Cottagers end away-day blues

BY foxsports • March 16, 2009

Two errors by Bolton defender Andy O'Brien handed Fulham a 3-1 win - their first away victory of the season - to ease their relegation worries. In the 42nd minute the centre-back poked the ball past his own goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and saw Andrew Johnson slide in at the far post to score. Kevin Davies equalised in first-half injury time but 11 minutes after the interval another mistake by O'Brien allowed Johnson and Danny Murphy to set up Simon Davies and Diomansy Kamara added a late third. It was Fulham's first win away from Craven Cottage since the final day of last season and lifted them eight points clear of the relegation zone. A second successive defeat leaves the gap between Bolton and the bottom three at just four points. Both sides had gone into the game on the back of disappointing losses and they struggled to get any fluency in the early stages and it took until the 28th minute for the first goalscoring opportunity. Brede Hangeland was penalised for pushing Kevin Davies and from the resulting free-kick Bolton should really have scored. Johan Elmander's low strike was partially saved by Mark Schwarzer but Gary Cahill followed up with two efforts only to be denied by the goalkeeper and then Hangeland from close range with Gavin McCann eventually firing wide with the goal at his mercy. Matt Taylor had the ball in the net in the 37th minute after drifting in from the right but he was marginally offside. Seconds later Jaaskelainen was called upon to make his first save when Zamora controlled Paul Konchesky's left-wing cross 10 yards out but shot straight at the goalkeeper. However, Jaaskelainen was powerless to stop Fulham's next attack in the 42nd minute as O'Brien tapped Simon Davies' throughball past his own goalkeeper. The defender chased back but could not prevent Johnson sliding in at the far post to score only Fulham's fourth away goal all season. However, the hosts were back on level terms in injury time when Kevin Davies chested down a long punt to Mark Davies who returned the pass to the striker and he jinked his way into the area and fired home. Within five minutes of the restart Murphy's ball inside Jlloyd Samuel put Bobby Zamora clear on the right and his cross seemed destined for the unmarked Johnson until Mark Davies got back to intervene. However, O'Brien's miserable afternoon continued in the 56th minute when he was robbed by Johnson. Although the striker was dispossessed as he ran into the penalty area the ball fell to Murphy whose left-foot shot cannoned back off the crossbar. The rebound dropped to Simon Davies and his shot back across goal could not be kept out by Samuel as the ball just crept over the line. Cahill flashed McCann's 68th-minute corner wide before Mark Davies, who appeared to injure his knee when Clint Dempsey fell on him, was replaced by Fabrice Muamba. Bolton upped the tempo in the closing 10 minutes but they struggled to deliver the final ball and the Reebok Stadium crowd became increasingly angry. With three minutes to go the hosts' misery was complete when McCann's aimless ball into midfield was picked up by Dempsey who played in for substitute Diomansy Kamara to slot home.

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