Swansea City survived a late barrage from Fulham to clinch a 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage during an entertaining encounter on Saturday.
The visitors went ahead when Danny Graham’s bicycle kick nestled in the bottom right-hand corner of the goal after some good work down the right from Angel Rangel and Nathan Dyer, helped by some sloppy goalkeeping from David Stockdale.
Swansea doubled their lead following the interval, Pablo Hernandez picking up the ball after a woeful clearance from Stockdale and Jonathan De Guzman passing into the net from outside the box.
Bryan Ruiz then pulled one back for Fulham in a goalmouth scramble shortly afterwards.
Fulham manager Martin Jol made six changes to the side that drew with Southampton on Boxing Day, with Stockdale, Brede Hangeland, Matthew Briggs, Giorgos Karagounis, Kerim Frei and Ruiz all called to the starting line-up.
Michael Laudrup also rang the changes from Swansea’s last game away at Reading, with Gerhard Tremmel, Hernandez, Garry Monk, Rangel, Kemy Agustien, De Guzman and Graham all coming in, the Premier League’s top scorer Michu missing out with an ankle injury.
After a lively opening from both sides, it was Swansea who grabbed the first goal in the 18th minute through Graham, after Stockdale palmed out Dyer’s tame effort before the forward acrobatically turned the ball home.
The hosts almost responded immediately, with Frei flashing a vicious strike right across goal after collecting Sascha Riether’s cross from the right, before the impressive Ruiz brought a smart stop out of Tremmel after trying to curl an effort into the far corner from outside the box.
After the break, Ruiz went close once again with a free kick from the edge of the area which just clipped the post on its way out of play.
Swansea raced into a two-goal lead in the 52nd minute through De Guzman after yet another Stockdale howler, with his poor clearance hitting Hangeland before Hernandez latched on to the loose ball and squaring it for De Guzman to coolly slot home.
Fulham grabbed a goal back to get themselves back into the game in the 55th minute with Ruiz the scorer.
A goalmouth scramble ensued after a Berbatov header was tipped onto the bar before the Costa Rica international tapped in unmarked in the six-yard box, despite suspicions Riether may have got a touch on it from an offside position before it went in.
With the game becoming increasingly open, Frei tested Tremmel with a sweetly-hit volley from outside the area, Berbatov seeing a goal correctly disallowed for offside after Tremmel parried Karagounis’ effort from distance.
Despite Swansea struggling to clear their lines during a nervy close to the game, Fulham failed to create any genuine clear-cut opportunities and the visitors went on to claim all three points.