Fulham eased any relegation fears with an emphatic 3-0 win over Blackpool at Craven Cottage this afternoon.
For the fixture Mark Hughes was able to welcome back Bobby Zamora for his first start since his injury woe and Aaron Hughes overcame a shoulder injury, picked up on international duty, to start alongside Brede Hangeland. On the bench Steve Sidwell was selected after a month out with an ankle injury.
The visitors started neatly but it wasn`t long before Fulham were in their stride. A decent move ended with Duff unleashing a low drive that saw Kingson just get his fingertips to divert it onto the base of the post.
Minutes later Kingson couldn`t keep out a Baird long range effort but when it looked as if the ball would break to Zamora the flag was raised for offside. With twenty-three minutes on the clock though, Fulham went ahead with Blackpool being the architect of their own downfall courtesy of a sloppy pass.
James Beattie played a loose ball from inside Fulham`s half, that gave Zamora the chance to stretch his legs, out-run the visitors defence before crashing a rising driver past Kingson.
Five minutes later Fulham doubled the lead when Zamora was able to glance home, with his head, a free kick from Danny Murphy. As half time approached Blackpool tried to get back into things and David Vaughan saw his shot delfected just past Mark Schwarzer`s post.
Half Time – Fulham 2 Blackpool 0
With Fulham on top the second half was slow to get started, Zamora was deprived of a chance to score a hat-trick, being replaced by Andrew Johnson just past the hour mark whilst with sixty-eight minutes gone Ian Holloway had one last desperate throw of the dice by making a triple substitution.
Jason Puncheon, one of the Blackpool subs almost reduced the arrears with an effort that forced Schwarzer into making a fine save. But, four minutes after the triple substitution, Fulham got the third goal that put the game out of Blackpool`s reach.
Murphy took a free-kick, Dempsey headed it on and when Brede Hangeland played a square ball Dickson Etuhu was on hand to net. Fulham could have increased their lead but Dempsey`s finish, after an Etuhu assist, went just wide.
As the game drew towards its inevitable conclusion Blackpool missed a couple of chances to reduce the arrears. Craig Cathcart headed over when well-placed and Gary Taylor-Fletcher shot wide with Schwarzer stranded.
The win moves us up to tenth place, six points clear of the relegation places.
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