Kacaniklic's winner eases Fulham's relegation worries
Fulham 2 WBA 1:Fulham eased their relegation worries as Alexander Kacaniklic’s second-half goal earned them a shock win at high-flying West Brom.
The Cottagers had slid towards the bottom three after winning only one of their previous 12 games but were well worth their second away success of the campaign.
Dimitar Berbatov’s seventh goal of the season gave Fulham a half-time lead, and although Romelu Lukaku levelled after the break, Kacaniklic restored the visitors’ advantage. It enabled Fulham to complete their first ever Premier League win at the Hawthorns at the seventh attempt and a double after the 3-0 win at Craven Cottage in September.
Albion struggled to produce the form which had taken them into the top half of the table, despite the efforts of on loan Chelsea striker Lukaku and fit again midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu.
Fulham knocked the ball about in confident fashion in the early stages with Kacaniklic prominent.
Steve Sidwell made a run towards the West Brom box unopposed but his shot flew well wide while three corners in quick succession were comfortably dealt with by the home defence.
Albion struggled to find any initial momentum and it was 20 minutes before they threatened, with Gareth McAuley heading past the post from a Chris Brunt free-kick. Fulham keeper David Stockdale then raced off his line to save at the feet of Lukaku after he had exchanged passes with Zoltan Gera.
West Brom finally woke from their slumbers and Lukaku bore down on goal after shaking off the challenge of Sascha Riether, but Sidwell made good ground to put in a crucial tackle.
Then a mistake by Brunt left the former Manchester United striker with a clear run towards Ben Foster but he shot over the bar.
But Berbatov made amends after 39 minutes by putting Fulham ahead. Ashkan Dejagah turned inside Liam Ridgewell before squaring the ball across the box to Berbatov, whose first time shot flew past Foster.
Lukaku needed only three minutes of the second period to bring West Brom on level terms. Marc-Antoine Fortune spread the ball out wide to Billy Jones, who skipped past Sidwell before crossing invitingly for Lukaku who made no mistake from close range.
The home side were revitalised but after 57 minutes Fulham regained the lead against the run of play through Kacaniklic’s third goal of the season.