As the fifth goal went in the Wolves back four stood aghast, bedraggled, pointing, shrugging, begging: who are these people? And why are they torturing us?
There were, of course, no answers, just as there had been no defending. Fulham had simply been very, very good. 5-0 flattered Wolves.
For a good time it felt like one of those games Fulham dominate then let slip for lack of goals. A curiously one-sided first half remained level for far too long, Pavel Pogrebnyak (who else?) breaking the deadlock with a diving header inside the six yard box from a corner. It was a McBride like goal, but a huge assist for the defenders who opted to leave him so alone. Still, three games, three goals for our burly number seven.
He got another on the verge of half-time, a terrible lapse from Wolves seeing Fulham break at speed, Pog-AJ-Pog-goal, a lovely low cross converted crisply and lethally… made Jol’s half-time team-talk that bit easier and the points all but safe. Some finish. Some player.
The second half was a procession. I suggested that Wolves might, for goal-difference purposes, have been better off shutting up shop, but Toby reasoned that inviting pressure onto this defence would surely not be a good idea. Indeed not, but they suffered badly for an inability to fulfill basic defensive activities, and whatever Mick McCarthy’s shortcomings, surely he would never have sent out a team to lie down like this?
Pogrebnyak scored again, AJ (what a game he had) forcing a save, Pogrebnyak reacting well to the rebound and stabbing home for the club’s fourth hat-trick of the season (how about that, eh?). Terrific stuff, enough to break through the afternoon’s terrible weather and warm the hearts and minds of all present. He’ll be that bit more expensive if we try to buy him in the summer now.
Then Clint Dempsey joined in, a fantastic 1-2 to finish things off. First he jostled with Ronald Zubar as Danny Murphy prepared to take a free-kick. Dempsey and Murphy knew exactly what was going on, Zubar didn’t, and the Captain’s pass found the top scorer’s devilish run and Dempsey scored again. Then – THEN – came something even better, a 20+ pass wonder-move conducted by new-signing Diarra, culminating with Dempsey firing high inside Wayne Hennessy’s near post for a face in the mud thrashing-sealer.
Who can doubt Jol’s Fulham now? Who dares doubt a machine like this? Who has seen a better Fulham side?