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West Brom 1-2 Fulham Premiership Matchday 21 1213 The Sun

last updated Wednesday 02nd January 2013, 2:08 PM


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Graeme Bryce at SunSport


West Brom (0) 1 Fulham (1) 2


Fulham manager Martin Jol enjoyed a happy homecoming as Fulham helped themselves to their first Premier League win at The Hawthorns.

The Cottagers had never won in six previous visits to the ground where Jol made his name - as a long-haired midfielder.

The Dutchman's mullet may have long gone but class never goes out of fashion and again the Fulham boss had Dimitar Berbatov to thank for only their second away win of the season.

Moody but magnificent, Berbatov ran rings round Albion at times with his sure touch and eye for an opening.

In contrast, West Brom tripped themselves up as they surrendered sloppy goals to Berbatov and Alexander Kacaniklic, either side of Romelu Lukaku's 49th-minute equaliser.

At that point, the Baggies appeared to be back on track but, in truth, they took too long to get going and paid the price.

Yet it was Fulham, with just one win in their last 12 games, who looked fresher.

Steve Sidwell took a firm grip of midfield, firing over from 30 yards after 11 minutes.

But then Berbatov - who recently wore a shirt bearing the slogan: "Keep Calm.

pass the ball to me!" - did not heed his own advice as he completely lost his head when presented with a glorious chance on 30 minutes.

Steve Clarke rang the changes after the New Year bells as he replaced five of the team 'rested' at Old Trafford.

Berba pounced on a misplaced Chris Brunt pass but, with the goal at his mercy, Fulham's Mr Cool slashed wildly at the ball which flew hopelessly over.

The cries of derision rang out from Baggies fans.

But it took the sulky striker a mere nine minutes to ram those taunts down their throats.

Berbatov started the move with a sweeping crossfield pass which landed at Ashkan Dejagah's feet.

The cries of derision rang out from Baggies fans.

But it took the sulky striker a mere nine minutes to ram those taunts down their throats.

Berbatov started the move with a sweeping crossfield pass which landed at Ashkan Dejagah's feet.

The Iranian winger tied Liam Ridgewell in knots before laying the ball back to Berbatov, who had sprinted - yes sprinted - 40 yards to get on the end of it.

This time Berba showed much more composure to pass the ball beyond Ben Foster.

The biggest cheer from the home fans in a painful first half came when they applauded the clock hitting the eighth minute - in tribute to Chelsea's 8-0 win over Aston Villa last week.

However, Clarke's half-time team-talk must have been a belter because the Baggies were a different side after the break.

Berbatov took a shoulder in the jaw from Marc-Antoine Fortune within seconds of the restart.

Then Fulham suffered a far bigger blow when Lukaku beat Sascha Riether's despairing lunge to tap in a low cross from Billy Jones.

Fulham suddenly looked fragile and almost fell behind three minutes later.

Keeper David Stockdale pushed out a Lukaku shot.

But he got lucky when Zoltan Gera smacked the rebound off the far post, then Aaron Hughes desperately headed off the line to deny Brunt.

But just as they seemed ready to let rip, Albion pushed the self-destruct button to gift Fulham a 58th-minute winner.

There seemed to be no danger when Bryan Luiz clipped the ball forward to Kacaniklic.

But he somehow wriggled clear of Jones and Gareth McAuley and, with Foster inexplicably stranded miles off his line, Kacaniklic swept the ball home.

STAR MAN - DIMITAR BERBATOV

WEST
BROM: Foster 5, Jones 6, Tamas 6, McAuley 5, Ridgewell 5, Brunt 5 (Thorne 5), Mulumbu 6, Gera 5 (Long 5), Morrison 5, Fortune 6 (Odemwingie 5), Lukaku 7.
Subs not used: Myhill, Rosenberg, Jara Reyes, Dawson.

FULHAM: Stockdale 6, Riether 6, Hughes 6, Hangeland 7, Briggs 5, Dejagah 7, Sidwell 7, Karagounis 5 (Rodallega 6), Kacaniklic 7, Ruiz 7, Berbatov 8 (Senderos 5).
Subs not used: Somogyi, Baird, Kasami, Richardson, Frei.

REF: M Dean 6



















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