LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04: Fulham manager Martin Jol looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Craven Cottage on March 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
There were two goals for Clint Dempsey as Fulham walked away from the Reebok Stadium with a comfortable 3-0 victory but while the American will take the deserved plaudits, there was a distinctly impressive team performance behind it. The Cottagers, for the first time in what has seemed like an age, appeared to grasp the necessities of victory from the very first minute and they never really let it go. It would seem that Jol's legacy is finally being written.
Mahamadou Diarra scored the other goal that hauled Fulham to within one point of Liverpool and two points off of seventh place and there was a composed nature to the Whites display that bodes well for the plausibility of a top ten standing. Chelsea come next and the confidence is high here.
There was no striker on the pitch with Pavel Pogrebnyak failing to recover from an ankle injury sustained last week and, as such, the away fans thought they were in for a dull afternoon. Alex Kaciniklic was handed his full debut, though, while Dempsey led the line.
The opening was cagey and arguably fell in Bolton's favour, yet there was a palpable spice to Fulham's play with Moussa Dembele, Dempsey, Bryan Ruiz and Kaciniklic combining well. Damien Duff was embarrassing Bolton's Marcus Alonso and the circus would continue all afternoon.
Duff was allowed space too regularly by the home side's left back and twice the Irishman managed to get a shot away. Neither found the target but the prognosis was concerning for the Owen Coyle's relegation threatened men.
Dempsey seemed to have opened the scoring not long after but his attempt was judged offside before the deadlock was officially broken by the same man. The Texan-born midfielder rifled a free kick into the top right hand corner and, in truth, Adam Bogdan never stood much of a chance.
It was Dempsey again who doubled the lead, but it was Duff's work on the right hand side that deserved the acclamation. Again, the winger ghosted past a hapless Alonso and his cross was met astutely by Dempsey, yet again proving his aerial prowess.
In the second half, it was clear that the home manager Coyle needed to change things and he responded in such a manner. Kevin Davies and Chris Eagles were introduced at half time but the effect was minimal. Fulham continued to dominate.
Only Bodgan kept Bolton in the game, denying Duff twice before Bryan Ruiz was stretchered off the field after suffering what is, as yet, an unknown injury. We can only hope it wasn't as worrying as it looked.
Dickson Etuhu replaced him and the assumption was that the deed was done. Not so, however, as Diarra rounded off a brilliant display from the Whites. John Arne Riise was the provider as he raced down the left and crossed for the Malian to slide home.
Marcello Trotta was introduced in the dying minutes but he couldn't find the net. The away following won't be disappointed, though, as it seems we may finally have turned a corner.