LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 28: Damien Duff of Fulham is beaten on the line by a header from Marouane Fellaini of Everton (c) for the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Fulham at Goodison Park on April 28, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Martin Jol will have been glad he stayed at home. At least from there, he didn't have to witness the capitulation of his Fulham side to Everton, stretching the record of eighteen straight defeats at Goodison Park to a not-so-fancy nineteen. In fairness, victory for the Whites was never really on the cards but there was at least some optimism in the air. That was quickly banished, however, with a Nikica Jelavic penalty setting the tone early on. Three more goals would come and it was an afternoon that Billy McKinlay and Michael Lindeman would doubtlessly rather forget.
Danny Murphy was excluded from the side - not the best omen to open the day with. The last time he didn't feature we fell 3-0 at home to Swansea. Mahamadou Diarra, Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele held fort in the middle of the park, then, but in truth, none of them had a game resembling anything decent. On too many occasions did Dembele lose the ball and Diarra looked a shadow of his former, Real Madrid self.
Pavel Pogrebnyak was adjudged to have handled in the area within six minutes and this led to Jelavic's opener, the Croation coolly dispatching the penalty. Just to confirm, as if there were any doubt, that Everton were a team that Fulham just can't seem to compete with, the Blues doubled their lead ten minutes later as Marouane Fellaini proved that huge hair doesn't halt aerial prowess as he headed home a Stephen Pienaar corner.
Fulham did have their moments, though, with Kerim Frei testing Tim Howard before Fellaini had put the match beyond doubt. The Swiss winger was a proverbial ray of light in this Fulham line-up, affirming the widely held view that he is a talent well worth nurturing. For a player so blessed with baby-face features, he has maturity beyond his years.
Howard was again called into action after half an hour when a Dempsey shot suffered a wicked deflection, but the 33 year-old was equal to it, acrobatically saving the effort. In truth, though, this was as good as it got for the away side and they went into the break three goals down, Jelavic yet again scoring. He's a player in fine form right now and it was somewhat foreseeable that he would score - this time firing through Schwarzer's legs.
In some ways, the game was an even contest and the scoreline appeared unjust, but when Fulham did have the ball there was a certain inability to use it to all its capabilities and despite some rare Howard heroics, he was rarely tested.
Tim Cahill added the final gloss to the Everton victory, beating his compatriot Schwarzer after the hour mark. He was at full stretch in finishing it but his team certainly weren't in beating Fulham here. It is, quite simply, a ground where the Fulham fortune is non-existent.
Maybe next year, hey?