Fulham appear almost certain to be playing Premier League football again next season after the Whites recording a resounding 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at Craven Cottage tonight.
American international Clint Dempsey scored either side of half time with Brede Hangeland adding a third to earn Fulham a crucial victory which pushed them up five places to ninth, eight points above the relegation zone.
Fulham named an unchanged side to the one that shared the points with Wolves, while the visitors welcomed back Tamir Cohen, who scored the winner in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Arsenal, for Daniel Sturridge, out with an ankle injury.
Dempsey tested Bolton ‘keeper Jussi Jasskelainen in the opening minutes with a low effort, and then watched when Eidur Gudjohnsen fluffed his decent centre into the box by spooning it over the bar.
On the quarter of an hour mark Dempsey put the Cottagers in front.
Bolton failed to clear a corner, with the striker thumping the ball high into Jasskelainen’s net from 12 metres out in am acrobatic strike that Fulham fans will claim should be one of the contenders for goal of the season.
Just before the half hour Jaaskelainen prevented Bolton slipping further behind when pulling off a decent save to deny Moussa Dembele’s low shot from the edge of the box.
The Bolton stopper then did well to deflect a dangerous Gudjohnsen chip.
After a first half dominated by the hosts it was more of the same after the break, with Dempsey doubling up in the 49th minute.
The in-form American ensured a precious three points for Mark Hughes’ side when scoring from six metres out, seconds after Dembele had hit the bar with a long range shot.
Hangeland completed a perfect night when heading home Danny Murphy’s freekick.