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Fulham 3-1 West Ham Prem24 1213 Daily Mail

last updated Saturday 02nd February 2013, 10:49 AM

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Riath Al-Samarrai at Daily Mail

Fulham (1) 3 West Ham (0) 1

Sam Allardyce had more than one reason for feeling as though he had been smacked in the mouth.

Not only was there the pain of the dental treatment that caused him to miss his post-match press briefing, but also the simmering injustice he obviously felt about his side's latest defeat.

'We feel hard done by,' said his assistant Neil McDonald.

It was some understatement. First, there was Dimitar Berbatov's 10th-minute opener which replays showed was offside.

'There were three offside and it was first phase of play,' McDonald added. 'It knocks the stuffing out of you.'

Then there were two penalty appeals that were turned down. 'It's hard to take,' McDonald said.

And yet there should not be too much of a West Ham pity party. On the basis of a truly abject first-half performance, they got the result they deserved, even if they did finally lace up their gloves in the second half.

Kevin Nolan scored a 48th-minute equaliser, but even that respite didn't last. Hugo Rodallega restored the lead within a minute and a Joey O'Brien own goal in stoppage time added the gloss for Fulham.

West Ham have won only two of their past 13 league games and, to judge from some of the full-time boos, hope is wearing thin.

Considering the form of the two clubs, the start was predictably frantic. Arguably desperate. The breakthrough, when it came after 10 minutes, was contentious.

Damien Duff created panic with an inswinging free kick from the left and Ruiz got a flick which Berbatov, on his 32nd birthday, met at the far post with a header past Jussi Jaaskelainen. Replays confirmed Allardyce's suspicions.

Matt Jarvis headed over in retaliation and then Kevin Nolan nodded wide from a Mohamed Diame cross, which was just about the sum of West Ham's efforts in the first half. Time and again their approach was to work the ball wide where, more often than not, the resulting cross was poor. Their lack of creativity or imagination here was alarming.

Diame had one moment when he came close to looking like the player that Arsenal want, leaving Giorgios Karagounis in a spin after 39 minutes, but even that was followed a hopelessly overhit pass.

Fulham were not much better, but again Berbatov was the difference. His run and shot against the outside of a post at the end of the first half was delightful; his marking for West Ham's equaliser less so. Nolan got the goal, collecting Noble's short free-kick and finishing at the near post after Berbatov gave him a healthy headstart.

Fulham needed less than a minute to regain the lead. Duff was again the creator, though McDonald was right to blame his defence.

The Irishman's cross into the six-yard box was decent enough, but with three West Ham defenders and Jaaskelainen waiting, it was inexplicable that little Rodallega got the touch that settled the game. Fulham added a third in stoppage time when Mladen Petric's shot from an acute angle was deflected in by O'Brien.

'It was a vital win,' said Fulham manager Martin Jol. 'We have had some decisions go against us in recent games. But you win some, you lose some. It was probably the case with that first goal for us.'

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hangeland, Senderos, Riise, Duff, Karagounis (Baird 65), Sidwell, Rodallega, Ruiz (Dejagah 65), Berbatov (Petric 75)
Substitutes not used: Etheridge, Frimpong, Hughes, Davies

Goals: Berbatov 10, Rodallega 51, O'Brien (og) 90

Booked: Sidwell, Riether

West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Demel (Taylor 66), Reid, Tomkins, O'Brien, Diame, Noble, Nolan, Jarvis, Joe Cole (Carroll 76), Chamakh (Carlton Cole 55)
Substitutes not used: Henderson, Carroll, Vaz Te, Pogatetz, O'Neil

Goal: Nolan 50

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

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