Duff downs Toffees
Cottagers pile pressure on Moyes' men
Last Updated: 13/09/09 6:31pm
Duff: First goal for Fulham
Damien Duff's late strike was enough to see Fulham secure a 2-1 victory over Everton at Craven Cottage.
Tim Cahill opened the scoring in a match between two sides looking to kick-start their season with a trademark header, but Paul Konchesky restored parity with a deflected second half effort.
The lively Duff then turned the tie on its head with a sublime winner after he was afforded too much space on the edge of the box.
A scrappy opening saw both sides struggle to offer attacking intent, with defences very much on top.
Clint Dempsey was looking the most likely to open the door for Fulham, but the American winger was forced to feed off scraps for the most part.
At the other end Jo and Cahill found themselves dropping deep far too often and their threat was nullified with ease.
It was, however, Everton who forced the breakthrough on 33 minutes when Leighton Baines swung over a free-kick and Cahill rose highest to power a header past Premier League debutant David Stockdale.
Fulham looked bright after the interval as they began their search for an equaliser, with Duff lashing an early effort over the top.
They then grabbed a leveller on 57 minutes when Konchesky's low drive deflected past Tim Howard off the heels of Sylvain Distin.
Worryingly for Everton, Phil Neville was stretchered from the field just after the hour mark after taking a heavy blow to the knee.
Without their skipper the Toffees then saw their hopes of taking something from the game dashed by a brilliant strike from Duff after 79 minutes.
The Irishman was allowed to cut inside Baines 20 yards from goal, before curling delicately past a helpless Howard.
Both teams are in Europa League action this week - Fulham travel to CSKA Sofia and Everton host AEK Athens - and their success last season was built on tight defences, so it was no surprise that this clash was short on clear-cut chances.
Duff tried his luck from long range early on but Howard did not have to move to make the save, then Dempsey went wide with a drive from a similar distance.
Stockdale, the 23-year-old former York and Darlington goalkeeper, was making his debut and was called into action on the quarter-of-an-hour mark when Jack Rodwell's drive deflected off Aaron Hughes, with the rookie using his knees to block and his team-mates clearing the rebound.
Fulham midfielder Dempsey had a couple of efforts that did not trouble Howard - then the hosts fell behind in the 33rd minute through the familiar sight of a headed goal by Cahill.
Since arriving from Millwall, Cahill has now scored 38 goals for Everton - and exactly half of them have been with his head.
Danny Murphy was booked for a foul in the build-up, with Baines swinging over the free-kick and Cahill jumping above Dickson Etuhu to head past Stockdale, although he should have been flagged for offside.
It was the Australia midfielder's first strike of the season and he celebrated with his trademark boxing routine at the corner flag.
Leon Osman almost grabbed a second before the interval when he trapped Steven Pienaar's pass and went through on goal - but Hughes was back to make a last-ditch tackle.
Howard had gone untroubled for 45 minutes despite Fulham's frontline strikers returning from the sidelines.
Andrew Johnson came back from his collarbone injury to face his former club. He suffered the problem against Amkar Perm last month and will always have a deformity in his shoulder due to the problem, but he was fit enough to play.
Bobby Zamora partnered him in attack after coming back from an Achilles complaint - but the lack of understanding between the pair was illustrated by a comedy kick-off routine that gifted the ball to Everton.
That would all change in the second half. Johnson forced Howard into a save just after the restart following a sharp turn on the edge of the area, then Etuhu headed wide from Murphy's free-kick.
The fortuitous equaliser came in the 57th minute when Murphy's free-kick was blocked by the defensive wall. It rebounded to Konchesky, whose powerful drive deflected in off Distin.
Neville had brought down Etuhu for the free-kick leading up to the goal, then six minutes after the goal Etuhu caught the Everton skipper badly just below the left knee. Johnny Heitinga came on for his debut as a replacement.
Duff's moment, his first goal since arriving from Newcastle, came 11 minutes from full-time.
Zamora headed on a long ball and Johnson tapped out wide to Duff. The Irishman made tracks towards the penalty area, cut inside Baines and unleashed a powerful drive past Howard.
Stockdale saved a Marouane Fellaini header from point-blank range and Murphy cleared Joseph Yobo's follow-up shot off the line.Hughes was also forced into a last-ditch tackle on Yakubu Aiyegbeni as Fulham held on.
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|8||Shots on Target||3|
|7||Shots off Target||1|
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|19||West Bromwich Albion||0||0|
|20||West Ham United||0||0|