Fulham through after Dempsey hat-trick

Fulham 4 Charlton 0

Clint Dempsey’s first ever hat-trick for Fulham saw off League One leaders Charlton, but the scoreline flattered the Whites. 

Danny Holland’s header forced David Stockdale to save well in the opening moments before Dempsey slid home his first six minutes in.

Bradley Wright-Phillips then forced the first of a great double save from Stockdale just after half-time before Danny Green’s follow-up was tipped over the bar.

But Dempsey’s craft gave him a second against the run of play and then he blasted home a penalty before substitute Damien Duff rounded things off.

Dempsey had scored in all of Fulham’s Premier League victories this season until Monday’s win over Arsenal, so the omens were in the home side’s favour when the midfielder put them ahead once again.

Charlton had given the home team a scare in the opening moments when Holland’s header was saved and scrambled away but Dempsey’s clever movement in the box saw him latch onto Danny Murphy’s deflected pass and slide Fulham into the lead on eight minutes.

French striker Yann Kermorgant had the visitors’ best moment of the half when he attempted to curl past Stockdale but the goalkeeper saved well again before denying Wright-Phillips.

Charlton were inspired by the sight of a sold-out away end ahead of them after the break and two more saves from Stockdale were needed to deny them levelling the score through Wright-Phillips and Green.

But Dempsey chipped in the second after the hour mark, breaking through the Charlton back line and lifting the ball over Sullivan into the far corner before Bryan Ruiz was brought down by the Charlton keeper with 10 minutes left, and Dempsey made no mistake from the spot.

Duff, on for the lively Kerim Frei, had forced Sullivan into a save with his first touch before but he finally had the better of him with three minutes remaining.

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