Carson clanger helps Fulham give Hughes breathing room

Fulham 3 West Bromwich Albion 0

It was just like the old days here last night, when the manager was that fellow who is now unwanted at Anfield, and appears to have been airbrushed out of Fulham's history.

Roy Hodgson's absence from the club programme's 31-photograph review of 2010 can probably be ascribed to the chairman's pique, but his presence was very much in evidence on the pitch. Mark Hughes inherited all 11 starters and once Fulham took the lead the performance, and atmosphere, were very reminiscent of last season.

It was not, however, until another of Scott Carson's howlers gifted Simon Davies a goal in first-half injury-time that Fulham were able to dominate a West Bromwich Albion side who have now lost five on the trot and badly need a result. They also need their luck to change. After Gary Neville's escape on Saturday, they were again unfortunate with a refereeing decision for Youssuf Mulumbu was fouled in the build-up to Davies' shot.

"He pushed Youssuf down," said Roberto Di Matteo. "Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't, but we have a lot of decisions going against us at the moment." The Albion manager added: "The timing of the first goal was bad for us. I think Scott is disappointed, he could have done better. He's a bit down, everybody is. We are on a bad run but we have to pick ourselves up and keep going."

Fulham's other goals came from corners, converted by Clint Dempsey and Brede Hangeland within 20 minutes of the break, and Di Matteo said: "We are missing five centre-halves and we do not have the resources to handle a big side like Fulham."

Victory catapulted Fulham above Albion and out of the relegation zone to the heady heights of 13th, easing the pressure on Hughes. Given their debt burden, Fulham need to be in the top flight, and chairman-owner Mohamed al-Fayed is not known for his patience.

"I'm pleased," said Hughes. "That's two wins in three games, with three good performances. Thirteenth makes for better reading, but I feel we can be better than 13th."

In Hughes' defence it is mainly injuries, especially to the forwards, which have rendered his squad impotent. Last night he had hoped to recall Moussa Dembélé but the Belgian remained absent, along with Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson. This excuse had limited validity on this occasion as Albion had such problems in defence that Di Matteo had to make three changes to the back four which faced Manchester United on New Year's Day. He was very unhappy to then lose the only survivor, Marek Cech, to injury and accused John Pantsil of "leaving his foot in".

Among those drafted in was 18-year-old James Hurst for his league debut. It was, though, the more experienced Gonzalo Jara who was turned too easily by Diomansy Kamara and grateful to see Carson make the game's first save.

As half-time approached, Dickson Etuhu barged Mulumbu off the ball as Albion tried to play out of defence. Etuhu passed to Davies whose 28-yard shot whistled through Carson's raised hands.

The goal injected Fulham with confidence, and dissipated what was left of Albion's. Home pressure earned corners which Albion could not defend, Dempsey, heading in unchallenged from a standing jump, then Hangeland nodding in another Davies delivery.

Fulham played out the closing stages with ease but the embraces shared with Hughes at the end, and the euphoric response of the home support, betrayed the tension that has built up around the club in recent weeks.

Fulham (4-4-1-1): Stockdale; Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Baird; Duff, Murphy, Etuhu, Davies (Riise, 82); Dempsey (E Johnson, 86); Kamara (Gera, 63). Substitutes not used Etheridge (gk), Salcido, Greening, Halliche.

West Bromwich (4-2-3-1): Carson; Hurst, Zuiverloon, Jara, Cech (Shorey, 34 ); Mulumbu (Fortuné, 62), Dorrans; Morrison (Cox, 69), Brunt, Thomas; Odemwingie. Substitutes not used Myhill (gk), Tchoyi, Miller, Meite.

Referee M Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

Attendance 23,654.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones