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Bent strike eases pressure on Jol
Darren Bent repaid Martin Jol's faith with a late goal in a 1-0 win over Stoke as the vultures prepared to swoop on the under-fire Fulham manager.
Brought in by the Dutchman after being marginalised at Aston Villa, the loanee came off the bench to secure a victory and potentially save the Dutchman's position at the helm.
It was not a comfortable victory for the Whites, far from it, but it was their first since the opening day of the season and first at Craven Cottage since April 1.
It had looked like their miserable run would continue as Stoke dominated the first half of Mark Hughes' first return to the ground since leaving citing a lack of ambition in the summer of 2011.
City were denied a clear-cut penalty when Philippe Senderos took down Stephen Ireland and Fernando Amorebieta was fortunate not to concede a spot-kick soon after for a challenge on Jonathan Walters, which was adjudged to be outside the box.
Stoke defender Robert Huth also had a header cleared off the line by Sascha Riether in a first half they controlled, although Fulham were denied a penalty when Bryan Ruiz was felled by Marc Wilson in stoppage time.
The second half swung from end to end, epitomised by Riether again clearing off the line before racing up the pitch to test Potters goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in the last 10 minutes.
The tension was palpable and Craven Cottage exploded when Bent slotted home seven minutes from time, securing victory in a match Jol admitted in his programme notes was a "huge game for us all".
The hosts attempted to set the early tempo, although their lack of confidence was evident as several passes went awry in the opening 10 minutes.
Pajtim Kasami, shifted to the right to accommodate Ruiz as the number 10, was fortunate not to receive early punishment after flinging an arm out in the direction of Erik Pieters.
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