Despite being a constant thorn in the side of Sir Alex Ferguson's team whenever they meet at Craven Cottage, Fulham couldn't live up to their giant-killer billing at Old Trafford and fell to defeat against a well-drilled yet Rooney-less Manchester United side.
Mark Hughes may well have been confident when entering the game having come off the back of a fine run of results that had pushed his London side up to within touching distance of the top ten. And Hughes reflected his confidence in his team line up, picking Zamora, Dembélé, Dempsey and Kakuta in the first eleven.
United lined up strongly with Paul Scholes returning from suspension and Chris Smalling making a welcomed start against his former club.
Things started positively for the Whites, eradicating any fears of an away day inferiority complex entering the players' minds. Dembélé tested home goalkeeper Tomasz Kusczak early on while Bobby Zamora caused his former teammate Smalling all sorts of problems before firing wide of the post.
However, United didn't take too kindly to the early pressure exerted by Fulham and responded with a finely taken goal on 12 minutes, albeit dubiously officiated. A clever foray of Manchester United passes on the edge of the area made room for the unquestionably offside Dimitar Berbatov who placed his shot astutely beyond the arm of Mark Schwarzer.
And Fergusons' men weren't happy to settle for a solitary goal either, as winger Antonio Valencia doubled his sides tally just after the half hour mark. Australian 'keeper Mark Schwarzer got caught in no-mans' land to the right of his area and following an unfortunate deflection off Aaron Hughes, the ball arrived at the forehead of ex-Wigan star Valencia who would have done well to have missed.
Clint Dempsey's delightful run at goal perhaps spelled fortune in a braver second half for the Cottagers, but his exploits came to nothing and it wasn't long before Mark Schwarzer was being tested once again. Valencia tried out the veterans handling while Gibson fired high and wide.
Former Chelsea stalwart Eidur Gudjohnsen entered the fray and had the away fans celebrating when his long range effort rippled the net. However, to the annoyance of the travelling whites, his shot had merely hit the back netting after narrowly curling past the post an hour into the tie.
Bobby Zamora blazed a free-kick wide while Chris Baird squandered a fine opportunity, volleying over Kusczak's net after a brilliant team move. Despite his antics at the Britannia stadium earlier in the season, there are no calls for 'Bairdinho' to be moved to the front line just yet.
Mark Schwarzer denied a couple of late United attacks but the hosts walked away with 3 points that will have all but sealed the title for them.
Hodgson's newly inherited West Brom side overtook Mark Hughes' men as the final Premier League week approaches, but, Hughes should be confident with Wolves coming up next and a home tie against Bolton Wanderers on the horizon.
Defeat aside, the Cottagers can be considered safe from relegation and preparations for next season are more than likely already underway.