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Jol gets vital final day win - Swansea 0-3 Fulham

Manager will be thankful after a dreadful run of results with Fulham now sitting pretty in 12th

Michael Steele

There is still an unequivocal need for a tidal wave of change at Fulham over this coming summer but, at the very least, we have left on a certain high.

Martin Jol and his charges were a few steps short of perfect here against Swansea City, balancing an overwhelming need to stay tight and drilled in defence with the requisite of attacking panache. Alex Kacaniklic provided the best of that offensive talent, picking holes in the home defence with the regularity of a player with twice his experience.

The Swede was superb and proved to be, by some incredible distance, our most effective player. He was the outlet of almost every attack we had; the majority of which were on the counter. For, while we overturned our tricky opponents quite substantially on paper, the unfolding match was quite different.

Swansea controlled possession and dictated the play with their trademark short, passing game. It of course has its admirers and its advantages, that style of play, but it doesn't come without flaws. The Welsh side were happy to sit in Fulham's half and work the ball around our area but in terms of true penetration they were found dreadfully lacking.

Michu was off colour and most of their shots off target. They were, simply, a shadow of their normal selves. Not that they will complain, after such a wonderful season.

If ever Jol travelled to a stadium in need of lackluster opposition, though, it was surely now. His job is probably still on the line in the eyes of the Fulham board - it's a fickle world, is football - but this victory will go a long way to strengthen his position at the club.

It will make Mohammed Al Fayed mull things over a little more and will certainly turn some disgruntled fans' attention from the removal of the boss to the overhaul of an ageing, weary and decrepit squad.

The likes of John Arne Riise and Phillipe Senderos may well see their first team exposure cut - not unfair actions on either count - while Mark Schwarzer, Giorgos Karagounis and Urby Emanuelson have probably all played their last games for Fulham.

Schwarzer was magnificent here, as he so often is, and if this is indeed his final Fulham fluster, he signed off in admirable fashion.

He had plenty to deal with early on and yet it was Fulham who broke the deadlock. Emmanuel Frimpong and Bryan Ruiz combined with almost affectionate skill to set Kacaniklic free. The 21 year-old finished with power and precision past Swansea's Michel Vorm, and Fulham had a lead they would happily defend.

But not before Kacaniklic had another stab at the Swansea goal, this time from a quickly taken free-kick. The winger was again released but this time Vorm smartly pushed another well-placed shot onto the post .

From then on, Swansea dominated, but to no true avail. Half time came and went, with the home side's possession count only continuing to rise. But Brede Hangeland and partner Senderos who, by this time, had already made his weekly error, stood firm.

Jol had opted for a defensive line-up, with both Eyong Enoh and Frimpong sitting deep in central midfield, and Fulham coped with everything Swansea offered. Frimpong in particular was impressive, if not somewhat clumsy on occasion, and will have put himself in Jol's thoughts as the transfer window looms large.

Fulham, again against the run of play, doubled their advantage. Ruiz was again involved in the build up, this time judging a through ball to Dimitar Berbatov flawlessly. Berbatov was his usual self, casually strolling past Vorm and finishing into an empty net.

This riled Swansea who, with over ten minutes still to play, felt they could perhaps snatch a draw. Their optimism only left them exposed, however, and another fine shot from Kacaniklic was this time parried away by Vorm. Emanuelson was there to follow up, however, and add gloss to a scoreline that didn't really tell the whole story.

But we don't care about that, and neither will Martin Jol. He got the win he needed for himself and for his safety. We got the win we needed to take the sting off a disappointing campaign. And the players got the win they needed to show that, while this generation of Fulham team has its quite substantial defects, it still carries the heart of the club.

And that will never change.