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Fulham win away at Stoke

last updated Tuesday 28th December 2010, 10:52 PM
Fulham defender Chris Baird
Fulham defender
Chris Baird
Chris Baird

Fulham moved out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone thanks to Chris Baird's early brace at Stoke.

Baird, who had never scored for the Cottagers before, struck twice from outside the area in the opening 10 minutes to lift some of the pressure on his manager Mark Hughes.

It was an unlikely goal source sealing an unlikely result, as the London outfit recorded their first away win in the league in 27 attempts.

Six minutes later the Northern Irishman unleashed another fierce strike that beat Begovic low to his left.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis named an unchanged line-up for this afternoon's Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham at the Britannia Stadium.

Both Matthew Etherington and Jon Walters were passed fit to start again despite picking up ankle and shoulder knocks respectively in the Boxing Day victory at Blackburn.

Match Stats Stoke Fulham
Goals 0 2
Possession 51% 49%
Goal attempts 17 5
On Target 3 3
Passing Success 55.5% 66.5%
Tackles 15 22
Tackles Success 60.0% 72.7%
Corners 9 2
Off-sides 2 3
Saves 1 3
Fouls 8 14
Yellows 1 2
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet/SkySports
Pulis' opposite number Mark Hughes made two adjustments from the defeat against West Ham as the Cottagers looked to pull themselves out of the relegation zone.

Damien Duff and Chris Baird came into the first XI, with Zoltan Gera and Carlos Salcido dropping to the bench.

Stoke would have gone into the game feeling confident having already beaten Fulham three times in 2010 but it was the visitors who found themselves ahead after only four minutes.

Simon Davies sent in a cross from the left that was only partially cleared and it fell to Baird, who rifled in a bullet of a shot that Asmir Begovic could not prevent from crashing in off the post.

The hosts tried to produce a swift response and Robert Huth fired a shot over, but Andrew Johnson had a chance to make it 2-0 soon after having wriggled through a crowd of players.

Johnson's effort was straight at Begovic, but moments later, Fulham had doubled their advantage, leaving Stoke and their supporters stunned.

Perhaps most surprised of all was the scorer himself, Baird again hitting the back of the net with a long-range strike, this time from a free-kick awarded after Pennant had brought down Davies.

The shell-shocked Potters attempted to regroup and slowly started to exert some pressure, with Kenwyne Jones narrowly heading over from a corner.

Dean Whitehead lashed a shot over and protested that he had been impeded by a foul from Davies, but referee Kevin Friend waved the penalty appeals away.

Fulham were almost in again, though, just after the half-hour mark after Begovic's kick went straight to a Fulham shirt, but Dickson Etuhu skewed his cross and the move broke down.

Huth drilled a free-kick into the wall and Mark Schwarzer managed to collect the ball after Rory Delap had delivered a dangerous long throw into the box.

Johnson was fed by Clint Dempsey at the other end but was denied by a last-ditch tackle from Ryan Shawcross, who then saw a header cleared off the line by Cottagers skipper Danny Murphy.

Pulis, hoping to give his side fresh impetus in attack, brought on Ricardo Fuller for Walters 10 minutes into the second half as the Potters pressed forward.

The home supporters cried out twice in quick succession that a Fulham player had handled in the box, but Friend judged neither Johnson nor Brede Hangeland had been guilty of the offence.

Stoke then earned a free-kick in a useful position which Pennant curled off-target and Jones rose high to meet a Danny Collins cross but could not guide his header the right side of the post.

Sanli was next to be introduced to the action in place of Etherington before Stoke went the closest yet to pulling a goal back.

Fuller laid the ball to Huth, who hit a low effort that Schwarzer dived to block.

Pennant then saw his shot cannon off a defender as the hosts realised it was not their day.

Stoke Begovic, Wilkinson (Wilson 79), Shawcross, Huth, Collins, Pennant, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington (Sanli 69),Walters (Fuller 55), Jones.
Subs Not Used: Sorensen, Higginbotham, Whelan, Gudjohnsen.

Booked: Huth.

Fulham Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Baird, Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Duff, Dempsey, Andrew Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Stockdale, Salcido, Gera, Kamara, Dikgacoi, Greening, Halliche.

Booked: Baird (55,f) , Dempsey (90,f).

Baird 4' (right footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner.)
Baird 10' ( from a free kick with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.)

Att: 26,954

Ref: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

Source Phil Medlicott at PaSport
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