After salvaging a draw at Wolves on Saturday, thanks to an equaliser from Andy Johnson, Fulham banished any lingering relegation fears with a fine win over Bolton Wanderers last night.
Mark Hughes chose to start with the same eleven that started on Saturday meaning Bobby Zamora was still on the bench. Also on the bench was Philippe Senderos, finally back after a season-long injury.
The visitors were without their on-loan striker, Daniel Sturridge, who was still suffering from an ankle injury picked up on Sunday, against Arsenal
Fulham started brightly and could have opened the scoring in the first few minutes when Clint Dempsey saw a shot pushed away by Jaaskelainen in the Bolton goal. A minute later Eidur Gudjohnsne produced a candidate for miss of the season when he ballooned over from eight yards out with the goal at his mercy.
But the breakthrough Fulham deserved for their enterprising start did come with approximately fifteen minutes on the clock and it was to be Dempsey that was to get that crucial opening goal.
Bolton couldn`t clear a corner and when Chris Baird returned the ball to the danger area, Dempsey was on hand to smash home from twelve yards out.
Fulham continued to push Bolton back and Jaaskelainen was forced into a smart stop to prevent Moussa Dembele from putting the home side two-up. Gudjohnsen also wasted another chance, skipping through the Icelandic striker saw his daring chip just clawed away and on to the post by the keeper.
The chances continued to fall Fulham`s way, Dembele saw a shot delfected wide and from the resulting corner Brede Hangeland headed over the bar without any pressure form any Bolton defenders.
Bolton, on the stroke of half time, engineered their first real chance when Cohen produced a volley from just inside the area but Mark Schwarzer produced a comfortable save.
Half Time – Fulham 1 Bolton 0
Having dominated the first half but not taken advantage of the plethora of chances that had fallen their way, any fears that Fulham could be made to pay were quashed when Dempsey netted his second of the night.
The goal came after Dembele had hit the bar from twenty-yards out with Dempsey turning home from close range after Gudjohnsen had helped the ball into the danger area.
Bolton were struggling to live with Fulham and looked a shadow of the side that had beaten Arsenal, on Sunday, and Fulham`s night was completed when Hangeland scored a third for the home side.
Murphy took a free kick and Hangeland rose the highest to power a header past Jaaskelainen. The result lifted us five places in the table to a very respectable ninth and all but ended any lingering fears of being sucked back into the relegation dog-fight.
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