Fulham vs. Stoke City: Final score 1-0, Darren Bent seals crucial points

Charlie Crowhurst

The Cottagers appeared to be on the verge of dropping two more points at home until Darren Bent scored to seal a win and pull Fulham out of the drop zone.

Fulham still have plenty of problems to sort out, but they'll be happy with a home win and a jump out of the bottom three. They're now on eight points after their 1-0 win over Stoke City, who now have five losses from eight matches this season.

More: Fulham blog Cottagers Confidential

Referee Roger East had plenty of work to do in the first half, but wasn't buying any of what the players were trying to sell to him. Erik Pieters attempted to get Pajtim Kasami sent off by simulating getting hit in the face in the 8th minute, but no booking was given either way. In the 26th minute, Jon Walters looked like he drew a penalty on a foul by Fernando Amorebieta, but a free kick just outside the box was given. Another penalty shot was denied just before the break, when Marc Wilson clipped Bryan Ruiz in the box, but no call was made.

There wasn't much other action outside of those refereeing decisions, and the second half featured more of the same until Dimitar Berbatov exited the game. He picked up an injury that necessitated the introduction of Darren Bent, who went on to win the game for the Cottagers.

The goal was created in lucky fashion, but the finish was a well-earned one. Kasami took an ambitious shot from 25 yards out in the 83rd minute that took a wicked deflection off a Stoke defender. It fell into the path of Bent, who cut the ball back in the box, forcing Robert Huth to whiff on a challenge and Asmir Begovic to be caught out of position. That left him with an empty net to finish into, and Bent did so comfortably to clinch three points for Fulham from an otherwise poor match.

Fulham: Stockdale, Riether, Amorebieta, Hangeland (Richardson 45'), Senderos, Ruiz, Karagounis (Boateng 60'), Sidwell, Duff, Kasami, Berbatov (Bent 66')

Goals: Bent (83')

Stoke: Begovic, Pieters, Huth, Shawcross, Cameron, Etherington (Assaidi 63'), Wilson (Whelan 59'), Walters (Crouch 84'), Nzonzi, Ireland, Arnautovic

Goals: None

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