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Fulham 3-0 Stoke Prem25 Mail

last updated Monday 13th February 2012, 12:49 PM
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Simon Cass at Daily Mail

Fulham (2) 2 Stoke (0) 1

Pavel Pogrebnyak revealed he spoke with Russian countrymen Andrey Arshavin, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov about their experiences of the Barclays Premier League when weighing up a move to Fulham.

Remarkably, Pogrebnyak still opted to a move from Stuttgart to Craven Cottage despite his comrades hardly enjoying the best of times on these shores - two of them have already returned to mother Russia while Arshavin's Arsenal days are seemingly numbered.

Pogrebnyak has an initial six months at Fulham to show he can succeed in a league where others from his country have largely failed.

Becoming the first Russian player to score on their Premier League debut is a decent way to start, but as Fulham manager Martin Jol pointed out despite the freezing conditions: 'One swallow doesn't make a summer.

' Even so, there was no hiding the smile on the big Dutchman's face after Pogrebnyak ushered in the post-Bobby Zamora era at Fulham in emphatic style, especially as the former Craven Cottage crowd favourite had also scored on is debut for new club Queens Park Rangers.

'Bobby was 31, he wanted to go,' said Jol.

'He told us he wanted to leave more than once.

We made the decision to let him go for that money.

Bobby scored in his first game for QPR and so you get a different feeling.

So it was good that Pavel scored.

' It is difficult to see how Jol will not be having the last laugh when the swallows have arrived in force, irrespective of whether Pogrebnyak hangs around, given the gulf in form between Fulham and QPR.

With players like Clint Dempsey, whose thirty-yard hit rebounded in off unfortunate Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen for Fulham's second, and Moussa Dembele to call on it is a question of how high Jol's side can finish compared with a relegation fight for Zamora and QPR.

Fulham, like Stoke, have amassed 30 points.

But it is Tony Pulis' side who look far more likely to be looking over their shoulder for longer.

Ryan Shawcross' near post header sparked something of a revival but just one point from 15 is relegation form.

Pulis will be hopeful a Europa league double header against Valencia, which sandwiches a FA Cup fifth round trip to Crawley, can provide a welcome distraction.

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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