After a couple of weeks’ break, and a bit extra so we could be on the telly, Fulham came back to the Cottage to celebrate an old friend. Jimmy Bullard returned from injury for his first game since he was injured just after Hodgson sold him to Hull. But he wasn’t too warmly received by the home fans.
George Cohen, on the other hand, is well loved by the supporters, and is marking his 70th birthday. It was also FFC’s 130th birthday as a club (if you ignore the various reformations in the 80s to avoid going under), so the team was wearing a ‘special’ kit, which looked to me to be remarkably similar to the usual kit, but with a bit of writing under the badge.
Fulham certainly played better in the first half, and Hull were under a fair amount of pressure, although the perennial problem of poor finishing or poor positioning in the box meant that few decent chances emerged. Hull were defending pretty solidly as well, but as the half wore on, they did . Murphy was playing exceptionally well in midfield, with intelligent passing and good cover play.
Damien Duff was the player who seemed to get the best shots in, and a period towards the end of the end of the half started with a Duff strike that was parried away for a corner and ended – several minutes of sustained attack later – with a Duff shot that the keeper could only bat away for Zamora to head in for his second goal of the season. Bobby Z was perhaps a shade offside, but on the other hand there was a good case for an illegal pass-back to the Hull keeper earlier on which could have led to an indirect kick in the middle of the penalty area.
The second half started with a bit less intensity, but Fulham started to dominate. Murphy took a knock and ended up coming off on the hour mark. Just before that, Bullard came on as a substitute (and to a chorus of boos). And just after that, Zamora and Kamara beat the offside trap to get behind the defence, with Bobby shooting across the goal for Diomansy to tap it in.
Dempsey had a couple of good chances after that, but they were just off target. Even though Hull brought on an extra attacker, they didn’t really come back into the game. Bullard was not a major catalyst as he can be, and a free kick from 25 yards was hit into the wall rather than being a classic Bullard strike. For the last ten minutes, Fulham did seem to sit back more and Duff and Kamara were subbed off – with the next six days, it seems to be wise. Hull were unable to break through, however, and didn’t have a single shot on target.
Three well earned and valuable points for Fulham, then, putting them up to 12th in the table. Hopefully Murphy’s knee will be recovered enough for the games coming up – the next Premiership game is away to Man City on Sunday, but before that is the