BBC Sport football

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Stoke   0 - 2   Fulham

Chris Baird
Baird scores his second goal for Fulham

By Marc Vesty

Defender Chris Baird struck twice early in the first half to help Fulham move out of the relegation zone and ease the pressure on manager Mark Hughes.

Baird opened the scoring after only four minutes when his vicious 20-yard strike flew in off the post.

And he doubled the lead with another fierce drive from the edge of the area, this time low into the right corner.

Stoke pressed gamely but clear chances were few and Fulham held on to record a first away league win in 16 months.

In this rollercoaster of a Premier League season it appears that statistics and form count for very little.

The Cottagers had previously gone eight games without a win and had slipped into the relegation zone over Christmas, with boss Hughes criticised by fans after their 3-1 home defeat by fellow basement battlers West Ham on Boxing Day.

606: DEBATE
Rocky57

However, despite their wretched record of not having won a top-flight away game in their last 26 attempts, Fulham showed no signs of travel sickness against Stoke.

As if spurred on by the recent barbs and an increasingly perilous league position, Hughes's side raced out of the traps, starting the game as though Premier League survival depended on the result of this encounter.

With last season's star striker Bobby Zamora out of action because of a broken leg, the London side have found goals hard to come by in recent weeks.

Hughes salutes 'huge' Fulham display

But, rather than make a change up front, Hughes shuffled his defence for this match, replacing Carlos Salcido with Baird, in a move which few would have predicted would prove decisive.

The first half was only four minutes old when Simon Davies's cross was headed away from danger by Robert Huth, only for Baird to take the ball in his stride and rifle his right-footed effort towards the corner from the edge of the box.

The home side's goalkeeper Asmir Begovic managed to palm the drive on to the post but the sheer pace of the shot forced the ball into the net.

And it was the trusty right foot of Baird which did the damage again six minutes later.

Pulis blames defeat on 'flat start'

This time the defender was teed up by Andrew Johnson's short free-kick on the edge of the box and Baird hammered his low drive beyond Begovic's outstretched left arm and into the bottom corner, doubling his goal tally for the season and stunning the home crowd.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis had seen his side comfortably beat Fulham 2-0 in the Carling Cup in September but the Potters were clearly rattled by the visitors' high-tempo start.

And it was not until Ryan Shawcross's towering header was cleared off the line by Danny Murphy on the stroke of half-time that Stoke started to crank up the pressure and suggest they were capable of getting back into the match.

Predictably in the second half it was the Potters, who went searching for goals as Fulham sat back to defend their lead.

And the home fans were incensed as two penalty claims - both for handball - were turned down.

Baird delighted with double strike

Firstly, Jones headed on to the arm of Johnson in the box but, with the former Everton striker knowing little about it, the referee waved play on.

Secondly, Breda Hangeland dived in front of Matthew Etherington's drive but the referee appeared to signal the ball had struck Hangeland's chest - with replays proving inconclusive.

Stoke threw men forward in numbers as they attempted to find a way back into the game, and Mark Schwarzer was forced into a low save from Huth's close-range effort.

But the Cottagers showed a resolve which will doubtless delight Hughes as his side go into the second half of a season requiring more afternoons like this one before their top-flight status is assured.

Live text and stats

 

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Stoke 0-2 Fulham FT
(HT 0-2)
    • Baird 4
    • Baird 10

    Stoke

    Substitutes

    Fulham

    Substitutes

    Ref: FriendAtt: 26,954
    STOKE
    FULHAM

    Possession

    • Stoke 48%
    • Fulham 52%

    Attempts on target

    • Stoke 8
    • Fulham 3

    Attempts off target

    • Stoke 6
    • Fulham 1

    Corners

    • Stoke 9
    • Fulham 2

    Fouls

    • Stoke 8
    • Fulham 12
    • Final Result
    • 93:08 The referee brings the game to a close.
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+1:49 Booking Clinton Dempsey is shown a yellow card.
    • 90:00+0:32 Foul by Chris Baird on Jermaine Pennant, free kick awarded. Dean Whitehead takes the free kick.
    • 86:33 Damien Duff concedes a free kick for a foul on Marc Wilson. Asmir Begovic takes the direct free kick.
    • 84:23 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Jermaine Pennant from the right by-line.
    • 84:08 Jermaine Pennant takes a shot. Blocked by Brede Hangeland.
    • 81:50 The referee gives a free kick against Danny Murphy for handball. Free kick taken by Danny Collins.
    • 80:24 Robert Huth challenges Danny Murphy unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Danny Murphy.
    • 80:24 Booking Robert Huth receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
    • 78:45 Free kick awarded for a foul by Andrew Johnson on Rory Delap. Jermaine Pennant crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel, clearance made by Aaron Hughes.
    • 78:45 Substitution Andy Wilkinson leaves the field to be replaced by Marc Wilson.
    • 76:43 Ricardo Fuller gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Danny Murphy. Free kick taken by Aaron Hughes.
    • 75:47 Ryan Shawcross gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on John Pantsil. Direct free kick taken by Mark Schwarzer.
    • 73:50 The offside flag is raised against Clinton Dempsey. Asmir Begovic restarts play with the free kick.
    • Correction - 70:56 Robert Huth takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.
    • 70:56 Robert Huth takes a shot. Brede Hangeland gets a block in.
    • 68:14 Substitution Matthew Etherington goes off and Tuncay Sanli comes on.
    • 67:59 Header from close range by Kenwyne Jones misses to the right of the goal.
    • 66:51 The assistant referee signals for offside against Clinton Dempsey. Asmir Begovic takes the indirect free kick.
    • 63:17 Free kick awarded for a foul by Brede Hangeland on Kenwyne Jones. Jermaine Pennant fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.
    • 60:53 Andrew Johnson is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Asmir Begovic restarts play with the free kick.
    • 60:24 Matthew Etherington takes a shot. Brede Hangeland gets a block in.
    • 59:16 Foul by Dickson Etuhu on Jermaine Pennant, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed left-footed by Matthew Etherington from right wing, Clinton Dempsey makes a clearance.
    • 57:25 Corner from the right by-line taken by Matthew Etherington, Dickson Etuhu manages to make a clearance.
    • 57:16 Robert Huth takes a shot. Blocked by Damien Duff.
    • 55:48 Matthew Etherington takes a shot. Blocked by Aaron Hughes.
    • 54:29 Free kick awarded for a foul by Chris Baird on Dean Whitehead. Free kick taken by Jermaine Pennant.
    • 54:29 Substitution Ricardo Fuller is brought on as a substitute for Jonathan Walters.
    • 54:29 Booking The referee shows Chris Baird a yellow card.
    • 51:09 Unfair challenge on Andrew Johnson by Robert Huth results in a free kick. Danny Murphy restarts play with the free kick.
    • 50:18 Free kick awarded for a foul by Dickson Etuhu on Ryan Shawcross. Free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.
    • 49:23 Simon Davies takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance by Andy Wilkinson.
    • 46:45 Corner taken right-footed by Jermaine Pennant to the near post, Clinton Dempsey makes a clearance.
    • 46:07 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Walters by Brede Hangeland. Jermaine Pennant restarts play with the free kick.
    • 45:01 The referee starts the second half.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+3:03 The whistle is blown to end the first half.
    • 45:00+1:55 The official flags Clinton Dempsey offside. Asmir Begovic takes the free kick.
    • 45:00+1:10 Free kick awarded for a foul by Danny Collins on Damien Duff. Damien Duff delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right by-line.
    • 44:56 The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Mark Schwarzer.
    • 44:25 Chris Baird gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jermaine Pennant. Matthew Etherington takes the free kick.
    • 42:27 Matthew Etherington takes the inswinging corner, Ryan Shawcross takes a shot. Danny Murphy manages to make a clearance.
    • 37:02 Corner taken by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line to the near post, Andrew Johnson manages to make a clearance.
    • 35:57 Danny Murphy concedes a free kick for a foul on Jonathan Walters. Robert Huth has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.
    • 34:06 Matthew Etherington takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Clinton Dempsey.
    • 32:20 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Simon Davies played to the near post, Rory Delap makes a clearance.
    • 31:20 Damien Duff fouled by Dean Whitehead, the ref awards a free kick. Aaron Hughes takes the free kick.
    • 30:29 Dickson Etuhu has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
    • 23:50 Effort on goal by Dean Whitehead from inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the bar.
    • 23:23 Corner from the right by-line taken by Matthew Etherington, save by Mark Schwarzer.
    • 20:31 The assistant referee flags for offside against Jonathan Walters. Mark Schwarzer restarts play with the free kick.
    • 18:49 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Jermaine Pennant, Header from deep inside the penalty area by Kenwyne Jones goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
    • 17:21 Matthew Etherington has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Blocked by Damien Duff.
    • 15:38 Robert Huth challenges Andrew Johnson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Aaron Hughes takes the free kick.
    • 14:44 Dickson Etuhu gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kenwyne Jones. Direct free kick taken by Jermaine Pennant.
    • 9:55 Assist by Andrew Johnson.
    • 9:55 GOAL - Chris BairdStoke 0 - 2 Fulham Chris Baird fires in a goal from outside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Stoke 0-2 Fulham.
    • 9:11 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jermaine Pennant on Simon Davies. Danny Murphy takes the direct free kick.
    • 8:21 Andrew Johnson takes a shot. Save made by Asmir Begovic.
    • 6:40 Foul by Dickson Etuhu on Rory Delap, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Ryan Shawcross.
    • 6:05 Robert Huth produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.
    • 4:27 Jermaine Pennant takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Andrew Johnson manages to make a clearance.
    • 3:11 GOAL - Chris BairdStoke 0 - 1 Fulham Chris Baird finds the net with a goal from long range to the top left corner of the goal. Stoke 0-1 Fulham.
    • 1:19 Kenwyne Jones has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 0:00 The match begins.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



    Print Sponsor



    Barclays Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 28 Dec 2010 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Man Utd 18 22 38
    2 Man City 20 16 38
    3 Arsenal 18 17 35
    4 Tottenham 19 6 33
    5 Chelsea 18 17 31
    6 Bolton 19 7 29
    7 Sunderland 20 -1 27
    8 Blackpool 17 -3 25
    9 Blackburn 20 -5 25
    10 Stoke 19 -1 24
    11 Liverpool 17 -1 22
    12 Everton 19 -1 22
    13 Newcastle 19 -3 22
    14 West Brom 19 -9 22
    15 Aston Villa 19 -14 20
    16 Birmingham 18 -3 19
    17 Fulham 19 -4 19
    18 Wigan 18 -14 19
    19 West Ham 20 -13 17
    20 Wolves 18 -13 15

    see also
    Hughes dismisses Fulham doubters
    28 Dec 10 |  Fulham
    Tuesday's football as it happened
    28 Dec 10 |  Football
    Tuesday's football photos
    28 Dec 10 |  Football



    BBC navigation

    BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

    This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.