Jaded Fulham punished by Wolves

Wolves 2 Fulham 0

Jaded Fulham looked like their Europa League exploits are taking their toll as they slumped to a defeat at Molineux.

Without Bobby Zamora up front, they rarely looked like scoring and are still waiting for their first Premier League goal under boss Martin Jol.

And they were uncharacteristically poor at the back, with two Wolves goals in three minutes shortly before half-time proving decisive.

First, a quickly-taken short corner caught Fulham napping and Matt Jarvis picked out Kevin Doyle, who fired past keeper Mark Schwarzer.

Then Schwarzer failed to reach Stephen Hunt’s cross and after Roger Johnson’s header came back off the post, Jarvis was on hand to smash in Wolves’ second.

Duff missed a great chance early on

Damien Duff should earlier have put Fulham ahead when he shot wide after Andrew Johnson had pulled the ball back for him.

But otherwise, Jol’s men spent much of the first 45 minutes under pressure and were given a let-off when Doyle missed a great chance to open the scoring.

The Irishman robbed Brede Hangeland on the left-hand touchline and then rounded Schwarzer only to blaze over with two team-mates standing unmarked in the area.

But when Doyle later atoned with a cool finish and Fulham conceded again moments before the interval, Jol was left to a deliver a harsh half-time team talk.

The Dutchman gave a Premier League debut to teenage Swiss midfielder Pajtim Kasami, and the summer signing from Palermo immediately discovered how unforgiving English football can be.

Kasami showed some promise but was never allowed time on the ball by a determined Wolves side and was replaced at half-time along with Dickson Etuhu, as Jol sent on Steve Sidwell and forward Moussa Dembele in an attempt to change the course of the match.

But Fulham continued to look sloppy after the restart and Wolves striker Steven Fletcher shot wide after Danny Murphy of all people gave the ball away in a dangerous position.

And after Hangeland gave it straight to Doyle, the ball found its way to Hunt, whose effort was pushed away by Schwarzer.

For a team that had kept 10 clean sheets in their previous 13 games – and managed 14 league shut-outs last season – it was an inexplicably poor defensive performance.

Wolves, on the other hand, were excellent at the back and an out-of-sorts Clint Dempsey was superbly thwarted by Stephen Ward near the end.

Dempsey seemed certain to tap into an empty net after Johnson’s shot was parried by keeper Wayne Hennessey, but Ward appeared from nowhere to deny the American with a fine saving challenge.