Duff turns back the clock to send Fulham on upward curve

Fulham 2 Everton 1

Digging deep into the memory bank, Damien Duff scored a goal from his illustrious past to pull Fulham out of the bottom three and catapult them into the top half of the table yesterday – that's how daft league tables are at this stage of the season and Roy Hodgson, had a point when he said yesterday that he thought they should be ignored for the first 11 or 12 games.

"I've been preaching to the players it's where we are after 38 games that counts," the Fulham manager said. It was as hard to evaluate Fulham on the evidence of this one game as it was the four they have played. After the first half, few would have given them any chance of repeating last season's excellent seventh place finish, but the second half was a different story.

Even so, up until Duff's winner in the 79th minute it looked as if both sides would have been content with the draw that would have lifted both of them out of the bottom three. Certainly, Fulham were pushing the harder for a victory but at that stage there were few seriously alarming moments for Tim Howard in the Everton goal.

Nor did there seem one when the 30-year-old Republic of Ireland international – never a prolific scorer – stepped inside Leighton Baines, but with minimal backlift he arrowed a left-footer past the Everton keeper. It was fitting reward for Fulham's second-half effort if not their first.

"It's important when you move clubs and you are a quality player like Damien that you show the fans early on that, 'I'm a quality player'," Hodgson said.

For a while yesterday it looked as if the legacy of international duty could prove decisive in Everton's favour. Fulham's Mark Schwarzer underwent the long flight to Seoul in order to play in a friendly for Australia against South Korea and for his pains injured his neck, thereby ruling him out of yesterday's match.

Everton's Tim Cahill, on the other hand, was excused duty for the Aussies. Those details may have flashed across Hodgson's mind as Cahill headed past the debutant keeper David Stockdale after 33 minutes, not that the young man could be faulted for the goal.

Schwarzer apart, Everton were the ones who looked as though they might feel the pinch of absenteeism. Already without Phil Jagielka and Mikael Arteta, both of course long-term casualties, they arrived at Craven Cottage without the former Fulham favourite, in-form Louis Saha because of injury. Yet they largely dictated the first half and were deserving of the lead that Cahill gave them, even if Fulham should have been more alert to his aerial threat at set pieces.

To their credit, Fulham came out with serious intent at the start of the second half, although Everton could consider themselves a little unfortunate not to weather the storm.

The award of a free-kick for a foul by Phil Neville on John Pantsil looked dubious to begin with and then Murphy could do no more than strike the wall from it. The rebound fell nicely for Paul Konchesky's potent left foot and his shot benefited enormously from a fierce deflection off Sylvain Distin.

From then on it was much more like the old Fulham and Hodgson was particularly pleased with the way his side stood firm, with Stockdale and Murphy making successive goal-line clearances from Marouane Fellaini and Joseph Yobo.

As for Hodgson's opposite number David Moyes, there was more injury woe and he was not best pleased with a challenge from Dickson Etuhu that saw Neville carried off with what, thankfully, turned out to be nothing more serious than a gashed knee.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky; Duff (Davies, 85), Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey; Johnson (Kamara, 89), Zamora. Substitutes not used: Baird, Nevland, Gera, Greening, Zuberbühler (gk).

Everton (4-5-1); Howard; Hibbert, Yobo, Distin, Baines; Osman (Yakubu, 81), Neville (Heitinga, 64), Rodwell, Cahill, Pienaar; Jo (Fellaini, 69). Substitutes not used: Bilyaletdinov, Vaughan, Gosling, Nash, (gk).

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).

Booked: Fulham Murphy; Everton Baines.

Man of the match: Duff.

Attendance: 24,191.

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

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
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent