Fulham 2 West Bromwich 0: After 1,763 minutes Zamora scores for Fulham

23 February 2009 03:29
Talk about adding insult to injury. You're glued to the bottom of the Barclays Premier League, you have only five points on your travels and now even Bobby Zamora is scoring against you.

West Bromwich Albion

looked every inch a team doomed to the drop at Craven Cottage. They were run ragged by Fulham

, who rattled the woodwork four times before Zamora and Andy Johnson eventually grabbed the goals to clinch the points.

Odd couple: Bobby Zamora displays a muted celebration alongside fellow Fulham's goalscorer Andrew Johnson

Albion were shambolic at the back and feeble in attack, avoiding a serious thrashing thanks to a mixture of good fortune and desperate goalkeeping from Scott Carson, who saved one shot with his face, only for Johnson to tuck in the rebound as he lay dazed on the turf.

When the visitors were thrown a lifeline in the form of a late penalty, substitute Roman Bednar had his spotkick saved by Mark Schwarzer.

For Zamora, though, this was a day of rare celebration, stopping the clock on a personal goal drought which has moved into the sort of numbers normally reserved for Edwin van der Sar's clean sheet record.

Having endured 20 Premier games without a goal since netting against Bolton on September 13 - although he did net in the FA Cup at Kettering last month - his barren run had ticked to 1,763 minutes when his moment of glory arrived.

It was the 61st minute of the match when John Pantsil crossed from the right, Johnson flung himself headlong to flick the ball on and Zamora pounced at the far post, tapping into an empty net.

Earlier in the game, a missed chance sliced wildly over from 12 yards, had provoked howls of frustration from home fans but they sang Zamora's name as he revelled in his second league goal since his £6million transfer from West Ham

last summer.

'Bob's bound to be relieved,' said manager Roy Hodgson.

'It was pretty obvious a weight had been lifted from his mind. But I prefer to judge front players on what they do for the team. It would give me no satisfaction if he had eight goals and we were in the bottom three.

His link-up play and his partnership with Johnson have been important for us, but as a front player you always want to score and you will always get it thrown at you if you do not.

Bobby dazzler: Fulham striker Bobby Zamora finally breaks his barren goal drought to beat Albion goalkeeper Scott Carson from close range

'There were times when Bob would have welcomed a break. He has often complained he was quite tired and that in the past he hasn't played this many games, but we have kept him on track.

'It is a credit to his determination and strength of character and he has got his reward.'

Broken strings: Man of the match Danny Murphy cuts West Bromwich Albion midfielder James Morrison short in his tracks

Fulham deserved the lead, having dominated from kick-off. Carson tipped Danny Murphy's free-kick on to his right-hand post in the fourth minute, but was helpless as Clint Dempsey's 25-yarder thudded into the opposite upright 20 minutes later.

Murphy hit the bar with a delicate curler before half-time and Brede Hangeland headed against the bar from a corner when the score was 1-0.

Zamora was instrumental in Fulham's second, lashing a fierce shot through Carson's hands and into his face. Johnson collected the loose ball and scored before the goalkeeper could regain his senses.

Smash grab: Andy Johnson celebrates the winner after capitalising from Bobby Zamora's fearsome shot that rebounded into his path off of Scott Carson's face

It had been a torrid afternoon for Carson in front of England manager Fabio Capello. He made some excellent saves, including one scrambling effort to prevent an own goal by Leon Barnett, but looked as if he had been caught in a hurricane.

Despite the two-goal cushion, Hodgson was furious when referee Martin Atkinson awarded a penalty to Albion in stoppage time after Hangeland dangled out a leg and Bednar duly toppled over it. Schwarzer's save from Bednar summed up the visitors' day.

Sinking feeling: West Bromwich boss Tony Mowbray is despondent in defeat

'We can't complain,' said manager Tony Mowbray.

'Fulham were better than we were. They controlled the game for long spells. But I'm not getting sucked into the negatives. We worked hard. I can't question their effort and desire.'

He added: 'We will try to win some games between now and the end of the season, especially at home. Will it be enough? Time will tell. We have got teams in the bottom half of the table coming to our place and with our supporters behind us we can win those games.'

But he sounded as though he barely believed his own words.


FULHAM (4-4-2): Schwarzer 7; Pantsil 6, Hughes 7, Hangeland 7, Konchesky 6; Davies 7, Etuhu 7, Murphy 8 (Dacourt 85min), Dempsey 8; Zamora 6 (Nevland 80), Johnson 7 (Kamara 80).

WEST BROMWICH (4-4-2): Carson 6; Zuiverloon 5, Meite 6, Barnett 7, Robinson 6; Morrison 5 (Menseguez 77), Koren 5, Valero 4, Teixeira 4 (Brunt 50, 6); Simpson 5, Fortune 4 (Bednar 81). Booked: Robinson.

Man of the match: Danny Murphy. Referee: Martin Atkinson.


Source: Daily_Mail