For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left; for match stats, click on the stats tab. Manager reaction below
Fulham slumped to a 3-0 defeat at West Ham United to make it their worst ever start to a Barclays Premier League season.
West Ham forward Modibo Maiga had the best chance of the first half as he headed an effort against a post, but goalmouth action was infrequent for the rest of the period. The hosts took the lead less than 60 seconds after the break, however, as Fernando Amorebieta deflected a Mohamed Diame shot past Maarten Stekelenburg. Carlton Cole and Joe Cole scored in the closing stages to seal an emphatic scoreline for West Ham, while Jol’s team go bottom of the Barclays Premier League.
Sam Allardyce made four changes from last week's defeat to Chelsea, with Matthew Jarvis and Diame recalled. Fulham were beaten by Swansea last time out and Jol named three alterations to that team as he dropped Bryan Ruiz and Derek Boateng, while captain Dimitar Berbatov missed out through illness.
The hosts dominated the early proceedings and nearly took the lead 10 minutes in as Maiga directed Mark Noble's right-wing free-kick goalwards, but it struck a post. Stekelenburg was forced into his first save of the match seven minutes later as Stewart Downing cut in from the right and fired a long-range effort towards the bottom corner, but the Netherlands goalkeeper palmed the strike away.
With just a few minutes of the first half remaining Kevin Nolan looked set to score as he met Downing's chipped cross with an acrobatic scissor-kick, but the attempt bounced up and into Stekelenburg's hands.
Following their struggles in front of goal in the first period, it took West Ham less than a minute to open the scoring after half-time as Diame stole possession from Scott Parker before his 20-yard effort deflected into the net off Amorebieta. Just after the hour the hosts had two headed opportunities in quick succession as James Tomkins directed a corner wise and Jarvis knocked the ball straight at Stekelenburg, before Downing’s cross struck the crossbar.
With just eight minutes remaining, Allardyce's men made sure of the win as Carlton Cole latched on to Downing's low cross and poked the ball home for his first goal since December 2012, his seventh in his career against Fulham.
There was still enough time for Joe Cole to find the net in the 90th minute following a Ravel Morrison run to wrap up the victory for West Ham.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "It was a bit nervous and twitchy going into the last 15 minutes. I was getting a little worried that Fulham might get one on the break. The lads defended really well from that point of view, and when the subs got on they had more energy and exposed that defence a little more.
"In the end, what we needed most of all was a fantastic result and it was a very good performance.
"Maiga had a good game today, proving that he can compete. We're just waiting for that goal. Stewart Downing is, for me, a different class, and he continues to probe and open defences up.
"The subs paid off in the end, and with the fresh legs we ended up winning comfortably. It's a clean sheet again. We could have had more goals too, so it's all been there today. Finally we've got the result to go with it.
"It's a relief. Especially when you're a manager in this position, because it's one you have to take on your own shoulders.
"You have to continue to keep the lads in a good frame of mind. Have a laugh with them, and when it gets serious you have to get serious."
Fulham manager Martin Jol: "There's more managers than me under pressure, but we all need the points. West Ham had a problem today, and they'll be out of that situation now.
"I felt we dealt with their strategy well, but we couldn't exploit the situation and score. The first goal killed us off, then the last two goals came in the last minutes which sums it up. It was disappointing, but if you saw us in training we've done well. It was very unfortunate we couldn't exploit the situation.
"Of course confidence is low, especially if you concede a goal like the first. It's a hammer blow, but you still have to be strong, fight and be mentally tough.
"Even before today we had a great spirit. We have to try to be strong, and we should have been stronger today."
|03 Dec 2013||v Crystal Palace (A)|
|07 Dec 2013||v Liverpool (A)|
|14 Dec 2013||v Sunderland (H)|
|21 Dec 2013||v Man Utd (A)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Arsenal (H)|
|28 Dec 2013||v West Brom (H)|