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Fulham mugged by a Ref again

last updated Saturday 23rd February 2008, 11:35 PM

Fulham 0-1 West Ham

Brede Hangeland
Brede Hangeland sent off

Nolberto Solano grabbed a controversial late winner for West Ham against Fulham on the day Bobby Moore was honoured by his former clubs at Craven Cottage.

It is the 15th anniversary this weekend of Moore passing away and supporters stood for a minute's applause as a tribute ahead of the Premier League clash, which was settled by Solano's 87th-minute winner that appeared to come off his arm after challenging goalkeeper Antti Niemi.

Prior to that goal, the only one of the game, it was not a fitting match to honour England's World Cup hero.

The fixture list somehow put Moore's two teams together and another statistic was that West Ham had not lost in a league match at Fulham since 1966, the year Moore lifted the World Cup.

They did not look likely to lose their record against their London rivals either, shading a match low on quality. It leaves Fulham in deep relegation trouble, while West Ham can look towards European qualification.

Fabio Capello was in the crowd, but there was very little for the England boss to get excited about in a dreary first half, where there was little in the way of flowing football.

Ray Clemence was next to Capello, yet England hopeful Robert Green was barely threatened in goal for West Ham until after the break.

He did have to deal with an early shot across his goal from former Hammers defender Paul Konchesky on the edge of the area - but after that the visitors had the better of a poor opening 45 minutes.

At least Capello could look at the determination of Englishman Jimmy Bullard, although the midfielder had little support around him as he looked to attack.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson was able to welcome skipper Brian McBride back for his first start after a serious knee injury, but the American striker looked off the pace.

It was Carlton Cole, the lone striker for West Ham, that looked most threatening early on.

He met Mark Noble's cross with a first-time volley in the opening exchanges, but Niemi saved the effort.

The former Chelsea striker also skimmed the crossbar with a volley from the edge of the area after latching onto a flick by Julien Faubert, the Frenchman who was making his first start for West Ham.

Danny Murphy had been snapping away in midfield and eventually earned a yellow card from Howard Webb when he caught Fredrik Ljungberg late and from behind.

Brede Hangeland also earned a caution for his high tackle on Luis Boa Morte - but only after advantage was played and Cole raced through, with Konchesky back to clear.

The Hammers should have taken the lead when Boa Morte was given a free header yards from goal in the 27th minute. He was granted enough time to control the ball but looped his effort onto the crossbar instead.

Match Stats Fulham West Ham
Goals 0 1
Possession 43% 57%
Goal attempts 18 12
On Target 14 6
Corners 5 8
Off-sides 1 1
Saves 9 12
Fouls 12 17
Yellows 3 0
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet
Leon Andreasen also earned a booking from Webb as Fulham struggled to impose themselves on the game. McBride did fire a volley straight at Green, but clear-cut chances for the hosts were proving difficult to create.

There was a slight improvement from the hosts at the start of the second half and they had a couple of penalty shouts turned down for handball.

The first came when Diomansy Kamara took advantage of a dummy from Bullard and cannoned his shot off Anton Ferdinand, the second was a more hopeful shout when Bullard's effort struck Ljungberg.

From the corner, Hangeland lobbed a header onto the roof of the net.

West Ham looked to have weathered the hosts' lively start to the second period and Noble side-footed wide from the edge of the area after exchanging passes with Faubert. Faubert was then taken off for Solano.

Aaron Hughes also had to be alert to block Cole when he was found by Noble and headed towards goal, while Clint Dempsey struck straight at Green at the other end when sent through.

Green dropped a free-kick with 20 minutes remaining, but he and Lucas Neill were down sharply to block McBride's rebound.

Cole had a free header for the visitors but put it straight at Niemi.

Niemi was almost embarrassed before the end when Hughes surprised him with a back pass - but the winner came in the 87th minute.

Solano raced through and appeared to kick the ball out of Niemi's hands, with the ball ricocheting off the winger's arm and going in.

Andreasen was dismissed following his complaints.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson:
"I'm sad when you play like that but you come away with nothing and concede a goal like that.

"Solano's studs were in (Fulham keeper) Antti Niemi's face and have cut his shoulder to, so it's very unlucky.

"It was a clear foul and the goal should have been disallowed. We had worked hard for the point and it was unfortunate that it was taken away."

West Ham boss Alan Curbishley:
"From my angle Nobby got a clean connection but then they are saying it might have been his elbow.

"It was difficult for the referee to see but if it has been our little bit of luck then we'll take it.

"It was always going to be a tight game and we had to keep going so I'm pleased with the result."

Fulham: Niemi, Stalteri, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Andreasen, Bullard, Murphy, Dempsey (Johnson 76), McBride, Kamara.
Subs Not Used: Keller, Bocanegra, Smertin, Nevland.

Sent Off: Andreasen (88,2yel (dis)).

Booked: Murphy (14,f), Hangeland (20,ub), Andreasen (28,f).

West Ham: Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney, Ljungberg (Spector 90), Mullins, Faubert (Solano 63), Noble, Boa Morte, Cole (Ashton 80).
Subs Not Used: Wright, Pantsil.

Goals: Solano 87.

Att: 25,280

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).


Source soccernet
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