Monday, 16 September 2013

Premier League - Two for Zamora as Fulham beat Blackpool

Fulham moved up into the top half of the Premier League table with a convincing 3-0 win over strugglers Blackpool at Craven Cottage.
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Bobby Zamora scored a brace to make it three goals from three appearances since his return from a broken leg suffered in September.

Dickson Etuhu then scored a third for Fulham in the second half to send the Cottagers up to 10th in the table and leave Blackpool just one place and one point above the relegation zone.

There was plenty of dissatisfaction among Fulham fans before kick-off as many reacted angrily to the unveiling of a statue of Michael Jackson outside the ground by owner Mohamed Al Fayed, but the home supporters leaving Craven Cottage did so knowing their team has gone a long way to escaping the relegation mire that still engulfs so many of the teams below them.

Zamora pounced on to a loose ball after James Beattie gave it away on 28 minutes, and he surged forward between two defenders before rifling a strike into the near top corner which gave goalkeeper Richard Kingson no chance.

Zamora then grabbed only his second ever Premier League brace five minutes later when he beat Kingson with a glancing header off Damien Duff's free-kick to maintain Blackpool's average of conceding two goals per league game this season.

Blackpool have won plenty of admirers for their fearless attacking play this season, but it was Fulham playing all the attractive football against an oddly off-colour Tangerines side.

Moussa Dembele gave right-back Alex Baptiste a torrid time on the flank, while midfielder Dickson Etuhu won virtually every battle he went into in midfield.

Duff brought the best out of Kingson on 16 minutes when he was teed up by Dembele after Zamora's nod-down, but the Irishman's crisp low drive was tipped on to the post by the Ghana keeper.

After going two goals down in a poor first-half showing, it took Blackpool until 42 minutes to come close to reducing the deficit. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer came off his line to punch Craig Cathcart's floated ball over the top but Brett Ormerod beat him to it. The veteran forward send his header past Schwarzer, but was denied a goal by Chris Baird, who showed great awareness to track back and head it away before it could cross the line.

Ian Holloway's side put in an improved showing after the break, as they won plenty of set pieces in the Fulham half and Beattie hit the outside of the post from a wide angle.

Holloway made a triple substitution with a little more than 20 minutes remaining, introducing Sergei Kornilenko, Luke Varney and Jason Puncheon. The latter could have scored with his first touch after he was found by a neat reverse pass from Charlie Adam, but he hit his forst-time strike right at Schwarzer.

Fulham were out of sight on 73 minutes when Etuhu scored his first league goal since his late equaliser in the reverse fixture back in August, turning in from close range after Clint Dempsey's header rebounded off the post.

With the result secured, Fulham took their foot of the gas, but Blackpool were unable to even grab a consolation as Cathcart headed over the bar and Gary Taylor-Fletcher fired wide in injury time, and Blackpool left with a record which reads 13 goals conceded, none scored and no wins from their four trip to the capital this season.


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