Fulham v West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
Sunday 2 May 2010
Referee: Andre Marriner
Final score - Fulham 3-2 West Ham United
94 mins - The final whistle goes. There must be about 200 yellow-jacketed stewards on the pitch, for some reason. Pantsil is doing a lap of honour in his own traditional style. I have nothing more to add.
93 mins - Da Costa smashes the ball upfield and Cole is penalised for a foul on Baird. That looked harsh.
92 mins - GOAL! Surely not. Noble and Parker work space inside the box superbly before the latter pulls the ball back for Franco, who sweeps it into the net from ten yards.
91 mins - We're going to have at least three added minutes. West Ham have a corner as Konchesky heads behind. Noble crosses and Okaka heads clear.
89 mins - I am probably not the only person in this stadium who would really like to hear the final whistle.
87 mins - Fulham want a penalty as Okaka clips the ball over the top towards Elm. The Swede goes down under a challenge from Diamanti. The Italian smiles, but that was a close call.
85 mins - The home fans are enjoying this. I am not. Fulham make a third and final change, bringing off Dempsey and bringing on the Peter Crouch lookalike David Elm.
82 mins - Junior Stanislas is coming on for Valon Behrami. The winger is sporting bright pink boots, but no other notable items of clothing. West Ham are playing three-at-the-back.
79 mins - GOAL! That sums up West Ham's season. Spector gifts possesion to Nevland, who crosses low and hard for Okaka to slam into the unguarded net from six yards. Game over, I fear.
77 mins - No sign of a third change from either manager, or of any further unexpected items of clothing entering the field of play. Fulham have a corner. Riise crosses and Green punches clear to Greening. He finds Riise, whose cross is knocked behind by Cole. Riise launches the ball in again, but Smalling's header goes well wide of the far post.
73 mins - Okaka looks to latch on to Dempsey's pass and gets into the box. Da Costa does well to hold him up and West Ham clear the danger. The Hammers go on the attack, but Diamanti's pass is too long for Cole.
71 mins - Okaka is also wearing black tights. It is 2 May. I have now officially seen everything. The next Fulham sub will probably come on wrapped in a red blanket...
70 mins - Davies is replaced by on-loan AS Roma striker Stefano Okaka, who is wearing gloves. What is this, a fashion show?
69 mins - Da Costa lofts the ball towards Cole, who tries to control on the edge of the Fulham box. The ball drops to Parker, but he is penalised for handball.
68 mins - West Ham are doing well here. First Parker tries to rampage through the middle of the Fulham defence, only for Pantsil to nip in, then Noble curls a cross just too far in front of Franco and Schwarzer gathers.
66 mins - Cole has another sight of goal, picking the ball up from Franco and shooting on the turn, but his effort is weak and rolls through to Schwarzer.
64 mins - Franco has got a scarf on! I think, in footballing parlance, they call it a snood. The West Ham fans are having a whale of a time behind the goal to my left. They are making a massive racket. To sell out the whole away end is some going. Top work.
63 mins - Cole has another go, this time at the wrong end again! The ball flicks off the striker's head and out for a corner. Thankfully, the set piece comes to nothing.
61 mins - GOAL! Talk about instant impression! Riise had handballed to bring about that break in play. Noble curled in a superb free-kick and Cole scores at the right end with a superb flicked header.
61 mins - Faubert and Ilan are replaced by Alessandro Diamanti and Guille Franco. Behrami is going to right-back.
59 mins - GOAL! The corner is half-cleared by Faubert to Baird, whose shot is going nowhere near the goal until it hits Cole on the shoulder and flies past Green.
58 mins - West Ham break out through Parker, who tries to play in Ilan, but the Brazilian is muscled out and the chance is lost. Fulham then go straight up the other end and win a corner.
56 mins - 24,201 people have been fortunate enough to watch this match. They watch on enthralled as Riise turns away from Kovac before swapping passes with Dempsey and crossing low towards Nevland, only for Upson to turn the ball narrowly over his own crossbar. Riise takes the corner and Baird stabs it just wide of the near post. To much confusion, referee Mariner gives another corner, which comes to nothing.
54 mins - Davies turns superbly before feeding Konchesky wide on the left. The former Hammer has acres of space to deliver his cross, but it is behind Davies and Da Costa clears.
52 mins - Pantsil scuffs his cross and fortunately finds Nevland. The Norwegian tries to turn with his first touch, but Upson is there to intervene, only for the defender to be sent crashing to the turf by the striker. It's a definite foul, even though the home fans don't think so. Upson needs some treatment, but it looks like he'll be fine to continue.
49 mins - Greening makes about 50 yards down the left touchline before winning a corner off Da Costa. Davies crosses and Green claims.
47 mins - There is a woman in the stand opposite, the Riverside Stand, handing out red blankets to the supporters. I have never, ever seen anything like that at any football match I have been to over the last 31 years. I am 31, by the way. It's not warm, but I'd suggest it's not blanket weather.
46 mins - Cole and Ilan get us back underway... Cole lays the ball off to Noble, who then runs into Pantsil and claims a free-kick. It wasn't a foul, in all honesty.
The two teams are back out for the second half. No changes for either team.
Half-time score - Fulham 1-0 West Ham United
45 mins - GOAL! Dempsey latches on to Davies's pass before slotting the ball neatly inside Green's post. We've 20 seconds to go until half-time and West Ham have been hit by a sucker punch and a half. The Hammers kick-off and referee Marriner blows for half-time.
44 mins - Cole breaks the Fulham offside trap and looks to go clear on to Faubert's pass. The assistant referee flags, but replays show he has got that woefully wrong. That would have been a massive chance.
43 mins - West Ham threaten again. Spector crosses and Behrami wins the ball from Konchesky before finding Faubert. He pulls the ball back to Kovac, who crosses and Parker heads the ball on to the roof of the net. He was offside, though.
41 mins - Ping! Da Costa picks the ball up and brings it into the Fulham half before letting fly from about 30 yards. The ball swerves in the air, and Schwarzer does well to push it aside for a corner. Noble takes the flag-kick and Kovac heads it powerfully...wide from six yards.
39 mins - I must say this isn't the best game of football I've ever seen. Aside from the moment or two of excitement we had midway through the opening half, it's not been much of a spectacle. It is also ridiculously cold considering we're in the first week of May.
35 mins - West Ham are playing the better football now, but the end product hasn't been forthcoming as yet. Ilan tries to thread a pass through for Behrami, but it is too strong and Fulham are able to clear their lines again.
33 mins - Parker drives forward but opts to pass to Ilan rather than shoot, and Konchesky is able to clear ahead of the Brazilian.
31 mins - The wind has got up a bit. Green belts the ball upfield and it is actually spinning back towards his goal by the time it drops out of the sky.
29 mins - Greening, who is sporting a nice beard, needlessly handles Green's long punt forward. Noble takes the free-kick, but Cole is offside.
26 mins - That's the closest we've come to a goal so far. Dikcagoi finds Dempsey about 20 yards out. The American is allowed to turn and he curls a shot against the top of Green's crossbar. The ball bounces over and behind, but that was a warning.
25 mins - Riise rides a sliding challenge from Spector before swapping pases with Nevland, but the Norwegians cannot combine again inside the penalty area and Green gathers the bouncing ball.
23 mins - It's all going on now! Spector finds Noble, who turns past Dikcagoi and shoots low towards the bottom corner, only for Schwarzer to push the ball around the post. The resulting corner is an inviting one and Upson rises highest, only to head wide of the far post. The centre-back thinks he should have done better.
21 mins - Action at both ends, all of a sudden. Cole is fouled and Noble launches the ball into the box, where Schwarzer has to be alert to punch clear ahead of Behrami. Fulham break and Nevland tries to race on to a through ball, only for Green to slide out and clear with hit feet. The ball goes straight to Konchesky, who tries to shoot first-time, only for his weak effort to spin off the toe of Noble and into the hands of Green.
20 mins - So we're 20 minutes in and neither goalkeeper has had to make a save as yet. The West Ham fans are in superb voice though, going through their full repertoire of hits.
15 mins - Faubert uses a neat piece of skill to keep the ball in play and find Da Costa. The Frenchman has looked to get forward on a number of occasions so far. Upson finds Spector on the left wing, he cuts inside Pantsil and tries to find Cole, but Baird is there to hack the ball out of danger.
13 mins - Upson's clearance is a bit loose and Spector is forced to head the ball behind for a corner under pressure from Riise. The Norwegian takes the kick himself and Kovac ends a session of penalty-area pinball by clearing to Ilan. He finds Behrami, who swaps passes with Faubert before being fouled about 40 yards from goal. Noble whips over a decent-looking free-kick, but it is a yard too high for Da Costa.
12 mins - Fulham are probably edging this in terms of possession, but they've not done a huge amount with it as yet. Da Costa has looked strong so far, winning a succession of headers.
9 mins - West Ham threaten for the first time as Ilan finds Faubert wide on the right, but Smalling is there to block the right-back's low cross.
8 mins - Hairy moment there for the visitors as Riise's cross is allowed to bounce across the edge of the six-yard box. Nevland tried to get on the end of it, but the ball rolls behind for a goal kick.
5 mins - Upson allows a long punt forward to bounce on the touchline. Nevland challenges Da Costa and wins a throw deep in the Hammers half. Pantsil crosses and Da Costa is there to head clear before Faubert smashes the ball upfield. No real pattern to the game at all, as yet.
3 mins - The atmosphere is good for what is essentially a dead rubber. I know a lot of the West Ham fans made their way to the game by boat down the Thames, while the home supporters are understandably in good voice following their European endeavours. Fulham force a corner down the right, which West Ham half-clear. Davies crosses, but Dikcagoi can only head the ball harmlessly wide of the far post.
1 min - Fulham are first to threaten when the ball drops to Dempsey 30 yards from goal. The American shoots and Upson is there to block on the edge of the penalty area before completing the clearance.
3pm - And we're underway...
2.59pm - Fulham will kick-off towards the Hammersmith End of Craven Cottage. Believe it or not, it's stopped raining!
2.56pm - And here they are. Hodgson applauds the Fulham fans as he strolls across the pitch. What a job he has done here. Let's hope we can hand his team a rare home defeat, though.
2.55m - It's still raining here in west London. Let's hope the River Thames doesn't burst its banks! The two teams are lined up outside the famous old cottage and are ready to enter the field of play.
2.45pm - Fulham have made seven changes from the starting XI in Thursday's UEFA Europa League semi-final victory over Hamburger SV. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, full-backs Pantsil and Konchesky and Wales midfielder Simon Davies are the only players to retain their places. Zamora, Danny Murphy, Damien Duff and Brede Hangeland have been given the day off completely. West Ham haven't won away from home since the opening day of the season at Wolverhampton Wanderers, but surely taking on a weakened Fulham represents a great chance to end eight-and-a-half winless months on the road?
2.40pm - I must confess that the eyes of the football world appear to be focused elsewhere this afternoon. I have rarely seen an emptier Press Room for a West Ham United match in the four seasons I've been covering the club. With Chelsea and Manchester United battling for the Premier League title, and the Championship reaching its climax today, the media have clearly decided that this fixture isn't going to be making the back page headlines tomorrow!
Good afternoon and welcome to a very wet Craven Cottage for West Ham United's final away Barclays Premier League fixture of the season against UEFA Europa League finalists Fulham.
Gianfranco Zola welcomes Luis Boa Morte back into the matchday 18 for the first time since the final day of the 2008/09 season, with the Portugal returning to the substitutes' bench after recovering from a long-term knee ligament injury.
The starting XI is the same as the one that secured a dramatic 3-2 home victory over Wigan Athletic eight days ago.
Fulham, meanwhile, are in action for the first time since defeating German side Hamburger SV 2-1 on aggregate to reach the UEFA Europa League final, where they will face Atletico Madrid on Wednesday 12 May.
Former West Ham striker Bobby Zamora is missing with a Achilles tendon injury, but ex-Hammers Paul Konchesky and John Pantsil are both included by Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Baird, Smalling, Konchesky, Riise, Greening, Dikgacoi, Davies, Dempsey, Nevland
Subs: Zuhberbuhler, Kelly, Shorey, Etuhu, Gera, Elm, Okaka,
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Da Costa, Upson, Spector, Noble, Kovac, Parker, Behrami, Cole, Ilan
Subs: Kurucz, Daprela, Gabbidon, Stanislas, Boa Morte, Diamanti, Franco