Papa Bouba Diop headed a stoppage-time winner as Fulham sneaked past bottom club West Brom in a dire relegation six-pointer at Craven Cottage.
The Senegalese midfielder powered home Luis Boa Morte’s late corner to settle the contest, with defeat being particularly harsh on Bryan Robson’s side – who have now failed to win fifteen league matches. The Baggies arguably had the better of a desperately poor contest but couldn’t find an elusive goal.
New signing Kevin Campbell made an early impression linking up well with Robert Earnshaw but the Welshman shot wildly over when well placed. Boa Morte, who ended speculation about a transfer to Newcastle by signing a new three year-contract this week, was Fulham’s most lively operator and he threatened twice at the end of the first half. The Portuguese winger flicked one header wide and also went close with a powerful drive.
Edwin van der Sar had made three outstanding stops to prevent West Brom from taking the lead themselves. He did brilliantly to deny Earnshaw the chance of reaching Jonathan Greening’s cross and was then up to the task when Ronnie Wallwork lashed goalwards from just outside the box. Campbell was foiled just before the break and clear cut chances were less common in a tight second half.
Boa Morte went closest for Fulham with a fierce shot after another driving run from deep, whilst West Brom’s cohesion was hindered when Andy Johnson limped off injured with twenty minutes to go. Robson’s side came within seconds of a point but Diop punished some slack marking to leave them rooted to the foot of the table.
FULHAM (4-3-3): van der Sar; Volz, Bocanegra, Knight, Rehman; Diop, Pembridge, Malbranque (Clark 22); Radzinski, Boa Morte, John (McBride 79). Subs (not used): Crossley, Rosenior, Legwinski.
BOOKED: Boa Morte, Bocanegra, Clark.
GOAL: Diop (90).
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (4-4-2): Hoult; Albrechtsen, Purse, Clement, Robinson; Greening, Johnson (Scimeca 70), Wallwork, Gera; Campbell, Earnshaw. Subs (not used): Kuszczak, Koumas, Horsfield, Kanu.
REFEREE: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).