Bernardo Corradi finally grabbed his first goals for Manchester City as the striker’s double consigned Fulham to defeat at Eastlands.
Stuart Pearce’s decision to recall Corradi and Georgios Samaras proved inspired as City swept the Londoners aside with first half goals. Corradi combined with his strike partner to put the hosts ahead after twelve minutes and doubled the advantage by tucking away Joey Barton’s pass. Barton added a third just before half time and, although Collins John chipped in the first goal City have conceded in more than ten hours of football at Eastlands this term, this was a comfortable victory for the hosts.
City were in control right from the off and got rich rewards for their bright start when Corradi volleyed home a Samaras’ flick to finally break his scoring duck. The Italian knighted Joey Barton with the corner flag in an exuberant celebration and the marauding midfield proved he merited his new title by laying on the second, with the referee ignoring Fulham protests that Carlos Bocanegra had been taken out in the build up. Any hope of a revival was dashed when they were caught out from their own corner as Hatem Trabelsi latched onto a long clearance from Sylvain Distin and crossed for Barton to slot home the third.
Coleman sent on Heidar Helguson and Collins John, who have both been linked with moves away in January after becoming frustrated at a lack of first team football, for the second half and the pair combined for Fulham’s reply just after the hour. John lobbed Nicky Weaver after reaching Helguson’s flick on – but it proved merely an interruption to City’s dominance. New England international Micah Richards carried the attack to the visitors almost providing a hat-trick for Corradi and then refusing the chance to play in the Italian and blasting into the side netting when he went for goal himself.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3): Weaver, Richards, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher; Trabelsi (Onuoha 89), Reyna, Barton; Vassell, Corradi, Samaras (Dickov 67). Subs (not used): Hart, Ireland, Miller.
GOALS: Corradi (12, 32), Barton (45).
FULHAM (4-5-1): Niemi; Rosenior, Queudrue, Knight, Pearce; Volz (Radzinski 74), Bocanegra (John 45), Diop, C. Jensen, Boa Morte; McBride (Helguson 45). Subs (not used): Lastuvka, Routledge.
GOAL: John (62).
REFEREE: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).