Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fulham Take Three Points from Reading

And the Cottagers stay alive with four matches remaining. With their first away win since Septebmer 2006, Fulham looked like a real Premiership team today. Playing with a great deal of fluidity and control during most of the match, Fulham at times looked to be running circles around Reading this week.

Brian McBride netted his third goal of his injury shortened season with a sliding strike off a Simon Davies cross from the left side. Aided by a wet pitch after a torrential rain/hail storm in between roughtly the 8th and 15th minute, McBride slid just in front of his defender to put the Cottagers up one nil. (Check out the picture of Clint Dempsey on the match report at the link above).

Unlike previous matches, Fulham didn't rest on their one goal. While there were some minor chances in the rest of the firtst half, the Cottagers really got busy in the second half. But Reading's keeper, Marcus Hahnemann must be praising the woodwork or it cold have easily been a 5 goal game. In the 50th minute, McBride visibly rocked the crossbar with a thundering volley on a David Healy cross from the right side. Twenty mintutes later, Defender Brede Hangeland also rocked the woodwork on a header off a Jimmy Bullard corner kick. Two minutes later, Bullard rocked the corner of the woodwork with a 30 yard free kick.
Substitute Erik Neveland netted in the second minute of injury time to seal the victory.

With three points, it later became apparent that Fulham needed all three points as 18th Place Bolton also won their match with a 1-0 win over West Ham United. Birmingham (whom Fulham play in three weeks) earned a point with a draw against Everton. The bottom remained tight, with Fulham just five points from safety (really four but the goal differential works against them).

Fulham will face Liverpool next week at the Cottage before traveling to the struggling Manchester City. Results are important and hopefully Fulham will take some confidence from their first road win this season into their match with Liverpool.

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