Duff on target but Stoke repel late Fulham comeback
Published 06/01/2010 | 05:00
Stoke almost threw away a 3-0 half-time lead against Fulham but eventually clung on to end a run of six league matches without victory.
The Cottagers were stunned as Tuncay Sanli nodded in from a 12th-minute corner and the Potters then scored twice within three minutes through Abdoulaye Faye and Mamady Sidibe.
Damien Duff pulled one back in the 61st minute before a stunning Clint Dempsey volley five minutes from time set up a rousing finale.
In the first half, Fulham captain Danny Murphy was robbed of possession by Tuncay 10 yards inside his own half and it was to prove costly as the Turkey international ran into the area to force a 12th-minute corner.
Robert Huth nodded on Etherington's inswinging delivery to the far post where Tuncay headed past Mark Schwarzer from close range.
Konchesky's obstruction on Liam Lawrence as the pair chased a ball to the byline on the right gave Etherington another chance to whip in a dangerous cross and once again he delivered perfectly.
The ball dropped to the far post where Faye slid in to score the second in the 34th minute.
Three minutes later Stoke were 3-0 up after a move down their left when Tuncay and Etherington combined for Higginbotham to cross to Rory Delap in the area. He headed to the far post where Sidibe smashed past Schwarzer for his first goal of the season.
Tuncay limped off with an injury just before the interval to be replaced by Fuller, who had a header in first-half added time scrambled off the line. Erik Nevland was sent on for Johnson with seven minutes remaining and it was his flick-on which picked out Dempsey to smash in a dipping volley from 35 yards in the 85th minute.