Everton's manager, David Moyes, has something of the look of an undertaker about him at the best of times, and his dark suit, shirt and tie appeared appropriate in the aftermath of a defeat that sent the team's followers trudging home with mournful expressions. The sombre mood was maintained by the incident in the 72nd minute when Claus Jensen, scorer of Fulham's decisive goal, was struck in the face with what appeared to be a coin thrown from the section of the Putney End housing visiting fans.
Moyes challenged the assumption that the coin had been thrown by an Everton fan, maintaining the area in question was a mixed stand, and contested for good measure the idea that any coin had been intended for Jensen. "Who was he aiming at? Have you ever tried to throw a coin accurately?"
While members of the press corps pondered on that, Moyes concurred with the view expressed by Fulham's manager, Chris Coleman, that the culprit should receive a ban. The Football Association will use Fulham's closed-circuit TV to identify the fan involved.
Given the vibrancy of their first-half display, the visitors ought to have won a match punctuated by niggling challenges that Coleman believes have carried over from previous meetings. But two things told against them. The first was history - no Everton side had won at Fulham since 1966. The second was a deflection off the midfielder Lee Carsley which sent Jensen's 66th-minute shot looping into the net. Moyes's sense of grievance was exacerbated by the fact that, at the moment the goal was scored, his midfielder Mikel Arteta was still waiting to return to the pitch after getting a flailing elbow in the eye from Fulham's Luis Boa Morte.
Everton also felt they might have had a couple of penalties involving Andrew Johnson, who hit the deck after 16 minutes as the defender Ian Pearce pulled out of a challenge, and then appeared to be tugged by the same player seven minutes from time before bursting free to force Antii Niemi into a double save.
Fulham's full-back Liam Rosenior - who suffered what looked like the worst challenge of the match from Johnson - revealed afterwards that Coleman had remained calm at half-time despite the fact that his team had been virtually overrun for 45 minutes.
"He told us to pass it and keep being positive,' Rosenior said. The advice paid off for a manager whose tenure at Craven Cottage is regularly questioned. "Forget about the top six or seven teams," Coleman said. "We've got to beat the ones outside that."
Goal: C Jensen (66) 1-0.
Fulham (4-1-2-3): Niemi; Rosenior, Knight, Pearce, Queudrue; Bocanegra; C Jensen, Boa Morte (Volz, 84); Routledge (John, 89), McBride, Radzinski. Substitutes not used: Lastuvka (gk), Zakuani.
Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Neville, Yobo, Stubbs, Lescott; Arteta, Davies (Beattie, 72), Carsley (Anichebe, 85), Osman; Cahill; Johnson. Substitutes not used: Turner (gk), McFadden, Valente.
Referee: M Atkinson (W Yorks).
Booked: Everton Neville.
Man of the match: Johnson.
Attendance: 23,327.Reuse content