Rampant Stoke relegate sorry Fulham
3rd May 2014 3pm
Attendance: 27, 429
Stoke City relegated sorry Fulham with a rampant home performance.
Goals from Peter Odemwingie, Marko Arnautovic, Oussama Assaidi and Jonathan Walters was enough for Stoke to see off a below par performance and see the London outfit drop into the second tier of English football.
Mark Hughes was forced into one change for the Potters final home game of the season as Erik Pieters came in for the suspended Ryan Shawcross, whilst Peter Crouch moved to the bench as Oussama Assaidi was given a starting position in what could be his last home performance for the Potters as his loan ends at the end of the season.
Felix Magath made changes from Fulham`s 2-2 draw against Hull as Sascha Riether, Fernando Amorebieta and Hugo Rodallega all made away as Dan Burn, Darren Bent and Kieran Richardson came in for the Cottagers.
Stoke were rampant from the first whistle, hurry and hassling a dejected Fulham from the outfit.
The Potters should have taken the lead after three minutes but Assaidi blazed over after a clever cut back from Steven N`Zonzi.
Stoke continued to press and Stockdale was called into action after Ireland took advantage of a Diarra mistake but the goalkeeper was more of a match for the Irishman`s close range effort.
Stockdale was called into action again in a busy first half for the keeper after Assaidi found his range with a pile driver but the stopper kept the scores level once again.
The Potters finally broke the deadlock as Marko Arnautovic found space on the right and managed to beat John Arne Riise easily before pulling back for Stephen Ireland, who beat the keeper but Dan Burn managed to stop his effort with a diving challenge, only for the ball to cannon off the bar and land at Odemwingie`s feet who tapped home inside the penalty area.
The goal coupled with other results going against Fulham meant that as it stood Fulham were relegated.
If it was possible, it nearly got worse for Fulham moments later as Arnautovic smashed a curling effort at goal only for Stockdale to once again keep the score to a minimum.
The second half didn`t hamper a fluent Potters attacking display and the Potters soon doubled their lead with a classic counter attacking goal which had everything from pace, guile and composure as Odemwingie turned provider as he raced down the left with real purpose and squared the ball to an unmarked Arnautovic who coolly slotted the ball into the roof of the net to double the Potters lead.
Assaidi, who looked back to full fitness, was constant nuisances down the Potters left and was unlucky not get on the score sheet after another effort was saved by the brave Stockdale.
Fulham looked deject of confidence and an real idea or threat but managed to briefly breach the Potters defence, only for Darren Bent to scuff his effort in the penalty, which allowed the Potters to set off on another swift counter attack, which this time saw the impressive Arnautovic turn provider as he squared to Assaidi to make it three.
It would be the Moroccan`s final action of the game as he was later substituted for the outgoing Matthew Etherington, who was given an arousing standing ovation as he put on a Stoke shirt at the Britannia Stadium for the final time.
Fulham finally managed to create an opportunity which was duly finished off by Kieran Richardson, who was one of the only Fulham players who came out of the game with any credibility.
Fulham`s hope of a miraculous comeback was extinguished almost immediately after the Potters wrapped up all three points with another counter attack breakaway goal as substitute Charlie Adam found fellow sub Joanthan Walters with a well weighted pass, and the Irishman beat Fulham`s offside trap before racing away and sliding home to relegate sorry Fulham.