Belfast Telegraph

Pogrebnyak shines in Fulham win

Pavel Pogrebnyak's debut goal helped Fulham on the way to a 2-1 victory against Stoke.

The Russia international was quick to make his mark in west London, controlling a wayward John Arne Riise shot to fire home inside 16 minutes.

Fulham doubled their advantage 12 minutes later when Clint Dempsey's superb 30-yard drive rebounded off the bar onto goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen's back and in. Pogrebnyak was forced off with injury after 62 minutes and Stoke ensured a nervy ending after Ryan Shawcross headed home a Jermaine Pennant corner.

The Cottagers turned their early dominance into a 16th-minute goal as Pogrebnyak controlled a wayward Riise ball inside the box and unleashed a fierce drive into the top left-hand corner.

The Russia international was fortunate not to be booked shortly afterwards for a late challenge on Wilson Palacios, who dusted himself down to shoot just wide.

It was 2-0 in the 28th minute when Dempsey's 30-yard effort rattled the crossbar, rebounded onto Sorensen and into the net off his back.

Danny Murphy curled just wide from a free-kick before the break - but Stoke looked rejuvenated immediately after it and came close to reducing the deficit through Matthew Upson, who volleyed Glenn Whelan's free-kick just wide in the 47th minute.

Fulham were forced to change things in the 62nd minute when Pogrebnyak appeared to fall awkwardly in a challenge with Shawcross and had to be replaced by Simon Davies, which resulted in Dempsey moving into attack.

Ricardo Fuller, Pennant and Ryan Shotton all came on for the visitors and the changes soon had the desired effect when a Pennant corner was flicked home at the near post by Shawcross.

Sorensen had to react quickly to prevent Dempsey netting a last-gasp third after a defensive mix-up, before the United States international hit the post at the end.

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