Kit Symons headed the only goal of the game as Second Division leaders Fulham saw off a spirited Stoke City side to extend their lead at the top of the table to twelve points.

Welsh international Symons soared highest in the nineteenth minute to head home emphatically from Paul Trollope’s deep cross but the Cottagers should have secured another important away win long before the end of what became a tense contest. Barry Hayles spurned two good chances to double the lead before a powerful Neil Smith header was superbly turned onto the post by Stoke keeper Gavin Ward.

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A 19th-minute winner from defender Kit Symons was enough to see off Stoke at the Britannia Stadium. And only a slump of catastrophic proportions can now deny Keegan’s men from being crowned champions.

Kevin Keegan was careful not to take promotion for granted after a win the Whites made heavy weather of, but stressed he was determined to secure the title for the long-suffering Fulham fans:

“We’ve always got to guard against complacency. However, to be fair to my players, that is the last thing they are going to be. I want to get some silverware for Fulham’s fans because they have not seen much in the last 20 years.”

STOKE CITY (5-4-1): Ward; J. Kavanagh, Short, Mohan, Woods, Sigurdsson; Keen, Oldfield, Robinson (Wallace 85), G. Kavanagh; Lightbourne (Crowe 57). Subs (not used): Small.

FULHAM (4-4-2): Taylor; Finnan, Brevett, Symons, Coleman; Smith, Morgan, Hayward, Trollope; Horsfield, Hayles. Subs (not used): Uhlenbeek, Peschisolido, Lehmann.

BOOKED: Horsfield, Brevett, Finnan.

GOAL: Symons (19).

REFEREE: Paul Danson (Leicestershire).