For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left, for stats click on match stats tab. Manager reaction to follow
Fulham’s troubles continued as Jonjo Shelvey’s late strike handed Swansea City a 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage.
A fortuitous Scott Parker effort just after the hour looked to have earned Fulham a 1-1 draw, but Shelvey weaved through the home defence and buried the ball into the top corner with 10 minutes left to end Swansea's three-game winless streak in the Barclays Premier League.
The hosts created the better of the first-half openings with Darren Bent twice going close, but Fulham fell behind to Aaron Hughes’ own goal early in the second half. Fulham drew level when Parker’s cross-shot found the far corner, but they were consigned to a fourth straight league defeat by Shelvey's 20-yard drive.
After a lacklustre opening, Bent could have handed Fulham the advantage, first heading wide when unmarked at the far post before then rifling an effort against the post. Swansea improved in the second half, though, and found the breakthrough on 56 minutes when Hughes turned in Jonathan de Guzman’s cross. Fulham bounced back, however, and restored parity nine minutes later with Parker’s fortunate strike but Shelvey had the final say with his fine solo goal late on.
Bent and Bryan Ruiz were restored to Fulham’s starting XI after the 4-0 defeat by Liverpool last time out, while Michel Vorm returned from suspension for Swansea.
After a slow opening, the visitors began to settle and almost took the lead in the 25th minute when Roland Lamah’s effort deflected off Hughes and nearly crept in with Maarten Stekelenburg wrong-footed. Having seen off that danger, Fulham had a spell of pressure and should have gone in front soon after when Parker’s perfectly weighted cross was met by Bent at the back post, only for the striker to head wide.
Swansea were again let off the hook as Bent hit the woodwork just after the half-hour mark. The ball sat up perfectly for the striker on the right side of the box and his half-volley rebounded off the post. But the hosts could have been punished for their profligacy three minutes before the break. Derek Boateng was caught in possession by Jose Canas, whose through-ball found Nathan Dyer, only for the winger to shoot straight at Stekelenburg.
Swansea upped the tempo in the second half and took the lead 11 minutes after the interval. A quick free-kick led to De Guzman drilling in a low cross that was inadvertently bundled home by Hughes.
Their lead was short-lived, however, as a short corner was played to Parker and his attempted cross took a deflection and found the top corner after evading Canas on the line. But Michael Laudrup’s men were not to be denied and restored their advantage when Shelvey held off two challenges before firing into the top corner to earn Swansea their first league success since a 4-0 win over Sunderland October 19.
Fulham manager Martin Jol: "Darren Bent could have scored a hat-trick and we should have been up, but it didn't happen. The own goal was tough on us and we could have been up at half-time.
"If you don't score, you can't win games. They had players missing and we had the chance to beat them. You have to take the opportunities in this league and we didn't. All the hard work we've done in the last two weeks we haven't built on it.
"I want the fans to realise that Swansea are a good team and we were unfortunate. A win would have put us above them and it was close."
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup: "Another win away is always difficult wherever you play and especially this time. It was so important for us today. Apart from that though we played very well and I think it was well deserved.
"In difficult moments, it is important to get points and we kept our way of playing. It's not always easy when you have added pressure so I have to congratulate the team.
"We scored good goals and we had chances for more but even without looking through biased eyes, we deserved it."
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|05 Apr 2014||v Aston Villa (A)|