Finally, the wise elders of Fulham have something, a straw to clutch at when they go over the mess of this season.
It has been awful, as they well know, but now they can at least avoid the sheer horror that comes with comparisons to Derby County.
For a time, that looked like it might be the final indignity of this brief trip to the Premier League, that Fulham would somehow log fewer than the three points Derby managed in away fixtures in their season of the damned 11 years ago.
A horrible record to have, that one. Really grubby. But for Fulham the scare has passed, with this win jumping them from two points through 17 games to five from 18.
The visitors took the lead through Aleksandar Mitrovic’s coolly-taken penalty early in the second half
Bournemouth’s top scorer Callum Wilson goes hunting for the ball early on
Winger Ryan Babel goes airborne as Fulham take a positive approach on the south coast
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND LEAGUE TABLE
BOURNEMOUTH:: Boruc 7; Stanislas 6 (Simpson 23, 5), Mepham 6 (Mousset 76), S Cook 7.5, Ake 6.5; Brooks 6.5, Gosling 6, Lerma 6.5, Fraser 7; King 5.5 (Solanke 61, 6), Wilson 5.5. Subs: Ofoborh, Begovic, Surridge, Hyndman.GOALS:
BOOKINGS: S Cook
MANAGER: Eddie Howe 6
SUBS NOT USED: Ofoborh, Begovic, Surridge, Hyndman.
FULHAM: Rico 8; Odoi 6.5, Le Marchand 6.5, Ream 6, Bryan 6; Chambers 6.5, Anguissa 6; Sessegnon 7, Seri 6 (Christie 79), Babel 6.5 (Ayite 85); Mitrovic 7.
GOALS: Mitrovic 53
BOOKINGS: Chambers, Mitrovic
MANAGER: Scott Parker 7
SUBS NOT USED: Kebano, Schurrle, Nordtveit, Ramirez, Elliott.
REFEREE: David Coote 6
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A small win in the scheme of a relegation season, but plenty of face saved, courtesy of Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty eight minutes into the second half.
With it, Scott Parker can maybe feel a little more comfortable about his application to be the next permanent manager.
He had a tough start with hard fixtures and five straight losses, but with back-to-back wins against Everton and Bournemouth he can rightly point to progress being made. The players have spoken out strongly in his favour and the recent performances suggest they are not hollow words.
Boss Eddie Howe led the Cherries to promotion from League One six years ago to the day
For Eddie Howe, more head scratching on the occasion of his 500th game in management.
His side have followed an odd pattern this season and just as a corner appeared to be turned in the thrashing of Brighton last weekend, they go and walk plum into another doorframe.
Consistency has been strangely lacking and the sense remains that this squad clocked off some time ago.
Junior Stanislas, a late addition to the starting XI in place of Adam Smith, was forced off with injury after 23 minutes
Sergio Rico is alert to deny Callum Wilson a chance on goal during an assured performance
This one looked bad for Bournemouth even before kick-off. Adam Smith was injured while warming up, starting a chain of reshuffles at right back.
That initially saw Junior Stanislas drafted up from the bench to fill the spot before he himself left the pitch on 23 minutes after hurting his right knee taking a free-kick.
On came Jack Simpson and Steve Cook shuffled over to full-back, leaving four centre-halves in Howe’s backline.
Despite the imbalance to their defence, it was still Bournemouth who shaded the first half. In the opening 20 minutes Callum Wilson missed a pair of chances, Joshua King skied a clear opportunity from seven yards and Sergio Rico saved from Ryan Fraser at the end of a 50-yard run. Each of them, particularly King’s, was makeable.
Bournemouth had numerous first-half opportunities, with Norwegian striker Joshua King blasting over from close range
Promising young winger Ryan Sessegnon charges down the flank as Fulham push for another
For a while, Fulham appeared to be heading for the inevitable, but from quarter of an hour in they were able to gain a grip in midfield and from there they started to create.
In one move, Callum Chambers had a header cleared off the line by Nathan Ake and in the same passage of play Mitrovic volleyed over the bar. Closer still was a glanced header from Dens Odoi off Ryan Babel’s corner that drew an excellent save from Artur Boruc.
At 39, Artur Boruc showed excellent reflexes to keep out defender Denis Odoi’s header from a corner
The penalty ended a run of nine Premier League games without a goal for the Serbian Mitrovic
Their breakthrough came at the start of the second half when Simpson stuck out a leg and quite carelessly tripped Mitrovic on his way across the area.
An unnecessary challenge in the position, really. David Coote gave the penalty, Mitrovic went left, Boruc went right.
Rico smothered Fraser on Bournemouth’s first serious response to the goal, and then he blocked Wilson with the next.
Fulham put up a stern fight despite having already been relegated from the Premier League
Sergio Rico proves equal to another Cherries effort as the visitors close in on a rare clean sheet