Fulham put a smile back on Jol's face but Bolton look downcast
Fulham 2 Bolton Wanderers 0
Sunday 18 December 2011
Martin Jol's face resembled thunder on Wednesday night. A pain the Europa League might have been, but for his Fulham side to go out of the competition in such excruciating circumstances, to the latest of injury-time equalisers, was tough to take. A bulldog chewing a wasp, to borrow an old graphic expression, would have looked less anguished.
Three days later, Jol was jolly again. Fulham brushed aside a woeful Bolton Wanderers at Craven Cottage and eased up into the safer regions of the Premier League. Just perhaps it was good to be rid of Europe, after all.
"After the disappointment on Wednesday, the most important thing was to get the points," Jol said. "We needed to get a third goal but were a bit sloppy in the second half and lost our momentum." Was Europe a distraction? "We never said that but... maybe it is a blessing that we are no longer in it. With all those games, a lot of Thursday nights, it was hard going. But now we can focus on the League."
Fulham showed no symptoms of a post-Europa hangover in a stirring first-half display. Shots rained in on Jussi Jaaskelainen, Bolton's goalkeeper, from all angles, with Andy Johnson driving wide when clean through, Clint Dempsey miscuing a volley and then a Danny Murphy effort flying off-target via a deflection. Johnson declined to use his left foot, when he should have done, and was blocked out; Brede Hangeland nodded over from a Murphy corner when it seemed easier to score.
It mattered not, though. Fulham were soon back on track, when Bryan Ruiz crossed from the right and Dempsey nosed ahead of Dedryck Boyata to nod past Jaaskelainen. Two minutes later, it was 2-0, when Ruiz latched on to a rather hopeful punt forward from Hangeland. The Costa Rica winger outpaced Marcos Alonso and then delightfully chipped the ball over the onrushing Jaaskelainen.
Fulham were in cruise control and David Stockdale in goal had little to do. And, therefore, little chance to impress the watching Fabio Capello, the England manager, and Ray Clemence, his goalkeeping coach. But he did move smartly to keep out a low drive from Mark Davies – just about enough to keep Capello and Clemence interested.
Bolton were clueless and small wonder that Owen Coyle, their manager, made two changes at half-time – Chris Eagles for Darren Pratley and Gretar Steinsson for Boyata. "The team was a bit fragile," Coyle said. "To give away that second goal, almost straight from the restart, was poor. We shot ourselves in the foot."
Fulham (4-2-3-1): Stockdale; Baird, Senderos, Hangeland, J A Riise; Murphy, Etuhu; Ruiz, Dembele, Dempsey; Johnson.
Bolton (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Boyata (Steinsson, h-t), Cahill, Knight, Alonso; Reo-Coker, Pratley (Eagles, h-t), Muamba, M Davies; K Davies (Ngog, 56), Klasnic.
Referee Chris Foy.
Man of the match Johnson (Fulham).
Match rating 6/10.
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Follow the latest events from this Champions League fixture
Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind"
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say
Latest in Sport
Luis Suarez: Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies from spine injury after doing somersault celebration
Arsenal vs Hull: Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan lead criticism of Arsene Wenger after 'uncomfortable' interview with Jacqui Oatley
Adel Taraabt criticism from QPR boss Harry Redknapp sparked by player walking out of team meeting prior to Liverpool game
West Brom vs Manchester United player ratings: Saido Berahino scores highest, whilst Marcos Rojo scores lowest
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments