Fortune favours Swansea in Fulham win
Two deflected second-half goals by Jonjo Shelvey and Chico Flores gave Swansea City a 2-0 win against Fulham on Tuesday as Michael Laudrup's side gave themselves breathing space in the Premier League relegation battle.
Shelvey set Swansea on their way in the 61st minute with an effort that took two deflections on its way into the net, and Chico's near-post header came off Dimitar Berbatov to double the hosts' lead with quarter of an hour remaining.
The victory was a timely one for the hosts, ending a sequence of three straight Premier League defeats and eight top-flight matches without a win.
The Welsh outfit move provisionally six points clear of the relegation zone, while Fulham remain just one point above the danger zone after this, their third successive league loss.
Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen made 11 changes to his side following the weekend draw at third-tier Sheffield United in the FA Cup, and there were numerous changes to the Swansea side too.
After coming off the bench to score twice against Birmingham City in the Cup, Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony was rewarded with a starting slot and he almost got an early opener for the hosts, heading narrowly over from Wayne Routledge's cross.
Fulham came into the game and an unmarked Brede Hangeland headed over the bar from a wicked Kieran Richardson free-kick delivery before an Alexander Kacaniklic cross was headed goalwards by Ashkan Dejagah, only for Gerhard Tremmel to save.
Shelvey then saw a superb first-time curling effort from 25 yards come crashing back off the bar just before the interval, but it was the former Liverpool man who got the breakthrough shortly after the hour mark.
There was more than a touch of fortune about the goal, as Nathan Dyer teed up Shelvey, whose shot came off Steve Sidwell and then took a huge deflection off Hangeland before nestling in the back of the net.
Shelvey got the winner when the Swans won 2-1 at Craven Cottage in the reverse fixture in November and they made sure of the points against a flat Fulham side when Chico scored on 75 minutes.
The Spanish defender, who made headlines last week following a training ground bust-up with teammate Garry Monk, got his head to a Jonathan De Guzman free-kick, and this time the ball came off Berbatov to trump Maarten Stekelenburg.