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Stoke 1-0 Fulham Premiership Matchday 13 1213 Daily Mail

last updated Monday 26th November 2012, 11:55 AM

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Ian Ridley at Daily Mail

Stoke (1) 1 Fulham (0) 0

Amid a week of managerial mayhem in London, Fulham fans have been enjoying themselves, not least in deriding Mark Hughes, who departed Craven Cottage citing a lack of ambition at the club.

They should not be so smug.

For this was a lame effort - a display lacking in ambition - against a Stoke side inferior in technique but infinitely superior in desire.

The margin of victory should have been wider than Charlie Adam's second goal of the season.

Fulham played neat approach football, with Dimitar Berbatov the pivot on his first start as captain, but they scarcely tested Asmir Begovic in the home goal.

'They close you down and eat you up,' said Fulham boss Martin Jol.

'We said beforehand that they try to bully teams and they bullied us. But when we're on the touchline, it's as if we're the rugby players. They made Berbatov seem like a clogger. But I admire Stoke's style. They're doing well with it.'

Opposite number Tony Pulis bristled at suggestions that his side were bullies. 'I don't think we bullied them,' he said.

'Berbatov and others know how to look after themselves. We're a strong, resilient team, organised and disciplined.'

Five cleans sheets in six home games illustrate that.

Fulham were often the silkier side but Stoke care nothing for 20-yarders from Giorgos Karagounis that drift wide or for Berbatov's skilful link play too far out to be any danger to them.

They care about getting the ball into danger areas swiftly, their goal the epitome of a brusque approach.

It looked as if Jonathan Walters had blocked Karagounis as the ball reached Ryan Shotton but he crossed and Peter Crouch nodded down for Adam, who swivelled and shot home from close range.

Ryan Shawcross headed against the bar from a corner, while a Berbatov cross-shot alarmed Begovic.

But Glenn Whelan also went close and Mark Schwarzer had to tip Robert Huth's header over.

Five games without a win mean Fulham need to toughen up. Perhaps watching old footage of their boss - no shrinking violet in his playing days - might help.

Stoke: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Shotton, Walters, Nzonzi, Whelan, Etherington (Kightly 72), Adam (Whitehead 81), Crouch (Jones 77).
Subs Not Used: Sorensen, Palacios, Upson, Jerome.

Booked: Cameron.

Scorer: Adam 26.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Senderos, Riise, Baird, Sidwell (Rodallega 80), Karagounis (Duff 73), Dejagah, Berbatov, Petric.
Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Kelly, Kasami, Diarra, Banya.

Booked: Senderos.

Att: 26,921

Ref: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

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