Stockdale in a Swan Flap; KEEPER GAFFES PILE ON AGONY FOR JOL

The People (London, England), December 30, 2012 | Go to article overview

Stockdale in a Swan Flap; KEEPER GAFFES PILE ON AGONY FOR JOL


Byline: Matt Butler

Fulham 1 Swansea 2 DAVID STOCKDALE picked a great time to fluff his lines.

It was the Fulham keeper's first Premier League start for 11 months and the England manager was in the stands.

So what did he do? Made a couple of right royal cock-ups for both Swansea's goals to push his side worryingly close to the drop zone.

There was nobody to blame but Stockdale for Danny Graham's first league goal since August, nor could the Three Lions hopeful shy away from taking the rap for gift-wrapping Jonathan de Guzman's strike.

And England boss Roy Hodgson will have returned home in the rain from Craven Cottage wondering just who can deputise for Joe Hart in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup.

The Swans, meanwhile, were relieved that they managed to win without the assistance of the injured Michu, who had scored almost half of their goals this season.

And even though they failed to light the place up with their fabled passing game, at least they ended the year with a victory.

Unlike Fulham, whose only positive was the goalscoring return of Bryan Ruiz. Boss Martin Jol admitted he felt sorry for Stockdale, who started in place of No.1 Mark Schwarzer, who was out with a neck injury.

The Dutchman said: "I feel for him, but I feel for us more. I can't blame 90 per cent of my players.

"The only one who didn't have a good game was David - and he is a very good goalkeeper.

"I can't blame him, he is always a decent replacement for Mark. He was very disappointed because he knows we were better than we were against Southampton and because of him we came away with nothing.

"I don't think he knew Roy Hodgson was there. Maybe there was some nervousness because it is his first game for a while."

Dimitar Berbatov, who had divided opinion on Boxing Day by revealing a T-shirt with "Keep calm and pass the ball to me" scrawled on the front, could have set Fulham on their way in the 10th minute.

He latched onto a Ruiz corner, but somehow his volley into the turf from four yards out bounced over the bar.

Three minutes later, Swansea had one of their many chances, as Nathan Dyer's shot was blocked by Matthew Briggs' leg for a corner. …

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