Dimitar Berbatov's fifth goal of the season helped Fulham climb out of the Premier League drop zone with a victory over fellow strugglers West Ham.

The Hammers had taken the lead when Mohamed Diame slotted home from a long ball but Steve Sidwell equalised with a header from a corner.

West Ham captain Kevin Nolan was sent off just before half-time for an off-the-ball kick at Fernando Amorebieta.

And Fulham made the extra man count when Bulgarian Berbatov tapped home.

Fulham 2-1 West Ham: Sam Allardyce calls Kevin Nolan 'irresponsible'

New Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen used the festive period to beef up his backroom staff with the appointments of Alan Curbishley as technical director and Ray Wilkins as assistant head coach.

However, it was the return to fitness of striker Berbatov, 32, who had not played since the Cottagers' 4-1 defeat at Everton on 14 December because of a groin problem, which could prove a more timely boost for Meulensteen.

Berbatov was one of seven changes the Dutchman made from the team thrashed 6-0 away to Hull City while West Ham also rotated with six different players from the side which drew 3-3 with West Brom.

It was the Hammers, without a league win since a 3-0 success over Fulham at Upton Park at the end of November, who took the lead after a positive start.

A long kick up field from goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen bounced on the edge of the Fulham area and was controlled by Diame who planted a low shot on the turn into the corner of the net.

Fulham eventually found some rhythm and Bebatov registered their first meaningful effort on goal with an acrobatic effort while Amorebieta saw his goal-bound header from a corner cleared off the line by West Ham striker Modibo Maiga.

Analysis

"West Ham shot themselves in the foot when Kevin Nolan got himself sent off after a fairly even first half and that proved the turning point.

"It was Nolan's irresponsible sending off for an off-the-ball incident which changed the course of the game.

"Fulham made use of the extra man and grabbed a deserved winner through Dimitar Berbatov which lifts them out of the relegation zone. West Ham, though, are in a whole heap of trouble."

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce believes the key to survival for his side will be the return of the club's injured players but they were dealt a blow on the half-hour mark when Mark Noble went down clutching his leg and was replaced by Razvan Rat.

West Ham's depleted defence - soon to be bolstered by the arrival of Everton defender Johnny Heitinga - had looked suspect from set-pieces throughout the first half, so it came as little surprise when Fulham equalised from a corner.

Damien Duff's flag kick picked out the run of Sidwell, who escaped the attentions of George McCartney and planted a header past Jaaskelainen.

It got worse for Allardyce's side on the stroke of half-time when Nolan was shown a straight red card for a needless off-the-ball kick at Amorebieta which proved to be the turning point in the game.

Nolan had only recently returned from suspension having been sent off in West Ham's 4-1 defeat at Liverpool.

Fulham signalled their intent to make the extra man count after the break and John Arne Riise brought a reaction save out of Jaaskelainen at his near post.

Adel Taarabt missed a great chance to put Fulham ahead when his initial header was saved by Jaaskelainen but could only strike the rebound back across goal.

Fulham 2-1 West Ham: Rene Meulensteen pleased with festive form

Fulham's persistence eventually paid off in the 66th minute when Alexander Kacaniklic's low cross from the left was steered into the path of Berbatov by Scott Parker which left the experienced former Manchester United striker with a simple tap-in.

West Ham threw on striker Carlton Cole as they attempted to get back into the contest but Fulham's defence stood firm.

Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen: "The key for us was getting the points and moving out of the bottom three. It doesn't mean we've turned a corner but we're looking confident.

"We all know that when you're in our position, home games are very important. I thought we played well.

"We deserved the equaliser and the sending off helped us because you get more space and more possession. At 2-1 they obviously thought they still had a chance and put balls into the mixer but we dealt well with it."

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce: "I am disappointed because we went down to 10 men and that was a turning point.

"Our captain was irresponsible, not just for today but for the future because he is suspended. He's let everyone down and himself.

"Kevin is an experienced player and I'm surprised because he had a silly challenge at Liverpool. That's two in the space of the month and it's something I will not allow to happen."

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Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Fulham

  • 13 Stockdale
  • 27 Riether
  • 03 Riise
  • 07 Sidwell
  • 04 Senderos
  • 35 Amorebieta Booked
  • 16 Duff (Kasami - 78' )
  • 28 Parker
  • 09 Berbatov Booked
  • 19 Taarabt (Bent - 69' )
  • 15 Richardson (Kacaniklic - 56' )

Substitutes

  • 08 Kasami
  • 11 Kacaniklic
  • 18 Hughes
  • 24 Dejagah
  • 39 Bent
  • 40 Bettinelli
  • 45 Dembele

West Ham United

  • 22 Jääskeläinen
  • 20 Demel Booked
  • 03 McCartney
  • 16 Noble (Rat - 32' Booked )
  • 17 O'Brien
  • 18 Diarra
  • 10 Collison
  • 21 Diamé (Downing - 56' )
  • 11 Maiga (Cole - 69' )
  • 04 Nolan Dismissed
  • 14 Taylor

Substitutes

  • 07 Jarvis
  • 08 Rat
  • 13 Adrián
  • 23 Downing
  • 24 Cole
  • 26 Cole
  • 27 Potts
Ref: Mark Clattenburg
Att: 25,335

Match Stats

Shots

30 11

On target

11 3

Corners

12 4

Fouls

6 5

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Fulham 2, West Ham United 1.

90:00 +4:05 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Fulham 2, West Ham United 1.

90:00 +3:54

Attempt missed. Pajtim Kasami (Fulham) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Sascha Riether.

90:00 +3:12

Attempt missed. Guy Demel (West Ham United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Stewart Downing following a corner.

90:00 +3:10

Attempt missed. Stewart Downing (West Ham United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

90:00 +2:43

Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Dimitar Berbatov.

90:00 +2:41

Attempt blocked. Matthew Taylor (West Ham United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

90:00 +2:03

Foul by Philippe Senderos (Fulham).

90:00 +2:03

George McCartney (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +0:30

Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Steve Sidwell.

90:00 +0:18

Attempt blocked. Stewart Downing (West Ham United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Alou Diarra.

88:42

Attempt missed. Alexander Kacaniklic (Fulham) left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Sascha Riether following a corner.

88:22

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Guy Demel.

87:34

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Jussi Jääskeläinen.

86:57

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Alou Diarra.

77:17 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Fulham. Pajtim Kasami replaces Damien Duff.

76:36

Attempt missed. Alou Diarra (West Ham United) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Matthew Taylor with a cross following a set piece situation.

75:55 Booking

Booking Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

75:51

Foul by Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham).

75:51

Carlton Cole (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

73:28

Attempt blocked. Damien Duff (Fulham) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Dimitar Berbatov.

70:33

Attempt saved. Darren Bent (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Dimitar Berbatov.

69:43

Foul by Damien Duff (Fulham).

69:43

Matthew Taylor (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

69:14 Booking

Booking Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

69:10

Foul by Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham).

69:10

Matthew Taylor (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

68:33 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, West Ham United. Carlton Cole replaces Modibo Maiga.

68:11 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Fulham. Darren Bent replaces Adel Taarabt.

67:37

Steve Sidwell (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

67:37

Foul by Alou Diarra (West Ham United).

65:24 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Fulham 2, West Ham United 1. Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Scott Parker.

65:22

Attempt missed. Scott Parker (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Alexander Kacaniklic.

64:57

Attempt saved. Steve Sidwell (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Adel Taarabt.

63:20

Attempt missed. Scott Parker (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Adel Taarabt following a corner.

62:53

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Razvan Rat.

62:51

Attempt blocked. John Arne Riise (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Scott Parker.

62:15 Booking

Booking Razvan Rat (West Ham United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

61:43

Damien Duff (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

61:43

Foul by Razvan Rat (West Ham United).

60:47

Attempt missed. Adel Taarabt (Fulham) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box misses to the left.

60:45

Attempt saved. Adel Taarabt (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Fernando Amorebieta.

60:04

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Joey O'Brien.

60:02

Attempt blocked. Steve Sidwell (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Dimitar Berbatov.

59:00

Foul by Adel Taarabt (Fulham).

59:00

George McCartney (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57:09

Attempt saved. Damien Duff (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

55:52 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Fulham. Alexander Kacaniklic replaces Kieran Richardson.

55:48 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, West Ham United. Stewart Downing replaces Mohamed Diamé.

52:15

Attempt missed. Damien Duff (Fulham) left footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Sascha Riether following a corner.

51:56

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Guy Demel.

51:52

Attempt blocked. Adel Taarabt (Fulham) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Scott Parker.

51:39

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Modibo Maiga.

48:11

Attempt saved. Scott Parker (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Adel Taarabt.

47:40

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Alou Diarra.

47:02

Attempt saved. John Arne Riise (Fulham) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kieran Richardson.

45:57

Offside, West Ham United. Guy Demel tries a through ball, but Modibo Maiga is caught offside.

45:00

Second Half begins Fulham 1, West Ham United 1.

45:00 +2:09 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Fulham 1, West Ham United 1.

44:58

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

44:26

Delay in match Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham) because of an injury.

43:35 Dismissal

Dismissal Kevin Nolan (West Ham United) is shown the red card for fighting.

43:30

Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:30

Foul by Kevin Nolan (West Ham United).

42:02

Offside, West Ham United. Razvan Rat tries a through ball, but Modibo Maiga is caught offside.

40:47

Attempt blocked. Modibo Maiga (West Ham United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Matthew Taylor.

39:49

Attempt blocked. Philippe Senderos (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Damien Duff with a cross.

39:20

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Alou Diarra.

39:18

Attempt blocked. Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

38:30

Adel Taarabt (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

38:30

Foul by Matthew Taylor (West Ham United).

38:08

Attempt blocked. Adel Taarabt (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by John Arne Riise.

36:56

Foul by Steve Sidwell (Fulham).

36:56

Matthew Taylor (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

33:00

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Alou Diarra.

32:56

Attempt blocked. Adel Taarabt (Fulham) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Damien Duff.

32:48

Attempt missed. Kieran Richardson (Fulham) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by John Arne Riise.

31:47 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Fulham 1, West Ham United 1. Steve Sidwell (Fulham) header from very close range to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Damien Duff with a cross following a corner.

31:31 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, West Ham United. Razvan Rat replaces Mark Noble because of an injury.

31:26

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

30:07

Delay in match Mark Noble (West Ham United) because of an injury.

29:47

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Mohamed Diamé.

27:32

Attempt missed. John Arne Riise (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is too high following a corner.

27:29

Attempt blocked. Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham) header from very close range is blocked. Assisted by Damien Duff with a cross.

26:56

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by George McCartney.

25:36

Attempt saved. Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by John Arne Riise with a cross.

24:26

Attempt saved. Adel Taarabt (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kieran Richardson.

22:37

Attempt saved. Kevin Nolan (West Ham United) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mohamed Diamé with a cross.

19:26

Offside, Fulham. Dimitar Berbatov tries a through ball, but Adel Taarabt is caught offside.

18:11

Offside, West Ham United. Mark Noble tries a through ball, but Modibo Maiga is caught offside.

16:36

Offside, West Ham United. Matthew Taylor tries a through ball, but Modibo Maiga is caught offside.

16:02

Attempt missed. John Arne Riise (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

15:21

Attempt blocked. Adel Taarabt (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Scott Parker.

14:15

Attempt blocked. Adel Taarabt (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

13:28

Scott Parker (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

13:28

Foul by Alou Diarra (West Ham United).

12:18

Attempt missed. Alou Diarra (West Ham United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Mark Noble with a cross following a corner.

11:45

Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Fernando Amorebieta.

7:41

Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by David Stockdale.

7:04

Offside, Fulham. Fernando Amorebieta tries a through ball, but Dimitar Berbatov is caught offside.

6:16 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Fulham 0, West Ham United 1. Mohamed Diamé (West Ham United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jussi Jääskeläinen following a set piece situation.

5:39

Offside, Fulham. Kieran Richardson tries a through ball, but Dimitar Berbatov is caught offside.

4:04

Attempt saved. Kevin Nolan (West Ham United) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Mohamed Diamé with a headed pass.

3:29

Offside, Fulham. Sascha Riether tries a through ball, but Dimitar Berbatov is caught offside.

0:06

Attempt missed. Modibo Maiga (West Ham United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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