Birmingham City 0 - 2 Fulham

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 15: Managers Alex McLeish of Birmingham City and Mark Hughes of Fulham look on during the Barclays Premier League match between Birmingham City and Fulham at St. Andrews on May 15, 2011 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

You wait ages for a bus, and then two come along at once. The same can, thankfully, be said of Fulham's ever improving away form as the travelling fans at St Andrews left by far the happier, with a 2-0 victory to take home to London.

A well drilled and uncharacteristically dominant away display from the whites, however, was somewhat undermined by a string of yellow cards; 5 in total.

While doubts still linger, then, about the potential for European football at the Cottage next season, there was no doubt in who started the stronger in the Midlands. Four minutes had yet to be reached on the referee's stopwatch when Brede Hangeland got on the end of a wonderful Jonathan Greening cross with a fine header. 

And, if Greening's inclusion was a surprise to the Fulham fans, his performance was even more so. The midfielder achieved a rare place in the starting eleven and rewarded Mark Hughes' faith in him with an exhibition of the highest calibre; his display more than likely going a long way to guaranteeing another year by the banks of the Thames.

A string of more-than-decent chances followed the opening goal for Fulham, Clint Dempsey spurring most of them. Were it not for the lacklustre finishing, the away side could have easily found themselves entering the half time break with a lead that even the strongest of sides would have had trouble clawing back.

Birmingham offered so little potency and defended so wearily that Mark Schwarzer may as well have been rendered obsolete while Fulham's front line could have easily been replaced with that of the youth teams and, given the amount of opportunities handed to Zamora and co on a plate, gone on to score many more. 

However, such fortunes weren't forthcoming in the first half and Mark Hughes' men would have been more-than-wary of the intent that Birmingham would surely show in the second half as relegation began to play on the home sides' minds.

Any inspirational team talk that McLeish may have given, though, clearly didn't effect the players as Birmingham began the second half in much the same form of the first.

No wonder then that, parallel to the opening half of the game, Fulham got an early goal. Again, before 4 minutes had been played, Brede Hangeland doubled both his own, and Fulham's tally. Some awkward Birmingham defending gave the Norwegian the perfect opportunity to further concern Blue's boss Alex McLeish. A header on the line from Bobby Zamora was poorly cleared and Hangeland fired the ball back towards the goal on the volley, this time with no one to stop it.

Strangely, not long afterwards, Hughes' men took it upon themselves to derail their hopes of European football next season via the Fair Play League thanks to a flurry of yellows. A card for striker Andy Johnson, who was having a splendid match, came first, followed by cautions for Salcido, Murphy, Gudjohnsen and Dempsey.

Despite the distressing indiscipline, the away side saw out the game with unbelievable ease causing some rapturous 'oles' from the travelling faithful as Fulham's finest passing game came to the fore.

Gladly, the unnecessary cards that were picked up today at St. Andrews may well be unimportant, with the news that Spurs won 2-0 away at Liverpool, thus making the potential for European football next year that little bit greater.

Quite the Sunday then.

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