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Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Saturday, 3 May 2008 17:03 UK

Fulham 2-0 Birmingham

By Phil McNulty

Fulham joy as Brian McBride puts them ahead against Birmingham
Fulham joy as Brian McBride puts them ahead against Birmingham

Fulham struck twice after the break to edge towards Premier League safety and leave Birmingham facing the drop.

Brian McBride headed home Jimmy Bullard's free-kick after 52 minutes to set Fulham on the way to victory.

Radhi Jaidi headed wide from Birmingham's best chance with five minutes left before Erik Nevland broke clear to add Fulham's second.

Fulham move out of the bottom three and Birmingham are under huge pressure in their last home game against Blackburn.

Hodgson focuses on Fulham's final test

The Craven Cottage crowd celebrated wildly at the final whistle, with Roy Hodgson's side recording their third win in four matches to spark an unlikely revival after they looked relegation certainties.

Birmingham never posed a serious threat and may live to regret losing a two-goal lead against Liverpool at St Andrews last Saturday.

Fulham conquered the inevitable early nerves to open with greater fluency, and McBride rattled the Birmingham bar with a powerful header - although he had already been ruled offside.


And Taylor came to Birmingham's rescue against his former club after eight minutes when Bullard worked a neat free-kick to Simon Davies, who held his head in anguish as the keeper pulled off a stunning reflex stop from 10 yards.

Birmingham edged their way into the game and should have gone ahead after 29 minutes, only for Mikael Forssell to miscontrol right in front of goal from Sebastian Larsson's cross.

And it took a timely stop from Aaron Hughes to deny the Finn as he threatened to take advantage of good work from James McFadden.

Bullard was at the heart of most of Fulham's best work - and he was instrumental when they went ahead five minutes after the interval.

McLeish banking on home advantage

He whipped in a free-kick from the left flank and McBride applied the finishing touch with a fine diving header.

Diomansy Kamara almost added a second with a mazy dribble that took him past a succession of Birmingham defenders, but his final shot was way off target.

Fulham were refusing to sit back on the lead, and Clint Dempsey should have scored with 17 minutes left, only to head over from Simon Davies's cross when well positioned.

Birmingham finally created a clear opening with five minutes left, but Jaidi headed wide from only eight yards - and within seconds Fulham had swept down the field for Nevland to score the crucial second.

Fulham: Keller, Stalteri, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Bullard (Andreasen 88), Murphy, Dempsey (Healy 90), Kamara (Nevland 67), McBride.
Subs Not Used: Warner, Bocanegra.

Booked: Stalteri, Davies.

Goals: McBride 52, Nevland 87.

Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Kelly, Jaidi, Ridgewell (Queudrue 46), Murphy, Larsson, Muamba, Johnson, Kapo (Zarate 58), Forssell (Jerome 74), McFadden.
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Parnaby.

Booked: Muamba, Queudrue, Jerome, Jaidi, McFadden.

Att: 25,308

Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Fulham's Brian McBride 7.53 (on 90 minutes).

  • Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

  • see also
    Premier League as it happened
    03 May 08 |  Premier League
    McLeish ready for day of destiny
    03 May 08 |  Premier League
    Saturday's football photos
    03 May 08 |  Football
    How to watch Match of the Day
    08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day

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