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West Brom 1-0 Fulham - Match Report

last updated Saturday 04th October 2008, 4:57 PM
Zoltan Gera
Zoltan Gera
West Brom 1-0 Fulham
Fulham midfielder Zoltan Gera came closest to breaking the deadlock against former club West Brom in the Barclays Premier League clash at the Hawthorns.

The Hungarian international, given a warm welcome on his return by the home fans, side-footed inches wide midway through the first half with Albion keeper Scott Carson well beaten.

Roman Bednar had the best chance for Tony Mowbray's side but drove his shot straight at Mark Schwarzer.

Mowbray drafted in striker Ishmael Miller in place of Kim Do-Heon for the home Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham.

South Korean midfielder Kim was ruled out with knee ligament damage, and the change meant Mowbray was set to play with two strikers for the first time this season with Miller partnering Bednar up front.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson was without the suspended Andrew Johnson after his red card against West Ham at Craven Cottage last weekend.

Johnson was replaced by Clint Dempsey who was expected to operate just behind Bobby Zamora in the only change.

Former Baggies midfielder Gera was warmly applauded by the home fans when his name was announced over the tannoy before kick-off.

Fulham defender John Pantsil conceded an early free-kick when he brought down Paul Robinson by the angle of the penalty area but Jonathan Greening's inswinging centre was punched clear by Schwarzer.

The Cottagers, who had lost their previous two away league games, knocked the ball around in confident fashion in the centre of the park but an eventual corner from Jimmy Bullard was cleanly fisted away by Scott Carson.

The first clear-cut chance of the game fell to Albion striker Roman Bednar after seven minutes - but he failed to make the most of the opportunity.

Skipper Jonathan Greening's reverse pass picked out the run of Bednar who got goal-side of Aaron Hughes but, after cutting back inside, he clipped his shot straight into the hands of Schwarzer.

Carson, in fine form in recent games, was called into meaningful action for the first time when he held on to a low curling drive from Clint Dempsey.

West Brom defender Jonas Olsson became the first player to be yellow-carded after 14 minutes for bringing down Dempsey just outside his own penalty area.

Carson was relieved to see Jimmy Bullard's well struck free-kick fly inches over the crossbar.

Greening was influential in the early stages and one powerful run took him to the by-line only for Hughes to cut out his dangerous centre at the expense of a corner.

Albion knocked the ball around in typically fluent fashion but there was no end product and neither keeper was having much meaningful action to deal with.

Gera found himself in plenty of space on the left but completely over-hit his cross in the direction of Dempsey.

Then Baggies playmaker Borja Valero could only slice his shot from just outside the Fulham area well wide.

Gera was receiving plenty of vocal support from the Baggies fans but he nearly silenced them on the half-hour mark when he came close to breaking the deadlock.

Dempsey set up the opportunity when he pulled the ball back from the byline into the path of the Hungarian and his precise side-footed effort flew only inches wide.

Valero was then booked by referee Phil Dowd for bringing down Gera with a late challenge.

Carson had no trouble dealing with a 20-yarder from Bullard as both sides still struggled to make much of an impression in the danger area.

Miller headed wide when well placed from a Paul Robinson centre but he had drifted offside. Carson then got his body fully behind a Dempsey shot but again it was from outside the box.

Albion made a positive start to the second half and came close to going ahead within two minutes of the restart.

A deep cross from the left flank by Greening picked out Ryan Donk and the on-loan defender crashed a fierce header against the outside of a post.

The hosts were building momentum although a mistake by Robinson allowed Simon Davies to make a good break down the right flank and he was relieved to see Olsson make a timely interception.

Valero had a fierce drive blocked and then Bednar took a chip into the box from Robinson into his stride but volleyed wide.

The pressure was now relentless on the Fulham goal and a close-range header from Morrison was somehow cleared off the line by Murphy.

But Fulham finally cracked after 61 minutes through Bednar's third goal of the campaign - but his first from open play.

Greening's corner was turned back across goal by Donk and the former Hearts player was in the right place to stab the ball past Schwarzer.

It was no more than Albion deserved but they were nearly caught napping almost immediately by the Cottagers.

Bullard played a short free-kick to Murphy and his low 20-yard shot was deflected only inches wide.
Source John Curtis at PA Sport
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