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From The Stands: Fulham v Everton

In London for a conference and I could not miss an opportunity to see the two best American players in the Premier League; Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey, meet at Craven Cottage on a beautiful Sunday in London.

If you have never been to Craven Cottage before, the ground is situated right next to the river Thames. That means you can be standing having you pie and beer before the match, watching people sailing in the river.

Everton got off to a great start when they scored within the opening three minutes. Danny Murphy (who was really poor) lost the ball in midfield and it eventually found its way to Royston Drenthe who slammed a left-foot shot past Mark Schwarzer from 20 yards. Terrific goal.

Not sure whether it was a Europa League hangover, but Fulham started really slowly and Everton should have been three up inside the opening ten minutes as Arouane Fellaini and Apostolos Vellios both missed great chances to add to Everton’s lead.

Slowly as the first-half proceeded Fulham came to life and it took some Tim Howard magic and a little bit of luck for Everton to still be leading at half-time. First Danny Murphy saw his shot from outside the box hit the inside of the post and then Tim Howard’s head before going out for a corner. Then Howard made a terrific save to tip a header from Brede Hangeland over the bar.

In the second half, Everton tactically seemed to be settling for the 1-0 win, and as a result Fulham were able to push forward more. Everton paid for their defensive posture in the 67th minute when substitute Bryan Ruiz brilliantly chipped Howard from about 15 yards. Classy, classy goal.

Then with three minutes to go Fulham should have won the match. Zamora picked out Ruiz at the back post but his volley was saved by Howard. Poor effort as this was an easier chance than the goal he scored.

Then two minutes later Bobby Zamora did what he does best; he missed a sitter. Zamora was sent through on goal, buy Dempsey I think, and went around Howard before shockingly missing the goal. Zamora went for power instead of placing his shot and smashed his shot over the bar.

Everton then went down the pitch and Lou Saha showed Zamora how a real striker score, shrugging off a Fulham defender and sliding the ball past Schwarzer.

The thousands of Everton’s supporters could not believe it when in stoppage time Rodwell crashed a half volley from the edge of the box pasted Schwarzer.

So a scoreline that flatters Everton to some extent, while Fulham huffed and puffed all afternoon. Not sold on Fulham’s midfield of Murphy and Sidwell as they both play at the same speed – slow.