Match Report: Charlie Adam's appetite for goal gives Fulham manager Martin Jol food for thought
Stoke City 1 Fulham 0
Sunday 25 November 2012
A diminutive craftsman in a team of hefty artisans, albeit someone more than capable of putting the boot in if required, it is taking Stoke's Charlie Adam time to adjust after his move from Liverpool. But while his passing continues to be under-utilised in the Potteries, and probably always will be, for the second home match in a row the Scot was in the right place to score the goal which gave his side three points.
"Adam even looks bigger than he looked last year, it must be good food in Stoke," said Fulham manager Martin Jol, after acknowledging his side had been bullied during a first half in which they were under constant pressure.
He maintained that Giorgos Karagounis had been fouled in the build-up to Stoke's goal, but his complaints were otherwise aimed largely at the manner in which his side let themselves be knocked out of their usual passing stride.
For so long a pushover away from home, the Dutchman has imbued Fulham with a steeliness on their travels this season, the visitors coming into this game unbeaten in their last four away games. Unfortunately for Jol, the suspension of Brede Hangeland and injuries to Bryan Ruiz and Alexander Kacaniklic meant his line-up bore a much-changed look.
The Potters had been turning the screw for some time before they opened the scoring shortly before the half-hour. Peter Crouch was sandwiched between two defenders as he waited at the far post for Ryan Shotton's deep cross, but the forward was still able to nod the ball back across goal where Adam, shockingly unmarked about six yards from goal, had more than enough time to control the ball, turn and fire past Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
Minutes later Stoke came close to extending their lead when Schwarzer came for Matthew Etherington's corner, but was out-jumped by Ryan Shawcross, whose header thumped against the underside of the crossbar before bouncing clear.
Glenn Whelan, running on to Jon Walter's set-up after Schwarzer had again flapped at an Etherington cross, shot over at the start of the second half, but the Australian goalkeeper was at his best in touching Huth's header over just after the hour mark.
Having offered so little going forward, Fulham then put together a glorious sequence of passes in which both Ashkan Dejagah and Damien Duff were prominent before Dimitar Berbatov fired in a rising angled drive which Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic had to dive to his right to save.
Having finally begun to threaten, Fulham continued to attack, but it was Stoke who had the ball in the back of the net again only for striker Kenwyne Jones's late effort to be ruled out for offside.
"We've just asked Charlie to get closer to 'Crouchie'," said Stoke manager Tony Pulis. "We're pretty structured, organised and disciplined, we need him up around Peter, and if he does that, he'll get opportunities to score."
Stoke (4-5-1): Begovic; Shotton, Huth, Shawcross, Cameron; Walters, Whelan, N'Zonzi, Adam (Whitehead, 82), Etherington (Kightly, 72); Crouch (Jones, 77).
Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Senderos, Riise; Dejegah, Baird, Sidwell (Rodallega, 81), Karagounis (Duff, 73); Petric, Berbatov.
Referee: Michael Oliver
Man of the match: Adam (Stoke)
Match rating: 6/10
Latest in Sport
Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce: Manchester United striker 'agrees to personal terms' with Turkish side
Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs posts bizarre video of his Miami holiday being invaded by an iguana
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Arturo Vidal to Real Madrid: Transfer news live - Sergio Ramos to Manchester United, Lukas Podolski to leave Arsenal
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts