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Fulham blast Birmingham

last updated Monday 22nd February 2010, 3:27 PM
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Fulham 2 Birmingham 1

On Fulham Palace Road, the only topic of conversation is whether Fabio Capello will ever pick Bobby Zamora.

Yesterday, the England coach turned up to watch both Zamora and Birmingham keeper Joe Hart.

Unfortunately, Capello had already disappeared into the night when the Fulham striker stuck one past Hart from a 90th-minute free-kick for his 15th goal of the season.

Fulham's Chris Baird had opened the scoring with a tremendous third-minute header, although it was in the wrong net.

Damien Duff hit back with a goal of pure quality before Zamora took advantage of a tiny defensive wall to curl the ball home from 20 yards.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said: "I'm sure Fabio was impressed with Bob's performance.

"I know Fabio well and regard him as a friend.

I have faith in his judgment and if he thinks he can use Bob, then fine.

It's not up to me to tell him.

But he'll have left realising Bob is a good player." Even Blues boss Alex McLeish admitted: "In terms of holding the ball up and bringing in others, Zamora's as good as anyone." The problem with Zamora is that he is 29 and having his best season for eight years.

If we're honest, he's enjoying the type of campaign once achieved by Marcus Stewart at Ipswich and James Beattie at Southampton.

Extremely good but a bit of a one-off.

Zamora is simply not good enough to play in a World Cup or be anywhere near the England team.

Yet his goal was enough to settle a tight contest.

Fulham got off to the worst possible start when, inexplicably, Baird sent Lee Bowyer's cross into his own net.

Fulham levelled just before the hour.

Duff collected the ball inside his own area and went on a wonderful run.

He beat Bowyer, played a one-two with Zoltan Gera and skipped across Barry Ferguson and Roger Johnson before his vicious shot from more than 20 yards flew in via a post.

James McFadden hit the bar for Birmingham.

But as the match drifted towards a draw, Stephen Carr fouled Gera and Zamora weaved his magic.

McLeish added: "I don't think a draw would have been harsh on Fulham."


FULHAM: Schwarzer 8, Baird 5, Hughes 7, Hangeland 8, Shorey 7, Davies 7 (Riise 6), Etuhu 6, Murphy 8 (Smalling 6), Duff 8, Gera 7, Zamora 9.
Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Okaka, Greening, Elm.

Booked: Duff.

BIRMINGHAM: Hart 8, Carr 5, Dann 6, Johnson 8, Ridgewell 6, Fahey 7, Bowyer 8, Ferguson 7 (Michel 5), Larsson 5 (Gardner 6), McFadden 6, Jerome 6 (Phillips 6).
Subs not used: Taylor, Benitez, Parnaby, Vignal.

Booked: McFadden.

REF: P Dowd 7
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