Barclays Premier League
Fulham 5-0 Wolves

 

 

Fulham players congratulate recent signing Pavel Pogrebynak after completing his first hat-trick in English football


 

By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor from Craven Cottage


Pavel Pogrebynak scored a hat-trick to cap an impressive performance from Fulham to condemn Wolves' caretaker boss Terry Connor to a crushing 5-0 defeat, leaving them with one win in their last thirteen Premier League games.

Russian striker Pogrebynak - bought in January on a short-term deal from Stuttgart - was the pick of the bunch as Martin Jol's side made it three wins in a row to push to eighth place in the Premier League as they were streets ahead of the side from the Black Country. 

The scoring was opened on 36 minutes when Pogrebynak headed in from Damien Duff's header before he stroked in Andy Johnson's cutback and was on hand to tap in after Hennessey spilled Johnson's shot. 

USA international Clint Dempsey also netted a brace to add to his own personal tally as the Cottagers ran riot.

Fulham boss Martin Jol was forced into making two changes from the side that won the London derby meeting with Queens Park Rangers last weekend. 

Stephen Kelly remained out with the injury which forced him to pull out of the Republic of Ireland squad for their friendly against the Czech Republic on Wednesday so Phillipe Senderos earned a recall with Aaron Hughes moving to right-back. Bryan Ruiz- who set up Costa Rica's winning goal against Wales- missed his first Premier League match since arriving from FC Twente late in the summer transfer window as Damien Duff was promoted from the bench to replace him. New signing Mahamadou Diarra was on the bench.

Wolves caretaker boss Terry Connor- who has spent thirteen years as part of the backroom staff at Molineux- named an unchanged line-up keeping faith with the same eleven starters which came from two goals behind in the second half last weekend to draw 2-2 at Newcastle. Club captain Roger Johnson was once again left out with Richard Stearman the preferred choice to partner Christophe Berra in central defence. Steven Fletcher missed the trip to St James Park through illness and was back in the squad albeit among the substitutes. Wayne Hennessey recovered from the injury which forced him out of the Wales squad to play but David Edwards wasn't fit enough to play so Michael Kightly came in.

The home side, who have been beaten only by Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United at Craven Cottage this season, made the early in-roads using the flanks to their advantage with the trickery of Damien Duff and Clint Dempsey in the wide areas wreaking havoc for the two Wolves full-backs Ronald Zubar- who returned from three months on the sidelines last weekend- and Stephen Ward with the visitors not really testing a Fulham side who had the bulk of their team away on international duty just days before travelling all over the world- including Mark Schwarzer who travelled 20,000 miles to play in goal for Australia in their World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia. Dempsey won a free-kick in a dangerous place outside the penalty area when Zubar clattered into him but John Arne Riise- whose last Premier League goal came for Liverpool six years ago- hit it low and hard but into the wall.

Pogrebynak- who has scored in his first two league games against Stoke City and QPR- looked lively early on and was spinning away from defenders causing one or two problems. In addition, striker Moussa Dembele was excelling in an unfamiliar central midfield role operating alongside skipper Danny Murphy as Dickson Etuhu only returned from Nigeria on Friday and Steve Sidwell remains out with a hernia problem.

Riise fancied a try from outside the box once more this time in open play and this one was much better than the first with a left-foot fizzing effort skimmed across the turf with zip and was decently saved by a fully extended Wolves keeper Hennessey. Duff had a crack having shifted the ball onto his favoured left foot but that went wide as he looked to add to the six goals he has got already this season as it thumped against the advertising boards behind the goal.

 

? DID YOU KNOW ?

Martin Jol's side are yet to lose a Premier League match this season when they have scored the first goal.

 

It has been a physically demanding season for the Cottagers as this was their 44th match this season including the Europa League campaign which started way back last June in the earlier qualifying rounds.

Wolves were forced into making an early substitution with skipper Karl Henry- who has been lacking in match fitness following his recent red card in a defeat against Aston Villa- pulling up as he was replaced by the Serbian international Nenad Milijas after eighteen minutes. Minutes later, Andy Johnson brought a point-blank save out of Hennessey while Senderos hacked wide cutting across an effort near to the penalty spot as it looked like it could be one of those days for Fulham where they cannot convert chances and have to settle with what would have been a tenth draw this season. O'Hara's harmless shot from twenty-five yards over the bar was the best Wolves had to offer in the first period.

Fulham had lots of approach play and they got their goal at last after 36 minutes from a corner kick taken by Duff was headed in by Pogrebynak coming from around the back of Brede Hangeland and he stooped to punish some woeful Wolves marking to become the first Fulham player since Graeme Leggett to score in his first three games for the club. There was some debate as to whether the corner should have been awarded in the first place as Dembele's shot looked to have drifted wide itself without the intervention of a Wolves player however referee Mike Jones thought otherwise.

The Cottagers were playing some really good football and were 2-0 up just before the intermission when a slack pass from Kevin Foley cheaply gave Fulham possession as Duff put Stearman under pressure and it was another moment of which the cliche "Welcome to the Premier League" could be applied in a slightly different context to its usual expenditure as Pogrebynak confidently stroked in Johnson's cutback. Wolves, who had drawn four of their last five on the road, were two goals down at the interval last weekend but it was always going to be difficult to replicate that today. Although Terry Connor's men had the best record of gaining points from losing positions in the Premier League this season.

It could have been lights out for them just three minutes into the second half when Hughes clipped in and Hennessey collided with his own player Berra. Johnson took it up but had no-one taking in a gamble by getting in a position to tap the ball home and it was easy for Stephen Ward to mop up. Fulham, who had won five of their last seven at home, were confidently passing around and coasting- sensibly not rushing to get a third goal and were maintaining possession. A third goal did come though on 56 minutes and a Fulham performance this season couldn't be complete without a goal from Clint Dempsey. The 30 year old, who grabbed the USA's winner versus Italy in midweek, made it eight in nine games for himself as a lovely pass was slid his way by Murphy and he got the ball out from in between his feet to shoot past Hennessey.

 

? DID YOU KNOW ?

Wolves kept two clean sheets in their opening three league games, including a 2-0 win against Fulham on 21st August. However, they have not recorded a shut-out in their subsequent 23 matches.

 

Wolves themselves were toothless in attack with Kevin Doyle iscolated alone in attack. It was a case of too little too late when top scorer Steven Fletcher was introduced on the hour mark for Michael Kightly. Infact immediately after that substitution, Pogrebynak who gave evidence to all that he is worth keeping on next season when he completed his hat-trick while getting goal number five in game number three in English football for Fulham as Hennessey didn't make Andy Johnson's shot stick and he costly spilt to the 28-year old who scored even though he was falling over as nothing was going right for Wolves.

Johnson- linked with a move to Blackburn in the winter transfer window- almost got the goal his industrious display deserved when it opened up for him to take a shot on and he bent it right footed clipping the top of the crossbar. At the other end, Wolves' best chance arguably felt to the right man from their point of view although the Scottish international Fletcher awkwardly screwed a half volley into the stands. Fulham's exuberant display continued to make chances for them in the West London rain- where down the road it didn't rain but pour for Andre Villas-Boas as it was announced the Chelsea boss had been sacked shortly before kick-off- with Dembele having a cracking effort saved well by Hennessey. John Arne Riise did block an effort from Steven Fletcher after good wing play from Matt Jarvis down the left. Senderos looked to have blocked off Doyle illegally in the corner of the penalty box but nothing was awarded to Wolves- who beat Fulham 2-0 back in August at Molineux to move momentarily to the top of the division.

Dempsey rounded things off with seven minutes left when substitute Mahamadou Diarra- a former Real Madrid midfielder who joined up with Fulham this week having trained with them over the past couple of weeks- slipped a through ball to the American who rifled past a despairing Hennessey for his nineteenth goal in all competitions this season to aid his side to their 1000th league win.

Terry Connor's side had results go in their favour on Saturday with Bolton and Wigan losing while Blackburn and QPR had to come from behind to salvage home draws. Fulham took their frustrations out on a Wolves side who never looked like getting anything from the game from the moment the explosive Pogrebynak lit the fire. It was a defeat that many would have thought had been coming with Fulham's home record this season bettened only by the top six and in recent seasons has been generally very solid under Roy Hodgson and Mark Hughes. The Cottagers look to make it four wins in a row when they travel to Villa Park next week while Wolves have a massive "must-win" six-pointer at home to fellow strugglers Blackburn Rovers.

 

 

Sunday 4th March 2012

Barclays Premier League

Craven Cottage

 

Fulham 5-0 Wolves                             KO 2:05pm               (HT 2-0)

Pogrenbynak 36, 44, 61
Dempsey 56, 83

 

Fulham:  1 Schwarzer- 8.5/10, 18 Hughes- 8.5/10, 5 Hangeland- 8/10, 14 Senderos- 7.5/10, 3 J A Riise- 7.5/10, 16 Duff- 7/10 (Davies 80- 1.5/10), 13 Murphy (C)- 7/10 (Diarra 69- 3/10), 30 Dembele- 8.5/10, 23 Dempsey- 9/10, 7 Pogrebynak- 9.5/10 (Frei 85- 1/10), 8 Johnson- 8/10.

Subs not used:  12 Stockdale, 32 Halliche, 20 Etuhu, 9 Orlando Sa

Booked:      Hangeland (21)

 

Wolves:  1 Hennessey- 5/10, 23 Zubar- 5/10, 5 Stearman- 5.5/10, 16 Berra- 5.5/10, 11 Ward- 5/10, 7 Kightly- 5.5/10 (Fletcher 61- 3/10), 8 Henry (C)- 2/10 (Milijas 19- 4.5/10), 32 Foley- 5/10 (Hunt 84- 1/10), 24 O'Hara- 5.5/10, 17 Jarvis- 5.5/10, 29 Doyle- 5/10.

Subs not used:  31 De Vries, 14 Johnson, 21 Bassong, 22 Jonsson

Booked:      Zubar (6), Berra (73)

 

My Man of the Match:    Pavel Pogrebynak (Fulham)- Rating 9.5/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:    Ronald Zubar (Wolves)- Rating 5/10

 

 

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)- 8.5/10
Attendance: 24,034

 

 

Match Facts

Possession: Fulham- 56%                   Wolves- 44%

Shots: Fulham- 25                          Wolves- 8

Shots on target: Fulham- 19                      Wolves- 3

Shots off target: Fulham- 6                       Wolves- 5

Corners: Fulham- 7                        Wolves- 7

Fouls: Fulham- 7                         Wolves- 9

Offside: Fulham- 4                          Wolves- 1

Assists: Fulham- 5 (Duff, Johnson (2), Murphy, Diarra)                   Wolves- None

 

 


Fulham manager Martin Jol

"Of course we had a very good afternoon playing some really good football. The only faults I can have of the side is that we have had 26 attempts on goal and only scored from five while also it took us 36 minutes to get the opening goal. But Pavel (Pogrebynak) scored at the right moment and we knew from then on that with someone like him upfront that we were capable of scoring more. He has given us a new dimension and it helps the other players to find goals as well such as Andy Johnson and Clint Dempsey so it is very pleasing. It is nice for players like Pavel to come to England and settle so quickly even though you get all of the stories about adapting to the style in this country. You can see from every training session that he looks fit and he is enjoying his football. We were very lucky to get him and he certainly fits the bill left by Bobby Zamora. Overall a near-perfect day and we hope that there are more days like this one to come still."


Click here to hear the post-match thoughts of Cottagers boss Martin Jol

 

 


Wolves caretaker manager Terry Connor

"I've said to the players that this game doesn't matter now, we can't do anything about this game now and we have to bounce back next weekend against Blackburn. After the West Brom match when we were beaten heavily we came back to get a positive result last weekend against Newcastle. We did well for thirty-five minutes to defend but we didn't defend the corner for the first goal regardless of whether it was a corner or not. We were in control of the ball for the second goal and lose it and it is a bad time to concede- just before half-time. We made a bit of a comeback last weekend from 2-0 down but we lost a third goal which obviously takes its toll on the team really. We know having worked in the Premier League for two or three years that we are going to get a bloody nose in games but it is how you react from those types of results that is the most important things and we will be working extremely hard on the training ground to make sure."

Click here to hear the post-match interview with Wolves boss Terry Connor

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