If David Moyes’ luck turned at Craven Cottage this afternoon, then Fulham’s is definitely out. Harrison Reed’s unfortunate first half own goal extended the Whites’ winless run to five games whilst offering West Ham some breathing space in their battle against the drop. The home side huffed and puffed after their all action midfielder turned Jarrod Bowen’s cross into his own net, having 77 per cent of the possession, but couldn’t fashion an equaliser. Fulham, shorn of their talisman in Aleksandar Mitrovic and without Marco Silva prowling the touchline, looked toothless in the final third and eventually ran out of ideas – their fine first season back in the top flight appears to be running out of gas.

The points meant plenty to Moyes, who, despite earning the Hammers a valuable victory here, won’t win any popularity contests in east London at present. This was a victory for dogged defending and a return to pluck pragmatism as the Scot responded to the midweek mauling at the hands of Newcastle by going back to basics in an old fashioned 4-4-2. The Hammers were content to frustrate Fulham’s fluent football, soak up plenty of pressure and wait for opportunities that might arrive. Their goal was fortuitous – and not just because the luckless Reed provided the telling touch. Vladimir Coufal clearly handled the ball away from Antonee Robinson as the pair battled for possession in the Fulham left back position before Bowen burst towards the byline and Reed paid for doing what he does best: reading the danger.

To say the goal came against the run of play would be an understatement. Fulham hadn’t fashioned a surfeit of chances, but they had been the more progressive side and probed patiently penning their opponents deep in their own half inside the first five minutes. Tosin Adarabioyo, preferred to former Hammer Issa Diop at the heart of the defence, carried the ball into West Ham territory and found Andreas Pereira but the Brazilian’s snapshot was deflected over. The Whites had little problem in prising open the opposition defence but most of the ideal crossing opportunities fell to Cedric Soares, who didn’t have his best game having been handed a rare start ahead of Kenny Tete.

A piledriver from Joao Palhinha was bravely blocked by Declan Rise before Robinson’s own rasping effort from the left corner of the penalty area whistled just over the bar with a couple of minutes to before the break. Fulham made a couple of half-time changes with Tom Cairney replacing Reed and Manor Solomon introduced in place of Bobby Decordova-Reid. They attacked with gusto at the start of the second half but West Ham’s defence stood firm with Angelo Ogbonna heading away countless crosses. For their approach play, the hosts could easily have gone two down when Bowen played in Danny Ings but Bernd Leno spread himself well to block the veteran striker’s chip.

Palhinha and Cairney were beginning to find space to orchestrate Fulham’s attacks from the middle of the park, but Moyes’ solution drew the ire of the visiting fans. He sent on Said Benrahma and Flynn Downes for Pablo Fornals and Danny ings and the travelling support responded with a loud chorus of ‘You don’t what you are doing’. The substitutions, designed to stiffen the Hammers’ midfield, only served to hand the hosts the initiative. White shirts flooded forward and chances began to arrive regularly. Adarabioyo climbed to meet a corner but headed straight at Lukas Fabianski, Cairney nodded one over the bar and, from Fulham’s best move of the match, Cairney and Vinicius combined to put Pereira through on goal but the Brazilian opted to try rounding the goalkeeper instead of shooting first time – and the experienced Fabianski saved the day.

The visitors ground their way through four minutes of stoppage time but should have been much more comfortable after substitute Maxwel Cornet contrived to shoot straight at Leno after he had robbed Tim Ream of possession. Every Fulham fan would have bitten your hand off to be comfortable in tenth place on 39 points at Easter but, especially after the madness of that Manchester United meltdown, it still seems like something of a missed opportunity.

FULHAM (4-2-3-1): Leno; Cedric Soares (Tete 68), A. Robinson, Adarabioyo, Ream; Palhinha, Reed (Cairney 45); Decordova-Reid (Solomon 45), Willian (Wilson 85), Pereira (James 85); Vinicius. Subs (not used): Rodak, Duffy, Diop, Lukic.

BOOKED: Vinicius.

WEST HAM UNITED (4-4-2): Fabianski; Coufal, Creswell, Zouma, Ogbonna; Rice, Soucek, Fornals (Benrahma 60), Bowen; Ings (Downes 61), Antonio (Cornet 90). Subs (not used): Areola, Johnson, Kehrer, Aguerd, Emerson, Lanzini.


GOAL: Reed (o.g. 22).

REFEREE: Jarrod Gillett (Australia)