Fulham 2 Hull 2 match report: Fulham left with sinking feeling after Shane Long leveller

Magath targets two wins after his side squander 2-0 lead and chance to escape the bottom three

Craven Cottage

For 20 minutes yesterday Fulham were out of the bottom three for the first time since January. Two goals in three minutes, by Ashkan Dejagah and Fernando Amorebieta, had started the party. With half-an-hour to go salvation beckoned by the Thames. Then Hull forgot about their FA Cup final date and plunged a dagger into the Londoners’ hopes of a 14th successive season in the top flight.

It was Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long, neither of whom can play at Wembley as they are cup-tied, who wielded the knife, the latter heading in at the far post with just four minutes remaining.

FOLLOW ALL TODAY'S PREMIER LEAGUE ACTION HERE

Fulham are back in the bottom three. They have two games left at Stoke and against Crystal Palace – teams that, while with little to play for, will not roll over.

“We have to win them,” said Felix Magath, Fulham’s third manager of the season. But they also need other teams to drop points, quite a lot of points. This was not in the brochure when Shahid Khan paid approaching £200 million for Fulham last summer.

 

The American owner does not have to worry about relegation in the NFL, where he owns the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it becoming a very real prospect for the UK arm of his sporting empire.

Khan paid a flying visit to Craven Cottage yesterday leaving at half-time because the last time he did so Fulham won. When, as he headed for the airport, Fulham’s goals were heard on the radio he must have thought his superstitious move had paid off. But luck was against Fulham, Jelavic’s goal following a freak deflection as Sascha Riether attempted to cut out Sone Aluko’s through ball. David Stockdale pushed it onto the bar, but when it came down Jelavic headed in.

While outlandish the goal was part of the piece in a turbulent second half which included the comical sight of the diminutive Mahamadou Diarra squaring up to the hulking Tom Huddlestone.,

The first half was soporific by comparison despite the vibrant pre-match mood. Disregarding the unfortunate experience suffered by Chris Hughton, who was struck by a flying clapper as he made for the tunnel at the end of what proved his last match as Norwich manager, Fulham had again issued the folded card contraptions and to the announcer David Hamilton’s call of “It’s Showtime,” Craven Cottage reverberated with noise as kick-off approached.

The pre-match tune of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’, was sung lustily by supporters. At times this season Fulham have, though, been unbearable to watch, most notably when losing 6-0 at Hull.

That was under their second manager of the season, Rene Meulensteen. His replacement has had to acquaint himself with a bloated squad while trying to win matches. It has been a tough process and Magath’s team selections have been as inconsistent as David Moyes’ were at Manchester United. Yesterday he made three changes from the XI well beaten at Tottenham. Diarra, Lewis Holtby and Reither replaced Dejagah, William Kvist and Alexander Kacaniklic, the latter two being dropped from the matchday squad.

It seemed an oddly negative choice given Fulham’s need to win. Diarra sat deepest of a trio of holding midfielders while John Arne Riise was asked to attack the left flank and Holtby given licence to drift in from the right. That was the theory. It worked well enough at the start with Riise fizzing a shot wide from Hugo Rodallega’s lay-off, then the Colombian himself somehow failing to make contact with a cross from Fernando Amorebieta.

But once Hull, rejigged into a three-man defence after being beaten comprehensively at home by Arsenal, settled into their new shape Fulham found chances increasingly elusive. Indeed, it was Hull who came closest to scoring before the break when Long went clear only to be bundled over by Amorebieta. To the audible relief of Fulham fans, Lee Mason did not give a penalty.

At the break, Magath threw on Dejagah and Kieran Richardson, soon adding Darren Bent. His boldness paid off as Dejagah dummied David Meyler and Liam Rosenior before curling in his second goal in his last four substitute appearances, then Amorebieta headed in Richardson’s cross to become the first Venezuelan player to score in the Premier League.

Fulham were cruising until Jelavic’s fluke goal induced panic. While Bent wasted a chance to score, and Dejagah brought a fine save from Steve Harper, Hull hit the woodwork through both Aluko and Elmohamady before Long peeled off to head in Aluko’s cross.

“We were in complete control then we had a crazy few minutes and we are two-nil down and thinking where’s that come from?” said Steve Bruce, Hull’s manager. “But the reason we’re 13th in the league and in the FA Cup final is we don’t give up.” Hull now have 37 points which Bruce said “might be enough, it usually is”. Pondering the scrap going on beneath them he added: “I’m glad we’re not in this shite.” Fulham, though, are deep in the mire and the fans trooping away left their behind clappers on which was season tickets were advertised “from £299”. Good value for the Premier League, less so for the Championship.

Line-ups:

Fulham (4-1-4-1): Stockdale; Reither, Heitinga, Hangeland, Amorebieta; Diarra; Holtby (Dejagah, h-t), Parker, Sidwell (Bent, 53), Riise (Richardson, h-t); Rodallega..

Hull City (3-5-2): Harper; Chester, Bruce (Aluko, 67), Davies; Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler (Sagbo, 82), Rosenior (Boyd, 82); Jelavic, Long.

Referee: Lee Mason.

Man of the match:  Long (Hull)

Match rating: 7/10

Suggested Topics
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas