Football: A Dimitar Berbatov wonder-goal on the stroke of half-time separated the sides at Craven Cottage. Fulham had Mark Schwarzer to thank for keeping a clean sheet when he saved Jonathan Walters’s weak penalty kick in the second half.
The goal from Berbatov was just reward for Fulham’s first-half display in which they dominated possession and harried Stoke. The goal came after Stoke seemed to have cleared the danger when Asmir Bergovic knocked the ball clear, but the Bulgarian striker waited for the ball to fall from the sky before hitting a screaming right-foot volley into the top corner.
The striker ran up to his manager after scoring the goal and Martin Jol revealed: “I told him two months ago that he doesn’t score volleys anymore, so he ran up to me to tell me that he still did. He’s a good sport.”
At this point Stoke were lucky to have 11 men on the pitch. Steven N'Zonzi appeared to strike Bryan Ruiz in the face after he had earlier broken his nose in a collision with Berbatov. But both managers claimed not to have seen the incident again, refusing to comment.
The second half was a more even contest and Peter Crouch should have equalised after capitalising on a Philippe Senderos error, but Schwarzer made himself big to thwart the striker on the edge of the box.
That it was to be Fulham’s day became apparent after Ashkan Dejagah handled the ball in the box and Schwarzer saved the resulting penalty with a dive to his right.
Tony Pulis was left ruing his side’s poor away form. He said: “The first half was flat, but in the second half we improved, missed a penalty again and have come away from a scrappy game with nothing to show for it again.”