Pogrebnyak punishes Wolves
Russian bags superb hat-trick with Dempsey grabbing a brace
By Razwan Mirza. Last Updated: 04/03/12 9:35pm
A perfect hat-trick from Pavel Pogrebnyak gave Fulham a thumping 5-0 victory at home to relegation-threatened Wolves at Craven Cottage.
The Londoners were good value for it too as they recorded a third straight Premier League win and Pogrebnyak, signed from Stuttgart in January, took his tally to five goals in three appearances.
His first was a free header at the back post from a dubiously-awarded Damien Duff corner after 36 minutes and the second a stinging right-foot drive into the roof of the net from Andrew Johnson's low pass with a minute of the half remaining.
The Russian completed his hat-trick just five minutes after Clint Dempsey had scored the Cottagers third of the afternoon, slotting the ball into the back of the net after Johnson unselfishly picked him out.
And Dempsey rounded off a wonderful day for Fulham, as the hosts produced a wonderful 22 pass move which culminated in the American smashing home Mahamadou Diarra's slide rule pass for his 12th of the league season and his 18th in all competitions.
Fulham climb to eighth in the Premier League table while Wolves, who have just one win in 13 league games, drop below Blackburn into the bottom three.
Fulham dominated from the outset and Ronald Zubar was soon booked for clattering Duff on the edge of the box.
Dempsey then outpaced Zubar to test Wayne Hennessey before the Wales international goalkeeper palmed away a low 20-yard drive by John Arne Riise.
Duff was the next to come close with a fierce shot from the edge of the box that went just wide after an impressive counter-attack.
Wolves were having to withstand a barrage of attacks in an opening 20-minute spell that was made worse when midfielder Karl Henry limped off to be replaced by Nenad Milijas.
The Serbian's introduction began a spell in the ascendancy for the Black Country side, who would have taken the lead had Richard Stearman's header from a Jamie O'Hara free-kick been slightly more accurate.
Brede Hangeland was booked for a late challenge on O'Hara as Terry Connor's side continued to press, with Riise reacting well to clear a goalbound Kevin Doyle header.
However, Fulham enjoyed the lion's share of possession and should have taken the lead moments earlier through Johnson, but Hennessey somehow blocked with his legs.
The home side's dominance eventually translated into the opener in the 36th minute, although in somewhat controversial circumstances.
Moussa Dembele, who had been Fulham's most impressive player in the first half, worked space for a shot which referee Mike Jones felt had brushed off Stearman on its way wide.
Stearman was unhappy with the decision but Duff whipped in the resulting corner for Pogrebnyak to head home from close range.
Pogrebnyak doubled Fulham's advantage eight minutes later after Fulham made the most of an awful cross-field ball from Milijas.
Dempsey chased it down and the ball was worked wide to Johnson, who teed up Pogrebnyak to fire home with aplomb.
Fulham continued in the same vein in the second period and were unfortunate not to add to their lead after a defensive mishap between Christophe Berra and Hennessey allowed Johnson to square.
Nobody was in the Wolves box to meet the ball but, after Dempsey saw an effort saved, Fulham did manage to eke out a third.
Danny Murphy's sublime pass was collected by Dempsey and he rounded the goalkeeper to slot home.
Connor brought on top scorer Steven Fletcher, but moments later Hennessey was picking the ball out of his net once more.
The Welshman could not get hold of a Johnson shot, which squirmed out of his grasp allowing Pogrebnyak to complete his hat-trick in the 61st minute.
While Wolves were managing the odd attack, the home side were in control and Johnson hit the crossbar with a curling right-footed shot.
Fulham manager Martin Jol handed former Real Madrid midfielder Diarra his debut with less than 20 minutes remaining.
Murphy made way but there was no let-up in attacking intent as Dembele saw a shot blocked by Berra, who was booked shortly afterwards for a foul on Johnson.
Dembele, Duff and Dempsey all had attempts on goal before the latter scored his second of the afternoon after connecting with a Diarra pass in the 83rd minute.
Barclays Premier League
|7||West Ham United||22||36|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||22||22|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||22||19|
Fulham v Wolves
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Terry Connor remains confident that Wolves can avoid the drop after the 5-0 defeat at Craven Cottage but knows it is vital to bounce back quickly.
Wolves interim boss Terry Connor was left deflated after watching Fulham crush his side 5-0 at Craven Cottage.