Scott Parker, Steve Sidwell and Darren Bent of Fulham react as their side concedes a second goal

Fulham have been relegated with a whimper after being battered 4-1 by Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
Goals from Peter Odemwingie, Marko Arnautovic and Oussama Assaidi hammered the final nails into Fulham’s relegation coffin.
An 80th minute consolation from Kieron Richardson was not enough as the Cottagers conceded their 83rd goal of the season to Jonathan Walters who put their survival hopes to bed just two minutes later.
Stoke took the lead in the 39th minute when Arnautovic plucked the ball out from over his shoulder before turning Jon Arne Riise on the by-line where he laid the ball back to Stephen Ireland. The midfielder’s shot was blocked up into the air by a diving Jonny Heitinga only for the ball to bounce where Odemwingie could tap home from a yard out.
The second half saw Arnautovic finish past a helpless David Stockdale as he was played in by Odemwingie before Assaidi put the game beyond Fulham with a cool finish into the far post on 73 muinutes.
Richardson replied seven minutes later with a well struck volley past Begovic’s near post but just two more minutes past before Stoke broke after a Charlie Adam through ball found Walters who made no mistake with the finish.
Stoke have equalled their record points haul in aPremier League season with this result while Fulham have been relegated along with Cardiff today as Sunderland beat Man Utd to steer themselves clear.

3’ – WARNING SIGNS – Nzonzi bursts into the box with the ball at his feet and cuts the ball back from the byline to Assaidi at the far post who wraps his foot round the ball but gets too much on it as it balloons over the crossbar.
39’ – GOAL STOKE – Arnautovic plucks the ball from a long ball over his shoulder before turning Riise at the byline and laying to Ireland. His shot is blocked into the air by Heitinga and Odemwingie was on hand to side-foot it home from a yard out.
41’ – RATTLED – Fulham looking shaky as Arnautovic dribbles past Richardson and then Riise with ease from the right before letting fly with his left foot only for Stockdale to dive to his right and parry the ball clear.
54’ – HOPES FADING – Dejagah tripped over his own feet at one end allowing Pieters to play in Odemwingie down the line. He squared for Arnautovic who smashed the ball past the goalkeeper for their second.
73’ – THAT’S GAME – Assaidi bent the ball round Stockdale and into the corner of the goal to seemingly put the game beyond Fulham’s reach.
80’ – THERE IS HOPE – Fulham pull one back as the ball bounces off Bent at the far post and drops to Richardson who volleys home on his right foot into the near post.
82’ – HOPES DASHED – Adam plays in Walters through the middle who bears down on goal under no pressure and slots past Stockdale into the corner.

Fulham have been relegated for the first time in 20 years since they dropped into the fourth tier of English football in the 1993/94 season
This was Stoke’s biggest home win since March 2011 when they beat Newcastle 4-0
Fulham have lost 24 league games this season – their worst in any division since losing 26 in the 1985/86 season.
The home side has won the last seven times these teams have met in the Premier League
Stoke have accumulated the equal most points ever mustered in a Premier League season with a game to spare to add to the 47 they already have.

Did Fulham deserve to stay up on this performance? The Cottagers needed a result today to keep their slim survival hopes alive while their rivals also faced tough away fixtures. Mustering just two shots on target and enjoying only 36% possession all match shows they didn’t show enough ambition to get a result and were duly beaten by a very accomplished Stoke side. It was a deserved and fatal defeat in the end.

Peter Odemwingie – The forward was played as a lone striker today and ran tirelessly all match for his team. He showed great anticipation to score his goal while laying on another just after half time with an unselfish square pass for Arnautovic. An all-round excellent performance producing quality while working extremely hard.

STOKE: Begovic 7, Pieters 7, Muniesa 7, Wilson 7, Cameron 7, Arnautovic 8, Nzonzi 7, Whelan 7, Assaidi 8; Ireland 7, Odemwingie 9.
Subs: Adam 6, Walters 7.
FULHAM: Stockdale 7, Heitinga 6, Hangeland 5, Burn 4, Riise 3, Holtby 2, Parker 5, Sidwell 6, Diarra 5, Richardson 6, Bent 4.
Subs: Kasami 5, Mitroglou 4, Dejagah 7.

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