Fulham 2 Hull City 0: Zamora stars as Cottagers pile misery on boss Brown
20 October 2009 07:52
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Fulham ground out a victory that lifted them into the relative comfort zone of 12th place and demonstrated the world of ambition that separates them from an abject Hull team.
While Roy Hodgson’s men can look forward to a Europa League meeting with the Italian aristocrats of Roma on Thursday, Hull will be worried that their future holds Championship football and trips to Barnsley and Scunthorpe.
Only the return of second-half substitute Jimmy Bullard from knee surgery will have lightened the gloom that enveloped Hull’s travelling fans.
The relegation zone appears to be their home for the foreseeable future.
Thankfully, goals either side of the interval from Bobby Zamora and Diomansy Kamara livened up what had been a tedious game up to that point. Not that Roy Hodgson’s side will care after playing much better this season with no reward.
Their only concern on a night on which Damien Duff was outstanding, while Kamara and Zamora proved a constant menace to a static Hull defence, will be a knee injury which forced the substitution of the influential Danny Murphy.
He will have a scan to assess the extent of the damage.
Hodgson said: ‘We managed to tie two knots together tonight and came away with the points and a performance that I was happy with. The mood changed with the goal just before half-time.’
For Hull, it was a return to the depressing form which has characterised their year.
Their only away league win in 2009 came at Fulham in March, a 1-0 victory which ultimately kept them up last season.
Their hopelessness in attack, demonstrated by the ineffective Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, was exemplified early on by a Paul McShane cross which ballooned over.
In the second half, Stephen Hunt skied a shot so badly that it nearly cleared the roof of the stand housing the Hull fans. The cheer they gave the effort was in mock celebration of their side’s derisory efforts.
The only incident in the opening half-hour that stirred a chilled crowd was the touchline warm-up of Bullard, once of Fulham and only once of Hull since a £5million move in January.
When he eventually did take to the pitch, the midfielder was left in no doubts as to the feeling he left behind when choosing a lucrative contract at Hull.
Back on the pitch, a Kamara cross from the left was somehow scooped over the bar from six yards by Zamora.
Ibrahima Sonko then headed his clearance straight to Duff, whose rasping low shot was turned away by Hull keeper Boaz Myhill.
When he struck another fine effort three minutes before half-time, Myhill could only parry and the ball fell perfectly for Zamora to nod into the unguarded net.
Invigorated by the goal, Fulham emerged after half-time anxious to end the match as a contest.
On the hour, Zamora found himself in space on the edge of the area and had the simple task of squaring for Kamara to sidefoot home.
That might have triggered an avalanche to greet the return of Bullard to action after an absence of nine months as rudely as the forearm smash from Kamara which sent him sprawling.
As it was, Dempsey and Kamara dragged shots inches wide, while Zamora’s right-foot drive forced Myhill into a smart save.
A disappointed Phil Brown said: ‘In the first half we didn’t create anything. We defended resolutely but the first goal changed the dynamic.
'We’re not here to play beautiful football, we’re here to get a result. Our work-rate with the ball needs to be stepped up.’