MX23RW : Friday, September 21 04:33:55
Apr 26, 2008 at 3pm UK at ​Etihad Stadium
Man CityManchester City
2-3
Fulham
Ireland (10'), Benjani (21')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Murphy (79')
Dempsey (24')

OTD: Fulham mount comeback away at Manchester City

Six years ago today, Roy Hodgson's Fulham battle back from a two-goal deficit to win away at Manchester City.

With time running out and Fulham two points from safety, the West Londoners are among the favourites to be relegated from the Premier League this season.

However, the current squad at Craven Cottage can take inspiration from their 2008 counterparts, who started what has since been dubbed 'The Great Escape' six years ago today.

Roy Hodgson's men made the trip to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City with five points separating them and Reading in 17th - nothing but a victory would do.

It would be fair to say, though, that when the whistle was blown for the break, the situation looked extremely bleak for the Cottagers. Not only were relegation rivals Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers and Reading all avoiding defeat in their respective fixtures, but they trailed to hosts City 2-0 thanks to first-half goals from Stephen Ireland and Benjani.

Roy Hodgson, then Fulham manager, shouts out orders to his players during their match against Manchester City on April 26, 2008.© Getty Images

It meant that when the players returned for the restart, barring a dramatic upturn in fortunes, Fulham were effectively demoted with two matches remaining.

Yet, with the pressure off them, Fulham started to play with freedom, which had a positive impact on their performance. Even so, when substitute Diomansy Kamara shot through the legs of City goalkeeper Joe Hart to reduce the arrears with 20 minutes left, there was little indication of what was to come.

Nine minutes later, full-back Sun Jihai hauled former Manchester United centre-forward Erik Nevland to the ground inside the penalty area, resulting in referee Mike Dean pointing to the spot. The usually reliable Danny Murphy stepped up, only for his effort to be saved by Hart. However, the rebound fell kindly for Murphy, who beat the home keeper with his second attempt.

While a draw would ordinarily have been a more than respectable result for Fulham, particularly when considering the position that they were in after 45 minutes, with their Premier League status hanging by a thread, they needed all three points.

Diomansy Kamara celebrates scoring his first goal for Fulham against Manchester City on April 26, 2008.© Getty Images

Jimmy Bullard went close when his shot from distance struck the crossbar, while up the other end Fulham stopper Kasey Keller showed good reflexes to deny Martin Petrov.

Then, just when it appeared that time was running out for Fulham, they claimed a stoppage-time winner. Murphy was the creator, slotting a pass inside Elano for Kamara. From there, the striker moved into the area, before lashing the ball beyond the reach of Hart and inside his near post, sparking wild scenes of celebrations from players, managers and supporters alike.

It proved to be the game's last meaningful action and would be the springboard as Fulham went on to retain their place in the top flight.

Speaking after the match, triumphant manager Hodgson said: "It was a splendid victory for us, one we so badly needed. It looked bleak at half-time, and we had a mountain to climb - we didn't deserve to be losing, but we did it. At 0-2 I honestly thought we weren't out of it. I never lost hope, but to win it was extraordinary. We've given ourselves a chance now."

MAN CITY: Hart; Elano, Corluka, Ball, Jihai; Gelson, Johnson, Petrov, Ireland (Geovanni); Vassell (Caicedo), Benjani

FULHAM: Keller; Stalteri, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky; Davies, Bullard, Murphy, Dempsey; Healy (Kamara), McBride (Nevland)

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Danny Murphy of England celebrates scoring with his team mates during the Nationwide friendly match between England and Paraguay at Anfield on April 17, 2002
Read Next:
In profile: Murphy's career
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea55001441015
2Liverpool5500112915
3Manchester CityMan City54101431113
4Watford5401105512
5Bournemouth5311107310
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13Southampton51226605
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton512279-25
15Fulham5113712-54
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham5104511-63
17Cardiff CityCardiff502339-62
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield5023211-92
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle501448-41
20Burnley5014310-71

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