Premier League: Fulham lose 4-1 to Stoke at the Britannia Stadium and are relegated
Fulham were relegated from the Premier League as they were thrashed 4-1 by Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
Last Updated: 03/05/14 7:12pm
Fulham were relegated from the Premier League as they were thrashed 4-1 by Stoke City after a sorry performance at the Britannia Stadium.
Fuham's defeat - coupled with Sunderland winning 1-0 at Manchester United - was enough to send Felix Magath's side down.
Stoke's opener came on 39 minutes after Marko Arnautovic cut the ball back from the right byline to Stephen Ireland, whose shot was deflected off Dan Burn onto the crossbar, with Peter Odemwingie there to slot home from close range.
Arnautovic added the second on 54 minutes with a breakaway goal following a pass from Odemwingie.
Stoke added another breakaway goal with 17 minutes remaining, with Oussama Assaidi scoring from Arnautovic's pass.
Keiran Richardson pulled a goal back for Fulham on 80 minutes from Darren Bent's assist but substitute Jon Walters added a fourth for Stoke with yet another goal on the counter-attack two minutes later.
This relegation is Fulham's first since they plunged into the league's bottom division in 1994 - and Magath's first in his lengthy career with nine different clubs.
The Cottagers had travelled hoping for a miracle but might have guessed it would not be their day when Hugo Rodallega - whose winners against Norwich and Aston Villa had given them hope - was ruled out due to illness.
But Magath's men had no excuses for a simply abject performance, particularly in the first half, from which they were highly fortunate to escape with just a single goal deficit.
The home side dominated from the first whistle and should have gone ahead in the third minute when Assaidi blazed over from a Steven Nzonzi cut-back.
Lewis Holtby sailed a long-range free-kick straight into Asmir Begovic's arms in what passed for one of the visitors' few early chances, while at the other end a blunder by Mahamadou Diarra played in Ireland, who was only denied by a fine close-range save from David Stockdale.
Assaidi stung Stockdale's hands again on the half-hour before Hangeland booted clear, and but for the tenacious midfield work of Richardson the Cottagers looked strangely devoid of fight.
Even news of scores going against them elsewhere could not rouse the visitors and the increasingly inevitable Stoke opener arrived on 39 minutes when Ireland's shot struck Burn, hit the bar and bounced down for Odemwingie to tap home.
It was all Stoke deserved for a first half bristling with purpose, and it could have been more moments later when Arnautovic brought another good save out of Stockdale with a curling effort.
The massed ranks of visiting supporters did their best to rouse their side at the start of the second period but it soon reverted back to one-way traffic as Odemwingie found space on the Stoke left in the 52nd minute and his dangerous cross sailed unchallenged across the box.
Fulham briefly threatened when a cross from substitute Ashkan Dejagah was headed away by Marc Wilson, but almost immediately the visitors were left reeling from a classic counter-attack.
Odemwingie again found space on the left and his cross found the unmarked Arnautovic, who smashed his shot high into the roof of the net.
Still Fulham were not roused, Assaidi only denied a third for Stoke thanks to another superb save from Stockdale.
And their nightmare continued in the 73rd minute when, after Bent scuffed a shot in the Stoke box, the home side launched a swift counter-attack which ended in Arnautovic squaring for Assaidi to knock home the goal his performance deserved.
Richardson scored a consolation but soon afterwards the visitors' misery was complete when Walters finished off another flowing counter-attack to seal a superb performance from the hosts - and one Fulham will wish to forget.