Sunday, May 2, 2010

Clint Dempsey's inspiring a victory, Stefano Okaka complement

Fulham 3
- Dempsey 45,
- Cole (og) 58,
- Okaka 79

West Ham United 2
- Cole 61,
- Guillermo Franco 90

**The opening exchanges at Craven Cottage were pretty dull; the home side looking unsurprisingly drained after their mid-week exploits while the visitors looked as toothless and bereft of ideas as they have looked since mid-week last August!

Schwarzer pulled off a good save to stop a Mark Noble shot on the turn after 23 minutes while Dempsey came close three minutes later when his shot grazed the bar. Da Costa produced another good save from the Fulham keeper after 40 minutes when he struck hard from range but these were rare moments in a game that looked locked on stalemate until Dempsey hit home on the stroke of half-time following Davies' fine through ball.

In the second period, a Riise cross was volleyed over his own crossbar by Matthew Upson when it might have gone anywhere and from the resulting corner, Fulham went 2-0. The ball was cleared by Faubert but only to Baird whose shot - if you can call it that - was headed for the hoardings on the other side of the pitch until it struck Carlton Cole and flew into the net.

The Hammers immediately made changes with Faubert and IIan coming off for Diamanti and Franco and the move was rewarded within seconds when Noble's cross from a free-kick was headed in by Cole for his first goal in ten games. It could have been a chance for the visitors to pressure the home side but the game was gifted to Fulham ten minutes after when Spector was easily dispossessed by Nevland who passed in front of the goal for an unmarked Okaka to slide home easily. It was a moment that summed up West Ham's season.

Franco scored a 90th minute consolation after exceptional work by Scott Parker to make it 3-2 but it was all too little and all too late.

Squads :

Fulham : Schwarzer, Konchesky, Pantsil, Baird, Smalling, Riise, Dempsey (Elm 85), Greening, Davies (Okaka Chuka 70), Dikgacoi, Nevland

West Ham : Green, Upson, Spector, Faubert (Alessandro Diamanti 61), Da Costa, Parker, Kovac, Noble, Behrami (Stanislas 82), Ilan (Franco 61), Cole


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