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Zamora leads Fulham to victory again

last updated Monday 22nd February 2010, 3:18 PM
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Nick Szczepanik at The Times

Fulham 2 Birmingham 1

The England manager went to Craven Cottage yesterday to see Bobby Zamora, of Fulham, and Joe Hart, of Birmingham City, but had departed by the time Zamora curled an 18-yard free kick past Hart to win the match.

The buzz as Zamora stepped up in the final minute, showed how far he has advanced in the regard of the home fans since he was barracked by some for a perceived inability to hit the net.

This was his fifteenth goal of the campaign in all competitions, although only his eighth in the Barclays Premier League.

"Last year he wasn't lucky in front of goal but this year he's added the goals to his good play," Roy Hodgson, the Fulham manager, said.

"Forwards are judged on what they do in the penalty area, but we as coaches have to go beyond that.

I think Fabio Capello would have been impressed, good judge of a player that he is."

Even though he missed the goal? "We have wall-to-wall coverage of Premier League matches these days, so if you miss a goal that was scored at the weekend, you live on another planet," Hodgson said.

Before that, it looked as if two Irishmen would make the headlines.

Chris Baird, of Northern Ireland, guaranteed his inclusion in every compilation of this season's bloopers when he headed Lee Bowyer's cross firmly into his own net after three minutes.

In contrast, Damien Duff, the Ireland winger, drew Fulham level with a goal-of-the month contender, a left-foot strike that went in off the inside of Hart's right-hand post after an exchange of passes with Zoltan Gera.

Ten minutes later Birmingham hit the woodwork when James McFadden's 25-yard shot was fingertipped on to the underside of the crossbar by Mark Schwarzer, but Fulham raised the tempo despite Thursday's strenuous workout against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League.

Nevertheless, Birmingham seemed to have done enough until Stephen Carr fouled Gera and Zamora swerved his shot around the wall and high past Hart's right hand to condemn Birmingham to a fifth defeat in as many visits to London this season.

Fulham (4-4-1-1): M Schwarzer 7 - C Baird 6, A Hughes 6, B Hangeland 5, N Shorey 6 - D Duff 8, D Murphy 6 (sub: C Smalling, 90min), D Etuhu 6, S Davies 5 (sub: B H Riise, 83) - Z Gera 7 - R Zamora 7.
Substitutes not used: P Zuberbühler, S Kelly, S Okaka, J Greening, D Elm.

Booked: Duff.

Next: Sunderland (a).

Birmingham City (4-4-2): J Hart 6 - S Carr 6, S Dann 6, R Johnson 6, L Ridgewell 6 - S Larsson 5 (sub: C Gardner, 68 5), L Bowyer 6, B Ferguson 7 (sub: Michel, 90), K Fahey 5 - J McFadden 7, C Jerome 5 (sub: K Phillips, 77).
Substitutes not used: M Taylor, C Benítez, S Parnaby, G Vignal.

Booked: McFadden.

Next: Wigan Athletic (h).

Referee: P Dowd.

Attendance: 21,758.
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