Poor finishing costs Cottagers dear


West Ham won their fourth successive league match with a comfortable win in south-west London. First-half goals from Robert Snodgrass and Michail Antonio put the Hammers in the driving seat and they were never really troubled by anything emerging from the passenger seat.

West Ham now don’t play a side above them in the table until mid-January. For rock-bottom Fulham, every game from now on falls into that category.

A derby with not too much on the line

Fulham against West Ham is not the most contentious London derby and for those of a more silver glint, will still always be remembered for the 1975 FA Cup Final, which the Hammers won 2-0, still the last major honour for either of these sides.

With no clean sheets and 40 goals conceded, the large travelling support should have been confident of seeing their team score as they traversed the District and Central lines across London.

Wasteful Fulham made to punish

Aboubakar Kamara did poorly when his eyes and his feet tried to bamboozle Hammers keeper Lukasz Fabianski. The stopper read him very well and Kamara rarely looked confident enough to have won the mental battle.

It took just 16 minutes for 40 to become 41, Felipe Anderson rode a Denis Odoi tackle down the left well and passed to Snodgrass whose finish was very crisp and clinical.

Fulham’s most potent attacking threat, the massive Serb Aleksandar Mitrovic was the next Cottager to pass up a gilt-edged chance. An Andreas Schurrle cross laid a diving header opportunity on a plate for the Serb but, unlike Kamara, he didn’t even make Fabianksi work.

West Ham pounce on Fulham mistakes

Seconds later Kamara did make the Polish keeper work again with a glanced header which the keeper saved smartly down to this left. Minutes later, the same combination was needed o keep the score at 1-0, on this occasion a long-range effort from Kamara was too close to the centre of the goal.

It cost Fulham dearly. Seconds later, Antonio doubled the Irons’ lead. Again it started on the left. Chicharito won a header in the Fulham box despite having two defenders around him. The Mexican directed it to Antonio who slid the ball under Sergio Rico.

Tim Ream was sacrificed at the interval with Cyrus Christie coming on and Odoi moving into the center of the Fulham defence.

With 15 minutes gone and little change effected, Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri introduced Norway captain Stefan Johansen for thee ineffective Jean Michael Seri. An injured Mark Noble left the field for West Ham giving Pedro Obiang 30 minutes to impress manager Manuel Pelligrini.

Fulham pumped the odd corner or two into the West Ham area but if they weren’t met by a claret jersey, the orange-clad Fabianski cleared any threat.

And so, 43 years on, it was still Fulham 0, West Ham 2. Fulham were then in the second tier.

On this showing, history may be about to repeat itself on that front too.

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