The last time Fulham emerged victorious from a league encounter with West Ham, Bobby Moore was not only captain of the Upton Park outfit but also of the recently-crowned world champions. On Saturday, Craven Cottage acknowledged the 15th anniversary of Moore's death with a minute's applause before Saturday's game. The crowd then saw the current incumbent of the famous West Ham No 6 shirt, Matthew Upson, help keep Fulham – Moore's only other English club – at bay before Nolberto Solano scored a controversial late winner for the visitors.
"It's been a great honour ever since the manager gave the shirt to me," Upson said after the win which keeps his side in touch with the Uefa Cup positions. "I was aware Bobby wore that number when he was here. It's great to wear that shirt."
Along with Everton, West Ham have the best defensive record outside the top four, and Upson's assured performance at the heart of their back four must have impressed watching England manager Fabio Capello, who gave him his seventh cap against Switzerland earlier this month, and has no desire to relinquish his position for next month's friendly against France, despite the return to fitness of John Terry. "I'll do whatever it takes to stay in the side," Upson said. "The pressure is on because the competition among centre-halves is so strong."
Upson was not the only potential England player who would have caught Capello's eye. Ahead of him, Mark Noble was involved in everything good from West Ham, while goalkeeper Robert Green made a crucial save from Jimmy Bullard moments before Solano's disputed winner.
Solano latched on to a Luis Boa Morte chest-down before challenging Antti Niemi when the Fulham goalkeeper appeared to have both hands on the ball. Then the Peruvian's final touch which sent the ball over the line was with his elbow.
"What's the point?" was Fulham manager Roy Hodgson's response when asked if had he spoken to referee Howard Webb about his decision to allow the goal. "Will he change the result, will he go back on his decision, and will he take away the goal? It's a pointless exercise."
Unfortunately for Hodgson, Danish midfielder Leon Andreasen thought otherwise and received a second yellow card for his protest.
"Things are not going in the direction we want because we have failed to climb out of the relegation zone," Hodgson reflected. "In fact we sink deeper. I can't say I'm calm and happy about that. I'm trying to be honest and give an honest app-raisal of our team's performance. I will do my grieving in private."
Goals: Solano (87) 0-1.
Fulham (4-5-1): Niemi; Stalteri, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Kamara. Andreasen, Bullard, Murphy, Dempsey (Johnson, 76), McBride. Substitutes not used: Keller (gk), Bocanegra, Smertin, Nevland.
West Ham (4-4-2): Green; Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney; Faubert (Solano, 63), Mullins, Noble, Ljungberg (Spector, 90), Boa Morte, Cole (Ashton, 80). Substitutes not used: Wright (gk), Pantsil.
Referee: H Webb (S Yorkshire).
Booked: Fulham Murphy, Hangeland, Andreasen.
Sent Off: Fulham Andreasen (88).
Man of the match: Noble.
Attendance: 25,280.Reuse content