New-boy Pogrebnyak inspires Fulham
New signing Pavel Pogrebnyak scored just 15 minutes into his debut for Fulham as the Cottagers defeated Stoke City 2-1 at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
An own goal from Thomas Sorensen put Fulham 2-0 ahead by half-time and they held on for all three points despite some late pressure from Stoke following Ryan Shawcross' strike 12 minutes from time.
Fulham were boosted by the arrival of Russian striker Pogrebnyak, who signed from Stuttgart on transfer deadline day to replace the departed Bobby Zamora.
Stoke, having lost their last three league games, were without centre-back Robert Huth, who started a three-match ban after losing an appeal against his red card at Sunderland.
But Matthew Etherington returned after recovering from a virus, while Cameron Jerome was fit again despite suffering a dead leg last weekend and took his place on the bench.
Fulham were quick to take control of the match, dominating possession, and it was Pogrebnyak who opened the scoring 15 minutes into his debut for the London side, firing home from close range.
Twelve minutes later it was 2-0 when a long-range effort from Clint Dempsey smacked against the crossbar and then bounced back in off the back of Sorensen.
Pogrebnyak was proving to be more than a handful for the Stoke defence and he came close again after 37 minutes with a header that sailed narrowly over the bar.
Fulham looked happy to settle for a 2-0 half-time lead, although Danny Murphy went close with a long-range effort that went narrowly wide.
Central defender Matthew Upson had a great chance to pull one back for Stoke two minutes into the second half but he fired over the crossbar from just five yards out with the goal at his mercy.
The 23,555 crowd gave Pogrebnyak a standing ovation when he came off after 63 minutes but a minute later Stoke almost brought themselves back into the game when the home defence struggled to clear a Glenn Whelan corner-kick.
Stoke were piling forward in search of a goal and Fulham's Australia international goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was called on to make a pair of smart saves before Peter Crouch hit a half-volley narrowly wide.
The visitors finally made their second-half pressure tell after 78 minutes when Shawcross nodded home Jermaine Pennant's corner at the near post, but they were unable to grab a late equaliser.
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