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Fulham 1-2 Cardiff Prem 06 1314 Mirror

last updated Sunday 29th September 2013, 9:27 PM
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The Mirror

Fulham (1) 1 Cardiff (1) 2

The explosion of noise at the end of the match at Craven Cottage told the story of the game.

At the Putney End, the thousands from South Wales who had come to support to the Premier League new boys greeted the final whistle with a raucous cheer.

From the Johnny Haynes stand, the cries of "Jol Out!" - isolated at first - gradually gathered momentum. These are indeed anxious times for the Fulham manager.

Martin Jol may have thought he had used his get-out-of-jail card towards the end of a first half which Cardiff dominated.

Fulham trailed - deservedly - to a 12th-minute strike from Steven Caulker who ­capitalised on the first of a series of free headers afforded by Fulham's naive marking.

Then, in the 40th minute, Jol gambled.

He had already lost influential Scott Parker to injury in the sixth minute.

Now he used a second ­substitution when he brought on Bryan Ruiz for the ­ineffective Alexander ­Kacaniklic, and a minute from the break, the Costa Rican curled home a wonderful shot from 25 yards.

Fulham looked more dynamic in the second half, but relied too heavily on the enigmatic Dimitar Berbatov.

But this was not a good day for the Bulgarian who spent most of the 90 minutes with his arms outstretched in frustration at the perceived lack of service.

And with Darren Bent anonymous, Fulham lacked edge.

Cardiff had that in ­abundance - the edge in spirit, organisation and sheer determination.

And if Jol thought he had played his ace when he brought on Ruiz, Cardiff boss Malky Mackay trumped him. In the

55th minute, Mackay had sacrificed the more subtle talents of South Korean Kim Bo-Kyung for the power of Jordon Mutch.

Mackay expected muscle, and got it. What he didn't anticipate was Mutch's superb shot that had David Stockdale grasping at air.

At the end, Mackay punched the air in triumph. He may not have the most talented squad, but his players learn quickly.

Outclassed at West Ham on the opening day, they have recorded wins against Manchester City and a first away victory in the top flight for more than half a century. The last was in November 1961. Against Fulham.

Jol? He walked off with a deliberate stride and tried not to hear the jeers. He said: "I know we can do better.

"I hate it when people get worried or nervous, when they want the manager to quit, because you don't know what will happen with the new manager."

As for Mackay, the delighted Bluebirds boss said: "We had 24 attempts at goal and that is a fantastic stat for the away team. We have a squad that deserve to play at this level."

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