Football: Stoke bow down to Brevett

Fulham 1 Stoke City 0
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FULHAM MAINTAINED their place among the favourites for promotion last night by beating the Second Division leaders Stoke City with a goal by Rufus Brevett. The Londoners kept a third consecutive clean sheet at home in the process and the attacking manner of their win supports the notion they are serious contenders for elevation.

Both teams started the match unbeaten. Stoke's sixth consecutive victory before last night, their best start for 93 years, had put them clear at the top. Fulham, with three wins and two draws from their five games, had also demonstrated their intent to be a hard team to overcome this season.

The home side dominated the first half, despite losing their striker, Paul Moody, with a knee injury in the sixth minute after he fell, having seen a headed effort go narrowly wide. Moody was replaced by the German Dirk Lehmann, whose skilful flick-on after 23 minutes left the ball at the feet of Peter Beardsley, who shot wide.

In front of a raucous Craven Cottage crowd, Fulham continued to push forward. After half an hour, a Kit Symons' header was cleared off the line, and two minutes later, a powerful Steve Hayward drive from 30 yards rattled the crossbar and bounced away.

To their credit, Stoke stoked up the pressure and at the start of the second half should have taken the lead. Graham Kavanagh, running from midfield, slotted a pass to Peter Thorne, who had only Maik Taylor to beat. Thorne did not have the composure and lashed the ball over the bar.

Stoke were soon punished for their profligacy as Beardsley and Paul Bracewell combined down the left on the hour to breach the Stoke defence and provide Brevett with an opening. He duly placed the ball in the net from a tight angle.

Fulham (4-4-2): Taylor; Collins (Uhlenbeek, 76), Coleman, Symons, Brevett; Morgan, Bracewell, Beardsley, Hayward; Moody (Lehmann, 6), Salako (Davis, 89).

Stoke City (4-4-2): Muggleton; Short (Whittle, 83), Small, Sigurdsson, Woods; Robinson, Keen, Kavanagh (Crowe, 70), Oldfield; Thorne, Lightbourne. Substitute not used: Wallace.

Referee: C Wilkes (Gloucester).