Baird brace boosts Cottagers
Fulham moved out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone thanks to Chris Baird's early brace which earned them a 2-0 win at Stoke.
Baird, who had never scored for the Cottagers before, struck twice from outside the area in the opening 10 minutes to lift some of the pressure on his manager Mark Hughes.
The Northern Ireland international was an unlikely goalscorer to seal an unlikely result, as the London outfit recorded their first away win in the league in 27 attempts.
The visitors found themselves ahead after only four minutes when Simon Davies sent in a cross from the left that was only partially cleared and it fell to Baird, who rifled in a bullet of a shot that Asmir Begovic could not prevent crashing in off the post.
Fulham had doubled their advantage by the 10 minute and again it was Baird who hit the back of the net with a long-range strike, this time having been teed up by a free-kick awarded when Jermaine Pennant had brought down Davies.
Kenwyne Jones narrowly headed over from a corner for the shell-shocked Potters and Dean Whitehead then lashed a shot over and protested that he had been impeded by a foul from Davies.
Just before the break Andy Johnson was fed by Clint Dempsey but was denied by a last-ditch tackle from Ryan Shawcross, who then saw a header cleared off the line by Danny Murphy.
The home supporters cried out twice in quick succession that a Fulham player had handled in the box, but referee Kevin Friend judged neither Johnson nor Brede Hangeland had been guilty of the offence.
Stoke then earned a free-kick in a useful position which Pennant curled off-target and Jones rose high to meet a Danny Collins cross but could not guide his header the right side of the post.