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Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Sunday, 21 February 2010

Fulham   2 - 1   Birmingham

Bobby Zamor (right) celebrates after scoring
Zamora (right) struck late on to cap a decent personal performance

By Ian Hughes

Bobby Zamora curled in a late free-kick to earn Fulham a come-from-behind win.

Birmingham were gifted the opening goal when Chris Baird headed into his own net from Lee Bowyer's right-wing cross.

Baird then blocked superbly from Keith Fahey before Damien Duff played a one-two with Zoltan Gera and smashed a 20-yard shot in off the post to equalise.

Mark Schwarzer superbly tipped James McFadden's 25-yard shot on to the bar but Fulham snatched victory when Zamora put his free-kick into the top corner.

It was a result that had looked unlikely after the opening half, where Fulham struggled to shake of the effects of having played in the Europa League on Thursday.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson

Hodgson impressed with wonder strikes

And Birmingham, having been given an early advantage after Baird's error, appeared able to comfortably keep their opponents at arm's length.

A win for Birmingham would have taken them to the landmark total of 40 points and would have virtually guaranteed their Premier League status for next season.

And throughout the first half it seemed that outcome was inevitable as a Fulham appeared jaded and short of ideas.

Instead, Birmingham will leave London wondering how they managed to take nothing from the capital again - as they had done in their previous four visits.

They will look back at the tremendous save from Schwarzer that kept McFadden's shot out, but credit must be given to Fulham for raising their game and overcoming a truly dreadful start.

Baird, too, will be mightily relieved after his error of misjudgement that saw him thump a header into the top corner of his own goal after only three minutes.

606: DEBATE
BluenoseBurch

The former Southampton defender went some way to atone for his mistake when he brilliantly blocked Fahey's shot as the visitors pressed to double their advantage.

Birmingham went on to largely control the opening half as Fulham looked well below par.

The hosts did threaten twice, but Joe Hart was easily equal to a volley and, later, a header from Simon Davies.

Fulham improved after the break and as a result they began to push Birmingham back.

And as the visitors defended from deep, they invited Duff on to their cost when the winger cut in from the right, exchanged passes with Gera and cracked home a belting shot.

That sparked a spell of pressure for Fulham, although they were unable to create clear chances.

And they nearly succumbed to a rare counter-attack from Birmingham when McFadden came inches away from making it 2-1.

As the final whistle approached it seemed the two sides - who started the match adjacent to each other in the mid-section of the table - would not be separated.

Zamora was the difference - McLeish

But Zamora, under the gaze of England manager Fabio Capello in the stands, expertly curled home a 20-yard free-kick to earn his side victory.

The goal - Zamora's 15th goal in 32 starts - will give Capello food for thought ahead of the World Cup, while it also saw Fulham leapfrog Birmingham in the table.


Fulham boss Roy Hodgson:
"We got off to the worst possible start with the own goal aftrr three minutes. But to come in at half-time 1-0 down after the way we had played was harsh on the players.

I knew it was going to be tough in the second half, as we'd had a tough week and I was worried that we would not be able to keep it going.

"We were fortunate with the wonder strike from James McFadden that hit the underside of the crossbar but otherwise I thought we were really good value for our victory.

"We had more shots, more opportunities and more of the play - we had to dig deep and score two great goals to win it, but we got there in the end."

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish:
"We lost because of two pieces of inspiration from Fulham, the finishes were brilliant. That is the difference in quality that we have to aspire to.

"I didn't feel there was any real rhythm from either team and I felt it was a nothing game until Damien Duff took a hand in proceedings.

"And Bobby Zamora was the big difference. Today, my players had a hard game against one of the best strikers in the league.

"If they are going to step up to the next level, they have to overcome players like him."

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Fulham 2-1 Birmingham FT
(HT 0-1)
  • Duff 59
  • Zamora 90+1
  • Baird (og) 3

Fulham

Substitutes

Birmingham

Substitutes

Ref: DowdAtt: 21,758
FULHAM
BIRMINGHAM

Possession

  • Fulham 52%
  • Birmingham 48%

Attempts on target

  • Fulham 6
  • Birmingham 7

Attempts off target

  • Fulham 5
  • Birmingham 3

Corners

  • Fulham 3
  • Birmingham 1

Fouls

  • Fulham 9
  • Birmingham 16
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+4:25 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
  • 90:00+2:03 Substitution Chris Smalling is brought on as a substitute for Danny Murphy.
  • 90:00+0:03 Substitution Michel comes on in place of Barry Ferguson.
  • 90:00+0:03 GOAL - Bobby ZamoraFulham 2 - 1 Birmingham Bobby Zamora grabs a goal direct from the free kick from just outside the area to the top left corner of the goal. Fulham 2-1 Birmingham.
  • 88:44 Zoltan Gera fouled by Stephen Carr, the ref awards a free kick.
  • 85:54 Effort from 20 yards by Danny Murphy. Save by Joe Hart.
  • 85:38 Chris Baird crosses the ball.
  • 84:34 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Lee Bowyer by Danny Murphy. Barry Ferguson takes the direct free kick.
  • 83:01 Foul by James McFadden on Bobby Zamora, free kick awarded. Mark Schwarzer restarts play with the free kick.
  • 82:33 Liam Ridgewell fouled by Bobby Zamora, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
  • 82:10 Substitution Simon Davies goes off and Bjorn Helge Riise comes on.
  • 81:26 Centre by James McFadden, save made by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 79:11 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Roger Johnson by Dickson Etuhu. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
  • 77:17 Craig Gardner takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 76:10 Substitution Kevin Phillips replaces Cameron Jerome.
  • 75:01 Stephen Carr sends in a cross, Brede Hangeland makes a clearance.
  • 74:17 Barry Ferguson has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Blocked by Brede Hangeland.
  • 73:29 Handball decision goes against Bobby Zamora. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.
  • 72:56 Stephen Carr challenges Simon Davies unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mark Schwarzer takes the direct free kick.
  • 71:10 The ball is delivered by James McFadden.
  • 69:18 Shot by James McFadden.
  • 68:06 Cameron Jerome fouled by Dickson Etuhu, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Stephen Carr, save by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 67:10 Substitution Sebastian Larsson leaves the field to be replaced by Craig Gardner.
  • 66:55 A cross is delivered by Chris Baird.
  • 65:51 Direct free kick taken by Brede Hangeland.
  • 65:51 Booking James McFadden receives a yellow card.
  • 65:44 James McFadden gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Brede Hangeland.
  • 64:45 The ball is sent over by Damien Duff.
  • 64:15 Shot from 18 yards from James McFadden. Save made by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 63:32 The ball is delivered by Liam Ridgewell.
  • 62:35 Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.
  • 62:35 Booking Booking for Damien Duff.
  • 62:31 Free kick awarded for a foul by Damien Duff on James McFadden.
  • 61:36 Foul by Scott Dann on Bobby Zamora, free kick awarded. Danny Murphy restarts play with the free kick.
  • 58:55 Assist by Zoltan Gera.
  • 58:55 GOAL - Damien DuffFulham 1 - 1 Birmingham Damien Duff finds the back of the net with a goal from just outside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Fulham 1-1 Birmingham.
  • 58:25 The ball is swung over by Nicky Shorey, clearance by Liam Ridgewell.
  • Correction - 57:37 Damien Duff fouled by Liam Ridgewell, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Damien Duff, clearance made by Cameron Jerome.
  • 57:37 Free kick awarded for a foul by Liam Ridgewell on Damien Duff. Damien Duff crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, clearance made by Cameron Jerome.
  • 56:39 Centre by Damien Duff, save made by Joe Hart.
  • 56:16 Damien Duff delivers the ball, Lee Bowyer manages to make a clearance.
  • 53:59 Effort on goal by Cameron Jerome from 12 yards. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
  • 52:51 Bobby Zamora has a volleyed shot. Joe Hart makes a save.
  • 52:30 Foul by Cameron Jerome on Chris Baird, free kick awarded. Chris Baird takes the direct free kick.
  • 51:54 Keith Fahey has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide left of the goal.
  • 49:46 Simon Davies fouled by Stephen Carr, the ref awards a free kick. Mark Schwarzer takes the direct free kick.
  • 49:02 Free kick awarded for a foul by Danny Murphy on Lee Bowyer. Free kick taken by Barry Ferguson.
  • 45:57 Centre by Bobby Zamora.
  • 45:34 Roger Johnson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Zoltan Gera. Free kick taken by Zoltan Gera.
  • 45:13 Foul by Barry Ferguson on Zoltan Gera, free kick awarded. Aaron Hughes takes the direct free kick.
  • 45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+1:05 It is the end of the first-half.
  • 45:00+0:43 James McFadden sends in a cross, Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
  • 43:52 James McFadden concedes a free kick for a foul on Chris Baird. Free kick taken by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 43:06 Liam Ridgewell fouled by Bobby Zamora, the ref awards a free kick. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.
  • 40:21 The referee blows for offside against Bobby Zamora. Indirect free kick taken by Joe Hart.
  • 38:54 Corner taken by Sebastian Larsson played to the near post.
  • 36:46 The ball is delivered by Zoltan Gera, Bobby Zamora has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
  • 34:58 Nicky Shorey delivers the ball, Lee Bowyer makes a clearance.
  • 33:35 Sebastian Larsson takes a shot. Blocked by Dickson Etuhu.
  • Correction - 31:42 Zoltan Gera produces a cross, Simon Davies takes a shot. Fantastic save by Joe Hart.
  • 31:42 Centre by Zoltan Gera, Simon Davies takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a brilliant save.
  • 31:07 A cross is delivered by Sebastian Larsson, save made by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 28:36 A cross is delivered by Chris Baird, Stephen Carr makes a clearance.
  • 27:55 James McFadden delivers the ball, clearance by Brede Hangeland.
  • 25:56 Damien Duff takes a shot from inside the box clearing the bar.
  • 22:51 Outswinging corner taken by Simon Davies from the right by-line.
  • 20:21 James McFadden fouled by Danny Murphy, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.
  • 20:10 Damien Duff delivers the ball, Scott Dann makes a clearance.
  • 17:24 A cross is delivered by Damien Duff.
  • 16:08 Corner taken by Simon Davies from the right by-line, Header from deep inside the penalty area by Brede Hangeland goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
  • 13:26 Shot by Cameron Jerome from outside the box goes high over the target.
  • 12:51 Bobby Zamora is ruled offside. Joe Hart takes the free kick.
  • 10:42 Bobby Zamora fouled by Scott Dann, the ref awards a free kick. Danny Murphy delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, clearance made by Cameron Jerome.
  • 8:46 Volleyed right-footed shot by Simon Davies. Save made by Joe Hart. Simon Davies decides to take a short corner. Shot from just outside the box by Damien Duff misses to the left of the goal.
  • Correction - 7:57 Keith Fahey takes a shot. Blocked by Aaron Hughes.
  • 7:57 Keith Fahey takes a shot. Aaron Hughes gets a block in.
  • 7:52 The ball is crossed by Cameron Jerome, Brede Hangeland gets a block in.
  • 6:38 Damien Duff fouled by Liam Ridgewell, the ref awards a free kick. Danny Murphy produces a cross, Nicky Shorey has an effort at goal from outside the area which misses left.
  • 4:56 Chris Baird fouled by Cameron Jerome, the ref awards a free kick. Aaron Hughes restarts play with the free kick.
  • 3:00 Cameron Jerome concedes a free kick for a foul on Aaron Hughes. Free kick taken by Aaron Hughes. The ball is swung over by Damien Duff.
  • 2:10 Assist by Lee Bowyer.
  • 2:10 GOAL - Chris BairdFulham 0 - 1 Birmingham Chris Baird heads into his own net. Fulham 0-1 Birmingham.
  • 1:50 Foul by Danny Murphy on Lee Bowyer, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Liam Ridgewell.
  • Correction - 1:21 James McFadden has an effort at goal. Save made by Mark Schwarzer.
  • 1:21 James McFadden has a drilled shot. Mark Schwarzer makes a comfortable save.
  • 0:03 Danny Murphy fouled by Cameron Jerome, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Danny Murphy.
  • 0:00 The match begins.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 21 Feb 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 27 41 61
2 Man Utd 27 39 57
3 Arsenal 27 33 55
4 Tottenham 27 22 46
5 Man City 26 15 46
6 Liverpool 27 16 45
7 Aston Villa 26 16 45
8 Everton 26 1 38
9 Fulham 27 3 37
10 Birmingham 26 -3 37
11 Stoke 26 -3 34
12 Blackburn 27 -14 34
13 West Ham 26 -5 27
14 Sunderland 26 -12 26
15 Wigan 26 -26 25
16 Wolves 26 -23 24
17 Hull 27 -29 24
18 Bolton 26 -20 23
19 Burnley 26 -28 23
20 Portsmouth 26 -23 16

see also
Zamora was the difference - McLeish
21 Feb 10 |  Birmingham
Sunday's football photos
21 Feb 10 |  Football
Sunday football as it happened
21 Feb 10 |  Football



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