Fulham crashed to a heavy home defeat courtesy of two late goals at Craven Cottage this afternoon.
Martin Jol certainly shuffled his pack for this one making eight changes to the side that lost in Kracow. Amongst those returning were Riise, Baird, Grygera, Murphy, Dempsey and Zamora. Missing from the starting eleven though was the popular Aaron Hughes. Perhaps the easiest way of reporting the changes, in hindsight, would have been to remark that only Schwarzer, Dembele and Hangeland remained from Thursday`s starting eleven.
First Half – Fulham got off to the worst possible start, conceding with only three minutes on the clock but what a peach of a strike it was. Rodwell fed the ball to the Dutchman, Drenthe, and from the edge of the box he slammed it past Schwarzer.
The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Fulham as we struggled to string together any decent moves, instead it was Everton that dominated matters with Fellaini and Rodwell both going close with headed efforts.
Drenthe, buoyed by his strike, had another shot that Schwarzer dealt with after it had taken a slight deflection. All Fulham had to respond with was volley by Riise that went over the bar.
Fulham finally did wake up though with Murphy striking a post with the rebound hitting Howard on the head and bouncing behind for a corner. From the resulting corner, Howard reacted smartly to keep out a header from Dempsey.
The game had now taken off in a big way. Rodwell almost doubled Everton`s lead before Hangeland saw Howard keep his header out. As half time approached, Fulham almost got back into the game when an effort from Dempsey curled just wide.
Second Half – With time ebbing away, Jol introduced our £10 million man, Bryan Ruiz, and it was to pay dividends when the Costa Rican got his first goal in English football.
The gaol, coming not long after his introduction, saw Ruiz produce a delightful lob to beat Howard in the Everton goal.
At 1-1 each it was anybodies game and the ex-Fulham striker, Luis Saha, forced Schwarzer into producing a good save. But, with the final whistle not too far away, the ex-Fulham striker put Everton ahead scoring from an acute angle.
What made matters worse was that Zamora had just missed a glorious chance, down the other end, to put Fulham ahead.
To rub salt into the wounds, and as Fulham went in search of a second equaliser, Everton to put the game beyond doubt when Rodwell hit a delightful, if you are an Everton fan, shot past Schwarzer.
Bad times at Craven Cottage with three defeats on the bounce heaping pressure on Martin Jol.
Next week it`s a trip to Wigan in what is now becoming a must win game!
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