Writer: S Wilton
Date:Thursday January 6 2011
4 January 2010
The Baggies went into this game with a staggering injury list and it proved to be their undoing as they could not cope with the aerial threat posed by a very limited Fulham team. Albion started with a back four of the inexperienced James Hurst at right back, Gonzalo Jara at centre back alongside Gianni Zuiverloon (three right backs) with the most experienced Marek Cech playing at left back. Paul Scharner was missing due to illness so there was no real height at the back. The injuries were made worse for the Baggies when Cech had to leave the field of play midway through the first half following a horrific tackle from John Pantsil which saw him stamp his studs into Cech's knee. Luckily, there was a ready made replacement on the bench in the form of Shorey but Fulham's height advantage was increased further. Despite Albion's problems it was they who looked the brighter, more creative team and they were unlucky not to take the lead when Jerome Thomas had a one on one with the Cottagers replacement keeper David Stockdale, however, his effort was weak and easily saved.
ulham were relying on dead balls to try to prise open Albion's defence but in the main the visitors were coping well, although Carson did look shaky every time the ball came near him. Sadly, for Albion it was their keeper that was to let them down again by flapping at a well hit shot from Simon Davies that ended up in the top corner of the goal. Never mind the fact that Mulumbu was fouled in the build up to the goal it was abysmal goalkeeping from Carson and it resulted in all of the confidence being drawn from Albion's makeshift team. The timing of the goal just before half time could not have been worse and it was something that the Baggies never recovered from.
A second goal came for Fulham from a likely source, a corner that was met well by Dempsey but that was within reach of Carson and he will be very disappointed not to have stopped. The third goal was pretty similar for Hangeland as he was left unmarked from another left wing corner and this time he gave absolutely no chance to Carson. Albion didn't give up after the third goal went in but their was no belief that they would ever get back into the game, the introduction of Cox for Mulumbu and Fortuné for Morrison did little to improve matters and the Londonders held on for a much needed win that lifted them above Albion in the table. However, it looks like these two teams will be scrapping at the bottom of the table for the rest of the season.
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Date:Thursday January 6 2011
|12. Aston Villa||17||5||5||7||-10||20|
|17. Crystal Palace||17||3||6||8||-8||15|
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