Zamora rocks Fulham's world
Bobby Zamora's brace helped Fulham secure a deserved 3-0 victory over Blackpool and edged the Cottagers closer to Barclays Premier League safety.
The 30-year-old striker had been a doubt due to illness in the build-up but made his mark with a first-half double in west London. Zamora smashed home a 23rd-minute opener after a wayward James Beattie pass for his first goal since August and did not have to wait long for his second as he nodded in a Damien Duff free-kick five minutes later.
Dickson Etuhu wrapped up the points in the 72nd minute, tapping home from close range to secure Fulham's fifth home win in six matches.
The game also proved a welcome return to footballing action following the unveiling of the much discussed - and in some quarters maligned - Michael Jackson statue prior to the game by chairman Mohamed Al Fayed.
Fulham started well and Carlos Salcido's left-wing cross was headed back by Zamora to Moussa Dembele, whose superb lay-off was met by an equally well-struck shot by Duff that goalkeeper Richard Kingson did well to tip onto the woodwork.
However, the Ghana international could do nothing to prevent Zamora's smashed drive in the 23rd minute as he latched onto Beattie's poor backpass and ran clear before finishing with aplomb.
Fulham continued to threaten and Zamora netted his second of the afternoon five minutes later. The England international out-leaped Craig Cathcart in the six-yard box to nod in Duff's whipped free-kick, to the delight of the home faithful.
Blackpool came desperately close to reducing the deficit just before the break when Brett Ormerod beat Mark Schwarzer to Alex Baptiste's long ball, but his goal-bound header was cleared off the line by former Southampton team-mate Chris Baird.
The game livened up in the 57th minute, with Dembele's neat touch and turn followed up by a 20-yard drive that Cathcart did well to block. Beattie came close to atoning for his earlier error, but his powerful shot clattered off the post.
However, Fulham soon wrapped up the victory with their third of the afternoon through Etuhu. Danny Murphy's free-kick was thumped off the post by Clint Dempsey and the rebound was fired across goal by Brede Hangeland for Etuhu to net.