Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fulham Edge Closer To Safety After Blackpool Romp

Fulham striker (right) powers in a shot for his opener against BlackpoolPre-match, a statue of the late Michael Jackson was unveiled outside Craven Cottage, and there was a bit of an "abc, 123" quality about Fulham's first half performance.

From the off, the Cottagers were well on top and Damien Duff was denied a goal after his shot, teed up by Dembele, was touched onto the post by the stretching Richard Kingson. That save was made in the fifteenth minute, and just seven minutes after that Fulham made the breakthrough.

Intercepting a loose Blackpool pass, Bobby Zamora acclerated through on goal, showing great strength and speed to hold off his marker, before slamming a terrific finish into the top corner. That strike was Zamora's first goal from open play since August, and the look of joy on his face as he ran to celebrate with teammate Andrew Johnson was testament to the length of time between the two goals.

Having waited eight months between goals from open play, Zamora's next one was to come just two minutes later, a beautifully flicked header from a fine Damien Duff delivery.

Fulham were well on top by now, and they looked organized at the back, fluid in midfield, and razor sharp up front. On the other hand, Blackpool looked dismal, lacking energy, organization, and the spark that has made them so dangerous in the league this season.

However, the Tangerines did enjoy a small period of dominance at the end of the first period, and a Brett Ormerod header was cleared off the line, an effort which led to a flurry of corners for the away side. Unfortunately for Hollaway's men though, Fulham defended stoutly, clearly not in the mood to give away any sloppy goals.

In the second half, Blackpool improved, keeping the ball with slightly more composure, but already out of the game, they were unable to carve out anymore clear chances.

Fulham too seemed happy to just let the game wind down, but they did give their fans cause to celebrate with a third goal twenty minutes from the end. Midfielder Danny Murphy swung in a free kick, which was headed against the woodwork by Clint Dempsey, only for it to fall to defender Brede Hangelaand, who set Dickson Etuhu up for an easy finish.

If they hadn't been already, Fulham were certainly home and dry now, and the last fifteen minutes yielded little action worthy of any mention.

A 3-0 win for Fulham sees them edge closer to safety, but the same can certainly not be said for Blackpool, who have only slipped further into the relegation mire, following this weekend's results. Blackpool are currently just one point off the bottom three, and with a home match against Arsenal looming on the horizon, Tangerines fans will know that their side are likely to end next weekend in the relegation zone.


Adam JohnsonMeanwhile, in the Premier League's second match of the day, Manchester City moved up to third place with a convincing, 5-0 win over a struggling Sunderland side. Adam Johnson set the Citizens on their way with an early goal, before a Carlos Tevez penalty gave City a 2-0 lead going into the break.

In the second half, City continued to dominate, with David Silva, Patrick Viera and Yaya Toure, adding to the joy for Mancini, and the misery for Steve Bruce. City's win, coupled with bad results for all their other fourth place rivals, leaves the Sky Blues in a strong position heading into the run-in.

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