Fulham safer but not safe
The Sun

Fulham 2 Birmingham 0

BRIAN McBRIDE put Fulham clear of the drop zone - and Birmingham into the mire.

The American striker headed home the crucial goal on 52 minutes as the Londoners moved closer to the great escape.

Erik Nevland's second goal for Fulham clinched it three minutes from time.

Roy Hodgson's men looked in a hopeless position at half-time last week when they trailed Manchester City 2-0.

But an amazing 3-2 win, coupled with three points here, means victory at FA Cup finalists Portsmouth next Sunday will almost certainly see them survive.

Birmingham, though, need results to go their way if they are to stay up. Fulham boss Hodgson muted the carnival atmosphere at Craven Cottage by declaring: "We’re not safe yet.”

He said: “We’ve been written off for a long time and I understand that because we’ve been at the bottom of the table for a long time.

“It’s not been easy for myself and my players to consistently face questions like 'is that the end?’ and ’are you finished?’.

“To say the right thing and what you believe without making yourself look foolish is difficult.

“The atmosphere right now is euphoric and I’m happy about that because you need to take all the good moments that come in football.

“But it’s not finished yet and the euphoria of this week could turn into sadness next Sunday if we’re relegated.

“But if that happens, and most people thought it would happen long before this, then we will have gone down fighting and playing football.

“The players will have to be ready to play a cup final against Portsmouth.

“I’m just happy we’ve got the chance because after the Liverpool defeat it looked like it would take a miracle to survive.”

Simon Davies thought he had scored for the home side on eight minutes when he cracked Jimmy Bullard's free-kick goalwards.

But Maik Taylor made a brilliant fingertip save to deny him.

Mikael Forssell wriggled through just before the break but just as he was about to shoot, Aaron Hughes arrived to nick the ball off him.

McBride nodded in Bullard's free-kick from an unmarked position seven minutes after the break.

And Nevland sealed it from close range late on.

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish said: “It goes to the wire and we still have a lifeline.

“There’s still an opportunity for us to stay up. It’s no longer in our hands but then it probably wasn’t before today.

“We have to win next weekend and we’re capable of doing that. I’ve never found it difficult to pick the team up.

“Now the players have to do everything in their power. We fight on for another week.

“I thought we had a couple of good chances today that we didn’t capitalise on. To lose the second goal when we were chasing the game was hard to take.”

Fulham: Keller, Stalteri, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Bullard (Andreasen 88), Murphy, Dempsey (Healy 90), Kamara (Nevland 67), McBride.
Subs not Used: Warner, Bocanegra.

Booked: Stalteri, Davies.

Goals: McBride 52, Nevland 87.

Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Kelly, Jaidi, Ridgewell (Queudrue 46), Murphy, Larsson, Muamba, Johnson, Kapo (Zarate 58), Forssell (Jerome 74), McFadden.
Subs not Used: Doyle, Parnaby.

Booked: Muamba, Queudrue, Jerome, Jaidi, McFadden.

Att: 25,308

Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside).