Fulham bounce back by seeing off Bolton

Fulham 2 Bolton 0

First-half goals by Clint Dempsey and Bryan Ruiz helped Fulham bounce back from their midweek European exit.

Ruiz was their stand-out performer, crossing for Dempsey to head home a 32nd-minute opener before scoring himself barely a minute later.

The Costa Rican forward collected Brede Hangeland’s clearance and held off Marcos Alonso before showing great composure to dink the ball over goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

There never looked like being a repeat of the second-half deterioration which saw the Whites crash out of the Europa League on Wednesday after surrendering a two-goal lead against Odense.

They started nervously, with Dickson Etuhu’s mistake allowing Wanderers forward Kevin Davies to set up Nigel Reo-Coker, who fired wide.

But bottom side Bolton’s fragile confidence was sapped when Dempsey broke the deadlock by getting in front of Dedryck Boyata to meet Ruiz’s perfect delivery.

Johnson missed a late chance.

Once Ruiz added a second, Fulham looked comfortable although Bolton came close to pulling a goal back when Reo-Coker got the better of John Arne Riise and pulled the ball back for Ivan Klasnic, whose effort was well saved by David Stockdale.

Recalled from his loan spell at Ipswich because of an injury to Mark Schwarzer, Stockdale also kept out a weak effort from Fabrice Muamba.

Dempsey and Ruiz both missed chances to score their second goal, while Andrew Johnson should have punished a mistake by former Fulham man Zat Knight.

Johnson pounced on a weak header by the centre-back but, unlike Ruiz, was unable to lift the ball over Jaaskelainen.

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