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Bullard goal gives Fulham clutch victory (and McBride returns)


                                                 Photo by ISI Photos

Fulham midfielder Jimmy Bullard curled a beautiful free kick past Aston Villa goalkeeper Scott Carson in the 86th minute to give the Cottagers a sorely-needed 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

Fulham looked doomed to another league loss when defender Aaron Hughes put the ball into his own net in the 69th minute to give Villa a 1-0 lead, but Simon Davies finished off a perfect Bullard pass to equalize for Fulham just four minutes later.

A tie wasn’t going to be enough to help Fulham’s relegation fight, but the chance came with just four minutes left, when Diomanys Kamara drew a foul about 25 yards from goal. Bullard’s perfectly struck free kick started out right but curled back to the left, leaving Carson helpless to stop it.

The win pushes Fulham within three points of Reading for the final spot outside the relegation zone with 13 matches to play (Yes, I know, you would rather neither team be relegated since Reading boasts Marcus Hahnemann and Bobby Convey).

Another great highlight from the match was the return of American striker Brian McBride, whose comeback from a knee injury became complete when he entered today’s match in the 70th minute. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller also returned to the squad after an arm injury. He made the bench for Fulham

The lone downer for American fans was Carlos Bocanegra being stuck on the bench. He dressed but did not play on Sunday.


  1. Sign Bradley! They you’ll have 47 americans on the field. Also as a rover/d-mid, he has apparently scored 904 goals this year. 🙂

  2. Great to see Fulham win, but I can’t say that Hodgson impressed me much in this match. Fulhman need (and fortunately got) three points from a home match, yet he played a 4-5-1 for the first 70 minutes. Baird was in the lineup, which, I think we can all agree, should only be a last resort. I haven’t formed an opinion on Hodgson yet, but I’m not thrilled by what I’ve seen so far.

    Also, sublicon, lose the arrogance. We’re all Fulham fans, and most of us watch them just about every week (I know I do). You don’t have a monopoly on knowledge.

  3. Guys, not gonna venture to even tackle anything one by one. It’s clear you don’t watch Fulham week in week out. If you did, you’d know Baird has been the sorriest piece of trash ever since he set foot on the pitch, and today was probably his brightest moment (which isn’t saying much, but guess what), and that the last few games Boca has started has seen him getting beaten worse than Seth Stammler in a Red Bulls match. We can try to blame it all on Antti Niemi, but umm . . there are four guys in front of him who hadn’t been doing their job, which is the real reason we’ve been hemmoraging goals all season.

  4. The match gave us hope that Fulham can make a run and stay up. Can’t say I felt that way before this match. Dempsey was terrific. I keep thinking how good he would be in Spain where touch is more important than plain speed.
    Boca will be back in the staring 11 soon enough. Baird was very erratic in what was most likely his best performance this year.

    Come on Fulham!

  5. I bet Villa is really po’d about Guzan’s permit not going through. That free kick wasn’t all that great. Carson = another overrated English goalkeeper.

    Dempsey’s game has never been predicated on pace. EJ’s entire game relies on pace. If anything EJ should have an easier time acclimating on pace alone. Talent wise…that’s another issue. (I do believe Dempsey is a more talented, gutsy player)
    As for Boca, I believe others above has shown that he isn’t ‘shite’

  6. Yeah, sublicon, that’s a little ridiculous. If today was Baird’s best game, then I’m thinking of taking up soccer (or, excuse my Americanism, “football”) because if he can win a contract, I’m sure I can. He was horrible. I thought Dempsey played well, he won so many headers, had some amazing touches (including the one on the side where he knocked it back to the middle, that was great) and it was nice to see him back in his normal position. I think it says something about Bocanegra that he can’t win a place in this defense. And Murphy is bad, the commentator kept saying he was Fulham’s only chance, which had to be scary for Fulham fans. Good to see McBride back, as well, he is a fine face of American soccer (even when that face is bloodied against Italy. Maybe especially then.)

  7. sublicon:

    You said: “It’s official, nobody on here knows what the hell they are talking about. Let me provide the rundown…”

    Then you said: “EJ is gonna take longer to acclimate than Dempsey did. Get over it. He is worse than Dempsey”

    Then you said this about EJ: “he’s gonna take a minute to get used to the Premiership pace”

    Well, if he’s going to take a minute to get used to the Premiership, obviously he will not be contributing in the near future!

    You said: “Boca has fallen out of favor because he has been SHITE.” and “Boca is this year what Zat Knight was last year. do your research.”

    Your the one who needs to do your “research”. Bocanegra just by virtue of having played the most of ANY Fulham defenders this year has clearly been their number one defender. At one point he was also ranked in the top 75 players in the EPL according to the Actim index. I’m not saying Bocanegra is great but he has often been their most reliable defender and was even captain quite often. I guess what I am saying is that Bocanegra isn’t SHITE, your SHITE!

  8. SIMON Davies equalized for Fulham. The Welshman finished a flowing move for Fulham off Bullard’s sly curling ball.

    Baird played extremely poorly in possession, but defended adequately. He needs to take the simple option

    Bocanegra is not starting because he has not been consistent for Fulham this year. While I still rate him over Hughes, no one can make an incontrovertible case he belongs. Particularly now, as the team have picked up 4 points, I would only expect to see Carlos in the near term as a defensive minded sub late to preserve points.

    Fulham have played poorly at the back whether he has been in or not.

    Bullard is class, and has been since he dragged Wigan into the Premiership.

    Dempsey looked just as energetic and more effective out on the right. He had some incredible touches, and produced several threatening shots/headers. If Clint, Bullard, and Davies develop a good partnership, Fulham will stay up.

    Great to see McBride return.

  9. Yeah, I gotta say, watching the Fulham/Aston Villa game wasn’t nearly as painful as most Fulham games I’ve subjected myself to.

    There was plenty of energy and enthusiasm out there, and I think Dempsey did well as a winger (I loved that reverse step-over he did to create space for a pass to the target man at the penalty spot). We all know that you gotta get Dempsey facing toward the goal, so he can run at guys and use his dribbling and passing vision.

    Bullard would’ve been man of the match even if he hadn’t scored on that free kick… dude’s not pretty to look at, but he was everywhere today.

    McBride didn’t do much, but I expected that, as he’s gonna have to get back in the flow of things.

    Hopefully now that they’re finally getting healthy, and have brought in some better players, maybe Fulham can claw their way out of the relegation zone after all. I just hope Eddie Johnson can work his way into the squad and do well for FFC.

  10. “5 Americans take priority over 2.”


    Hangeland is as American as Rossi….

    If he doesn’t play for the USMNT then he doesn’t count regardless of being born in Texas.

  11. I’m really proud of them Cottagers. Today was a great result against a quality team.

    I can’t decide what I want to happen to Fulham. Do I want them to stay up and most likely retain its American players (Dempsey, Johnson, Boca, etc)? Or do I want them to be relegated and force some players to make a transfer to a premier team?

    Oh who am I kidding? I want Fulham to stay up! Go Cottagers!

  12. I really enjoy it when people come onto these American soccer boards and use terms like “shite” and “rubbish” and “class” in order to impart a sense of European refinement to their analysis. Just sayin’.

    I didn’t get to see the match. How did Dempsey play?

  13. Tony: I agree with you on Boca and Parkhurst. Play Parkhurst somewhere against Mexico. Back 4: RB – Parkhurst (EXP), CB’S – Gooch/Boca 1st half only. LB – Pearce (He really needs to change teams quick). Play Moor in the second half at RB & switch Parkhurst to CB.

  14. It’s official, nobody on here knows what the hell they are talking about. Let me provide the rundown…

    1. EJ is gonna take longer to acclimate than Dempsey did. Get over it. He is worse than Dempsey, and he’s gonna take a minute to get used to the Premiership pace.

    2. Baird had a BETTER first half than he’s ever had during his entire tenure for this club. and it was better than his second half.

    3. Boca has fallen out of favor because he has been SHITE. He never played in place of Baird anyway. Hangeland is the one who has taken his place, if anyone. Boca is this year what Zat Knight was last year. do your research.


  15. Correction

    This is where Fulham starts to turn it around. EJ scores in the 84th minute in the next game. 5/1 EJ scores the next goal for Fulham!

  16. I posted this a while ago but I thought I would post it again just for fun.

    Fulham’s remaing schedule

    Fulham 1 Arsenal 2 3-0 Arsenal
    Fulham 2 Bolton 1 0-0 Tie 1pt
    Fulham 2 Aston Villa 2 2-1 Win! 3 pts
    well I predicited a win and a tie just not in the right order. I did sucsessfully predict 4 points out of 9. This is were Fulham will start to turn it around. They definitely can win the next two games! COME ON FULHAM!!!
    Fulham 1 Middlesbrough 0
    Fulham 3 West Ham 2
    Fulham 0 Man U 3
    Fulham 2 Blackburn 1
    Fulham 1 Everton 3
    Fulham 3 New Castle 3
    Fulham 2 Derby 1
    Fulham 3 Sunderland 1
    Fulham 2 Reading 2
    Fulham 1 Liverpool 0
    Fulham 1 Man City 3
    Fulham 1 Birmingham 0

    Fulham finish with 42 pts in 16th.
    Place your bets now and thank me later!

  17. FUlham will not get relegated.

    As for Boca, I’m not sure what the club situation looks like, but right now I would rather test Parkhurst in the center of the Nats defense. If Boca stops getting club minutes, the argument for Parkhurst gets a little stronger, I think.

  18. Boca will probably get the know after Koncheskys awaful display today. If he does not then we will know that Boca is not going to get much PT down the stretch and will have to go somewhere else next season. Johnson will play next game for sure as Nevland didn’t produce and McBride is not Fit. Possibly up top with Kamara who showed well today!!!

  19. My take on Boca: Fulham’s defending has been so awful all season that the manager(s) have been going through every possible combination trying to find one that works. Boca is currently odd man out, after featuring earlier. Can’t blame the manager for that. Every combination tried so far has been worse than the sum of it’s parts. Boca’s inclusion or exclusion has had no effect on that equation.

    I don’t think Boca has been the worst of the bunch and expect to see him back after the current 4 prove they can’t play either.

  20. Danny Murphy did have a terrible game. I’m glad everyone on here sees the same things I see in the game. I think Baird is garbage. His first half was far worse than his 2nd half, but it didn’t help him. I think Stalteri gets his job.

    I think EJ is going to have a tough time cracking the lineup to be honest, especially if he doesn’t leave it all out on the field. They played their balls off today. Everyone was hustling, you could see they wanted a win. Plus, I think they’re keen on their new signings up front and then they have McBride back.

    I do have to say that Andreasson played a great game. That guy is helping a lot and with him, Simon Davies, and Dempsey in the midfield, things are looking up.

  21. i thought bairds second half performance was pretty decent, actually. i was most frustrated by danny murphys performance, but he did have a hand in the first goal, so i cant complain after a win. The team is playing a lot better with bullard and the new signing andreason, fulham actualy have good posession.

    that being said, we beat a current top 4 team, so itsa celebration.

  22. EJ just got in on Sat. Hodgson said before the game that he wouldn’t play. I bet he makes his debut next week. I really wish FSC put more Fulham games on. Yes I know Setanta will have the game, but unfortunately my cable provider doesn’t provide even a chance to spend the $ to get the channel. WAH!

    Honestely at this point if I had to choose one I would rather see Fulham stay up
    as opposed to Reading. 5 Americans take priority over 2.

    COME ON FULHAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. McBride seemed to have won every header anywhere near him, and that is while barely match fit coming back against serious knee injury and against Villa’s vaunted defense.

  24. Relax folks, Johnson probably didn’t get a chance to train the full week. Both Johnson and Paul Stalteri were in street clothes and I’m pretty sure Fulham plans to use these guys after spending good money for them.

  25. Exciting game – looks like Fulham’s transfer activity has paid off. Although McBride wasn’t a factor, it was fantastic to see him back! Now we have to root for both Reading and Fulham to turn it around. Reading looked pretty bad this weekend and I’d have to say things are not looking good for them.


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