Well that wasn't bad, was it? With half the tabloid press paying close attention to supposed 'in-team fighting' and the other half seemingly not bothered by a West London derby, Martin Jol and his side set about sculpturing a positive headline to grace the sports pages tomorrow morning and it couldn't have been done in a more emphatic fashion. Neil Warnock has been left humiliated and Jol has been left vindicated - with six goals thrown into the mix.
As my Dad quite wondrously put it after a series of condemning texts about Jol's tutorship - 'crisis - what crisis?'
The fun started early for the Whites, with Andy Johnson opening the scoring within two minutes of the kick off. Fulham clearly had a tempo to set and when Moussa Dembele drove a shot at Paddy Kenny, the goalkeeper could only parry it and Johnson had one of the simpler tasks he had ever been faced with in tapping the ball home. It was the first time the Cottagers had taken the lead in a Premier League game yet this season.
Not long afterwards, Steve Sidwell seemed intent on labelling the match 'a feisty affair' after picking up a yellow card for fouling the former Jol employee Adel Taarabt. For all the admiration laid the way of Taarabt over the past few days from our manager's camp, the winger was pretty ineffectual in a game where he, and his team, saw little of the ball.
QPR came into the game, albeit a little, over the next few minutes but they never got close to testing Schwarzer, who was himself taking a day off goal kick duty. Chris Baird was the man taking his kicks today and had to do so after Joey Barton shot wide. He's a man of great controversy but the former Newcastle United midfielder was wholly lackluster in South West London's heat.
As Warnock's men began to settle, Danny Murphy pulled the plug on their confidence, firing home a penalty with unnerving accuracy - hitting the top left corner of the net. Yet again it was Johnson causing the problems, his pace and awareness exposing a boundless list of frailties in Paddy Kenny's defence. Yet, it was the goalkeeper himself who conceded the spot kick. Thee 33 year old brought down Johnson just inside the area and Murphy stepped up with expectant confidence.
With a 2-0 lead behind them, Fulham began to push forward with consistency, and the atmosphere reflected the White's attacking potency. In a hazy few minutes of ceaseless pressure, Zamora, Sidwell and Dempsey all went close.
Queens Park Rangers could barely get ahold of the ball with the fine possession qualities of a midfield boasting Dembele, Sidwell, Murphy and Dempsey. Finally it seemed Jol had found the right mix and Dembele in particular offered yet another scintillating display which fused pure enthusiasm and labouring with a certain amount of elegance and panache. For the price of £5.5 million, the Belgian is proving to be one of the most astute signings in our Premier League life.
It was then down to Johnson to steal the plaudits yet again, as a tap in from close range sent the Cottagers into half time with a 3-0 lead. Such was Fulham's dominance there was a feel of bewilderment among the home fans and Neil Warnock's half time substitutions confirmed that there were similar reservations in the away changing room.
Derry and Taarabt came off over the break and Tommy Smith and DJ Campbell replaced them. While the changes themselves made little impact, it was clear that QPR had been rejuvenated over the 15 minute time out and they put Schwarzer's defence under some respectable pressure early on.
Danny Murphy and Steve Sidwell were particularly dogged in holding back any kind of resistance.
And their ethics almost paid off immediately as Bobby Zamora forced a fine save from Kenny while Sidwell blasted narrowly over from 30 yards. The close shaves were a sign of what was to come, though, and Andy Johnson affirmed both his and Fulham's dominance of the game, as the number eight claimed his hat trick. He struck sweetly from the right hand side of the area and the 4-0 lead it gave Fulham was nothing if not deserved.
Clint Dempsey then decided not to hang around and got himself on the score sheet. From 12 yards out the American added yet more misery to Queens Park Ranger's afternoon and the intention was still there to score some more. Fulham were clearly thriving in the heat and the outlandishness of the October temperature somewhat echoed the extravagance of the team;s performance. The whites were brimming with confidence and it was a pleasure to see.
Bobby Zamora then took his share of the spoils, with what was to be the games final flourish. Like a true English centre forward, he powerfully rolled the ball home from the edge of the area past a now beleaguered Paddy Kenny. The scoring was over but there was still time to create. Substitute Bryan Ruiz almost got his first goal for his new club, firing just wide, and Dempsey had a dipping shot saved.
Oh, if only we could have scored seven.