By Phillipa Hopwood: Darren Bent’s individual moment of magic was all that stood between Stoke and Fulham in a very controversial affair at Craven Cottage.
The hosts went into today’s game on the end of their worst run at Craven Cottage since 1966, losing all of their last seven games played at home. Stoke were the visitors and have one of the worst away records in the Premier League but have already taken home three away points from London this season with victory at West Ham almost a month ago.
The controversial talking points began just a few minutes in when Pajtim Kasami hit Eric Pieters in the face with his elbow, the defender was deemed to have gone down easily but Stoke fans will think Kasami should have been booked and Stoke could have had a penalty.
Stephen Ireland should have been awarded a penalty minutes later after he was brought down in the box, but the referee again waved away all appeals.
Fulham’s biggest chance of the first half came from an in-swinging corner from Giorgos Karagounis but it eventually came to nothing.
Stoke were again denied a penalty moments later as Jonathan Walters was pulled down inside the box by Fernando Amorebieta, but the linesman ruled that the initial foul took place outside of the area.
The resulting free kick saw Robert Huth’s header cleared off the line by Sascha Riether.
Fulham played a rare passage of link up play going forward but Steve Sidwell’s shot peeked high above Asmir Begovic’s crossbar and his follow-up header ended the same way.
The Cottagers started the stronger of the two teams in the second half as Riether ran through on goal, and Begovic pulled off an impressive save but the linesman’s flag was up.
Reither again cleared Huth’s header off the line in an action replay of the first half, this allowed Fulham to go on a break through Reither but Begovic easily saved his shot.
Darren Bent finally broke the deadlock seven minutes from time when he skipped past two challenges to fire past a helpless Begovic.
Stoke tried to press for an equaliser in the remaining minutes but had no answer to Fulham and again dropped points away from home.
Stoke and Fulham now have to wait two weeks for their next Premier League game, and after the international break the Potters will face in-form West Brom at The Britannia Stadium, whilst the Cottagers will make the short trip to Crystal Palace