Reading 0 Fulham 2

Last updated : 12 April 2008 By Footymad Previewer
Fulham kept their Premier League survival hopes alive with a deserved win against a Reading side that are themselves slipping deeper into trouble as the season draws to a close.

Thirteen minutes into this tense relegation battle a torrential downpour subsided, to be replaced by sunshine and a rainbow over the ground.

The pot of gold at the end turned out to be Fulham's - as this was their first away win in a Premier League record 34 games.

The Londoners still face a tough battle to get clear of the bottom three, but without this win relegation would have been almost a certainty.

The opening goal came after 24 minutes. Brede Hangeland fed the ball forward to David Healy, who quickly sent Simon Davies clear down the left wing.

His early cross into the goalmouth saw Fulham skipper Brian McBride slide the ball into the net for only his third goal of a season seriously affected by injury.

In stoppage time at the end, substitute Erik Nevland made the game safe with a second Fulham goal.

Reading's best and almost only chance fell to young Irish striker Shane Long, who had replaced Dave Kitson as Kevin Doyle's strike partner.

Four minutes before half-time, John Oster sent a cross into the goalmouth and Doyle jumped highest, but steered his firm header wide of Kasey Keller's upright.

Sixteen minutes after the interval, McBride was desperately unlucky not to add a second with an effort that thudded against the Reading crossbar before rebounding clear.

Twenty minutes from time, Hangeland also thumped a header against the bar.

Amazingly, Fulham hit the woodwork for a third time three minutes later when, on this occasion, Jimmy Bullard sent a free-kick crashing against the left-hand upright.

Reading boss Steve Coppell tried to shake things up on the hour with two substitutions.

Oster was replaced by Glen Little, who was making his first appearance since being injured against Tottenham on April 1 last year, while Kitson also came on to replace Long in attack.

Neither was involved when Reading had a half chance midway through the half with Andre Bikey heading Liam Rosenior's cross wide, while at the other end McBride fired a corner high over the Reading bar.

At the final whistle most of the Reading crowd had left the ground, but virtually every Fulham supporter had stayed behind to cheer their team after a brave effort to avoid what might still be relegation to the Championship.