Fulham celebrate in style as Zamora returns to form
Fulham 2 Hull City 0
Tuesday 20 October 2009
On their 130th birthday, Fulham made it one to remember, with this win that prised them away from the relegation zone. Therefore in anniversary week, Roy Hodgson, the Cottagers' manager, has seen off one tanned adversary – Phil Brown – and now awaits another in the shape of the more formidable but only slightly more eccentric Claudio Ranieri.
Roma visit Craven Cottage on Thursday for their Europa League fixture, and if Ranieri – once of south-west London, but as the manager of Chelsea – had tuned in from his home in Rome, he might have quickly dozed off. However, if he woke up he might have had to pinch himself he was not still dreaming when he saw that Bobby Zamora was involved in both goals.
The much-maligned striker scored the first goal – following up after Damien Duff's shot was punched out by Boaz Myhill – a minute before the interval. Then, 20 minutes later, he turned provider for Diomansy Kamara to tap in from six yards.
The combination of Zamora – who almost joined Hull in the summer – and Kamara had only provided one league goal all season but if things picked up for the hosts by the time of the second goal they got even better as Jimmy Bullard finished on the losing side.
Brown, who cut a subdued presence afterwards, disappointed by his team's first-half showing and the lack of support for his striker, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, had Bullard fit for his first return to Craven Cottage since leaving in January, when he duly snapped a cruciate knee ligament on his debut for Hull.
Having started on the bench, Bullard may have felt left out, but the home fans acknowledged him when he warmed up on the touchline, serenading him with the timeless refrain, "there's only one greedy bastard," although true to form, Bullard, a dressing-room comedian, greeted that with a hand-clap.
He didn't have much to laugh about on his first appearance of the season. Booed for every touch, he was barged off the ball by Kamara within a minute and Clint Dempsey soon followed. His contribution hinted at improvements in Hull's midfield, but the visitors – losing 6-1 at Liverpool apart – cannot have been less effective this season.
Fulham, if they are to make further strides in Europe or the league, need Andy Johnson to return although he is doubtful to face the Italians due to a persistent pain in his groin. The forwards' contributions may have lessened Hodgson's worries in attack for Thursday, but he did suffer the loss of Danny Murphy after a knock to the back of his knee. Hodgson will want his captain fit against the Italians.
Hodgson said: "We've had the performance recently but not the points so we tied the knots together here. I was sure with our dominance we would score and it's been a decent start to the season. It was nice to see Bobby score and create some chances. The work rate, pressuring, was as it should be. It was a well-deserved victory."
Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Paintsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Dempsey, Murphy (Greening, 59), Baird, Duff (Gera, 84); Zamora, Kamara (Nevland, 87). Substitutes not used: Zuberbühler (gk), Kelly, Riise, Smalling.
Hull City (4-1-4-1): Myhill; McShane, Sonko, Kilbane, Dawson; Zayatte; Ghilas (Bullard, 57), Marney, Geovanni, Hunt (Altidore, 68); Vennegoor of Hesselink (Mendy, 80). Substitutes not used: Warner (gk), Halmosi, Mouyokolo, Olofinjana.
Referee: A Marriner (West Midlands).
Booked: Fulham Konchesky; Hull Dawson.
Man of the match: Zamora.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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