Manucho strike robs Cottagers
Fulham 0 Hull City 1
Thursday 05 March 2009
This was not, on the face of it, as staggering a result as Hull's other victories in London, at Arsenal and Tottenham. However, rarely will a result so misrepresent a match. Fulham utterly dominated this game but lost to an injury-time goal from Manucho, the Angolan striker on loan from Manchester United. It was his first goal in England and gave Hull their first league victory of 2009.
Fulham played well enough to worry Manchester United ahead of Saturday's FA Cup tie but Matt Duke, at fault in Saturday's home defeat to Blackburn, repaid Phil Brown's decision to retain him in the Hull goal with a superb performance which gained the Tigers a precious win. Brown, desperate to halt his club's slide down the table, had made four personnel changes, and two positional, but stuck with his goalkeeper.
"Matt made his first mistake against Blackburn and it cost us the game but as far as I'm concerned he is a good goalkeeper and goalkeepers need a good run in the team," said Brown. The Hull manager added: "We didn't deserve to win but if you keep a clean sheet you've always a chance of getting something. We've been pretty before and turned over, tonight was not about being pretty."
Hull had the first chance, Giovanni whistling a harshly awarded free-kick just wide, but Fulham were then in command, passing and moving their way up the pitch, with the fulcrum, Danny Murphy, well supported from the flanks by Clint Dempsey and Simon Davies.
Bobby Zamora, Andrew Johnson, Dempsey and Davies shared half-a-dozen first-half chances without even testing Duke, but in the second period his gloves were stinging. Within a dozen minutes of the resumption he had turned shots from Johnson, Dempsey and Paul Konchesky over the bar. In addition, Zamora had a penalty appeal turned down after being grappled by Kevin Kilbane, and Dempsey struck the post from a tight angle. Johnson was next to be frustrated, Bernard Mendy clearing his header off the line. Then Zamora somehow missed the ball when presented with an open goal.
When a team wastes so many chances, fate often offers the opposition one, which they take. When Daniel Cousin blazed over from Craig Fagan's cut-back, such fears appeared unfounded but, in the 92nd minute, Richard Garcia, sent on only to waste time, crossed from the left. As Konchesky dithered, Manucho stole in to stun even his own team and inflict Fulham's first home defeat since September.
"You cannot have a worse scenario for a professional footballer than to lose like that," said Roy Hodgson, the Fulham manager. "I will have to lift them for Manchester United."
No one was more upset than the Ghanaian right-back John Paintsil who had to be dragged away from Fagan by security at the final whistle, as referee the Michael Jones tried to keep him from the Hull player.
Hodgson, said: "The referee said to me, 'Your right-back is very upset. He says he was abused but I didn't hear anything so I can't take any action'." Hodgson added: "Obviously something happened. You don't see John like that very often but football players have been abused since time immemorial."
In the immediate aftermath it was impossible to confirm that Fagan was directly involved but any abuse was understood to be personal rather than racist. Hodgson added: "I will speak to him when he calms down. He will probably accept these things do happen in football but if John feels we, as a club, need to do something about it, we will consider it."
Goal: Manucho (90) 0-1.
Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Paintsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey; Johnson, Zamora (Kamara, 88). Substitutes not used: Zuberbühler (gk), Nevland, Gera, Dacourt, Stoor, Kallio.
Hull City (4-4-2): Duke; Ricketts, Turner, Gardner, Kilbane; Mendy (Garcia, 88), Zayatte, Ashbee, Geovanni (Barmby, 90); Fagan, Cousin (Manucho, 75). Substitutes not used: Myhill (gk), Barmby, Hughes, France, Garcia, Halmosi.
Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).
Booked: Fulham Davies, Hangeland, Etuhu; Hull Geovanni.
Man of the match: Manucho.
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