Goals had been in short supply for both sides this season, and it was easy to see why as chances were few and far between throughout.
Phillipe Senderos was lucky not to concede a penalty for the home side on 16 minutes when he appeared to foul Stephen Ireland on the byeline.
Sascha Reither cleared a Robert Huth header off the goal line from a corner - the only effort on target in the half.
Fulham also had a penalty appeal turned down when Bryan Ruiz tumbled theatrically – but neither side really deserved to lead at that point.
The introduction of Bent for an injured Berbatov gave Fulham an outlet, but the striker’s goal came from his – and Fulham’s - first clear chance
Pre-match: Darren Bent is left on the Fulham bench as Bryan Ruiz and Damian Duff return. Stoke drop Charlie Adam and bring Matthew Etherington back into their starting line-up.
16’ – PENALTY APPEAL: Senderos certainly seems to bring down Ireland in the Fulham box, but the referee waves the claim away. A real let-off for Fulham, there.
29’- CHANCE: Huth has a looping header on target from an Etherington corner – but Sascha Reither nods the ball off the Fulham goal line.
45’ – PENALTY APPEAL: Ruiz goes down in the Stoke box, but his tumble is just a little too theatrical for the ref. Good decision.
64’ – SUBSTITUTION: Bent replaces Berbatov, who was injured by a poor challenge from Glenn Whelan. The Irishman received a booking for his trouble.
82’ – GOAL (Fulham 1-0 Stoke City): Kasami breaks forward and scuffs his shot, which cannons off a Stoke defender to Bent. The burly striker coolly wrong-foots Huth and Begovic before tucking the ball away.
90+3’ CHANCE: Kasami gets to the byeline and crosses for Bent, who tries to dummy Amorebieta – but he can’t quite dig the ball out from his feet and his effort is tame.
TALKING POINT: Much-travelled striker Bent does it again – making his 250th Premier League appearance for his 6th different side, Darren Bent did what he does best with an excellent finish to take the points for Fulham. He relieves the pressure on his manager Martin Jol – but for how long? In truth, neither team impressed.
Fulham have now won five of their six Premier League home games against Stoke, including the last four in a row at Craven Cottage.
The Cottagers had only their second clean sheet in 19 home games.
Stoke now have the lowest number of goals scored in the Premier League this season – they’ve netted just four times.
MAN OF THE MATCH:
PAJTIM KASAMI – Fulham: The Swiss midfielder started in an unfamiliar wide position, but his foraging runs and energetic pressuring of the opposition stood out in an otherwise average Fulham performance.
FULHAM – Stockdale 6; Riether 7, Senderos 5, Amorebieta 5, Hangeland 5; Sidwell 6, Duff 6, Kasami 8, Karagounis 5; Ruiz 5, Berbatov 6. Subs: Richardson 5, Boateng 6, Bent 7.
STOKE CITY – Begovic 6; Cameron 6, Huth 7, Shawcross 6, Pieters 5; N'Zonzi 5, Wilson 5, Ireland 6; Walters 5, Arnautovic7, Etherington 6. Subs: Whelan 4, Assaidi 6, Crouch 5.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Darren Bent
- Robert Huth
- Bryan Ruiz