relieved not to suffer the same misfortune as opposite number Thomas Sorensen.

The Denmark international's own goal proved decisive as a Clint Dempsey long-range effort rattled the crossbar and went in off the goalkeeper's back.

Sorensen was admitted his frustration after the match, which marked Stoke's fourth successive league defeat.

"They got two goals but we had the same amount of chances and we didn't score," he said.

"Sometimes it is about getting that first goal and for some time now we haven't been getting the first goal, which is disappointing.

"In the Premier League, it is small, small margins.

With a little bit of luck and a little bit of quality and you are there again.

I am not worried at this time but we can agree we need some points." Thomas Sorensen's bad luck gave Fulham their winning goal, but Martin Jol was full of praise for the man he signed to replace Bobby Zamora, Pavel Pogrebnyak, who opened the scoring on his debut and was a constant threat until he went off with an ankle injury after an hour.

The Russian international fitted in seamlessly, having met his team-mates only on Thursday after signing from Stuttgart, and fired home from 15 yards after controlling John Arne Riise's drive into box after 16 minutes.

Twelve minutes later, Clint Dempsey's superb 30-yard shot rebounded off the crossbar to hit the Stoke goalkeeper, Sorensen, and go in off his back.

It turned out to be the winning goal, Ryan Shawcross pulling one back for the visitors, who have now lost four successive league matches, 12 minutes from time.

Jol said: "He worked well and was fit.

We don't have a lot of No9s at this club and he was keen to start.

That was a positive thing and it meant Clint could play in his [favoured] position.

You always have to wait and see how somebody will do when they come from abroad.

In the first 10 minutes or so he realised that this was a different league to what he is used to." The Stoke manager, Tony Pulis, had a different view on Pogrebnyak, and believed he could have been sent off for a clattering challenge on Wilson Palacios.

"Last week we had Robert Huth sent off for a challenge where he is going in and has pulled his two feet away and had both feet facing the ground," he said.

"We have seen a challenge from the Russian lad on Palacios where he catches Wilson on the knee.

The referee didn't see it.

"The kid doesn't even get a yellow card.

The inconsistency this season is poor.

I am disappointed.

Last week we had a player sent off.

This week, for a worse challenge, the lad doesn't even get a yellow card."

Fulham Schwarzer, Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Murphy (Etuhu 80), Duff, Dembele, Dempsey, Ruiz (Baird 89), Pogrebnyak (Davies 62).
Subs Not Used: Stockdale, Gecov, Frei, Trotta.

Booked: Hangeland (79,f).

Pogrebnyak 16 (left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by John Arne Riise),
Sorensen og 28 (Right-footed shot by Clint Dempsey from left channel some 35+ yards out hits the bar. The ball rebounds into the goal off the back of keeper Sorensen.)

Stoke Sorensen, Wilkinson (Shotton 68), Shawcross, Upson, Wilson, Walters, Whelan, Palacios, Etherington (Pennant 67), Jones (Fuller 66), Crouch.
Subs Not Used: Begovic, Whitehead, Jerome, Woodgate.

Booked: Wilson, Palacios.

Goals: Shawcross 78.

Att: 23, 555

Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside).

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