x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Dashing Doyle breaks home duck for Wolves

Kevin Doyle's first goal for Wolves gave the hosts their first home league victory of the season yesterday as they beat Fulham 2-1.

WOLVERHAMPTON // Kevin Doyle's first goal for Wolves gave the hosts their first home league victory of the season yesterday as they beat Fulham 2-1. Doyle scored a header in the 18th minute to help his team go ahead before David Edwards doubled the advantage just after half-time as he finished off a move he had started. Danny Murphy's penalty midway through the second half gave disappointing Fulham hope they barely deserved.

The Cottagers could have no excuses for their lacklustre performance as manager Roy Hodgson had rested 10 of the starting line-up from the midweek Europa League draw with CSKA Sofia. Both sides gave the ball away far too often in an uneventful opening 15 minutes but it all changed in the 18th minute when Doyle, a £6.5 million (Dh38.8m) summer signing from Reading, struck. The Republic of Ireland international had looked the liveliest player on the pitch so it was no surprise he reacted quickest to Christophe Berra's flick-on from Greg Halford's throw to nod past Mark Schwarzer from close range.

Fulham were so poor in the first half they failed to register a single shot, but Wolves did not have the same problem and added a second goal five minutes after the interval. Andrew Johnson's aimless header in the centre circle was picked up by Edwards who released Andy Keogh through the inside-right channel. The midfielder continued his run forward and when Keogh cut the ball back to the penalty spot Edwards' sweetly struck first-time strike gave Schwarzer no chance.

Fulham finally recorded their first shot in the 54th minute when Damien Duff diverted the ball straight into Wayne Hennessey's arms. But Fulham were handed a lifeline when referee Kevin Friend, on his Premier League debut, ruled Michael Mancienne had hauled Bobby Zamora to the floor when contesting Johnson's cross. Murphy rolled home the penalty in the 66th minute, but it was not enough. Wolves manager Mick McCarthy praised his side's determination.

"We won't win anything if we don't work hard," he said. "I thought it was a really good performance. There have to be a lot of good performances for us to have won that game but I thought Christophe [Berra] was a difference class," he added. "In the last 10 minutes when they were throwing balls into the box he headed everything." Hodgson, the Fulham manager, said: "We left it late to start playing the football we should be playing. All credit to Wolves, their pressurising and controlled aggression made life difficult."

* PA Sport