Last Updated: 18/11/12 5:56pm
Sunderland move three points clear of the relegation zone with this vital away victory. But not for the first time this season, an entertaining game's major talking point will revolve around a major decision made by the referee. The red card shown to Fulham defender Brede Hangeland had a huge bearing on the outcome and he can count himself unfortunate to be penalised so harshly.
Late Fulham corner but Riise's kick is headed clear before a shot from Hughes is saved by the excellent Simon Mignolet.
Sunderland win the ball back and knock the ball around in their own half, there will be some tired Fulham bodies now.
Berbatov gives the ball away with Fulham in a decent position - Sunderland have 10 men behind the ball.
A strong run by McClean takes him into the corner but Vaughan gives it away and Sunderland must defend.
Sunderland again keep the ball deep in Fulham territory , when Johnson could easily have put in a cross.
Cattermole is booked for a late challenge on Riise, which brought a very angry response from the normally placid Berbatov.
Johnson's intended cross for Fletcher is too deep and Riise collects before hammering the ball downfield.
It almost goes Sunderland's way as Fletcher slides in at the far post to convert Johnson's low cross, but he is given offside.
No signs that Fulham have given this game up and I'm sure there's at least another goal in the game.
Stunning counter attack by Sunderland. Credit to the referee for allowing play to go on and a sublime finish.
GOAL! Rose is down with an injury as Sunderland break, but play is allowed to go on and Sessegnon rifles in a stunning 25 yard shot.
Petric, who has suffered a cut in getting the goal, is back on and if fouled by O'Shea soem 25 yards out.
What a passage of play that was! I think Fulham deservedly levelled, but Sunderland made their two-man advantage count with Cuellar dominant in the air to score his first goal for Sunderland just 90 seconds after they had been pegged back.
GOAL! Sunderland appeal in vain for offside as Duff crosses and Petric tuicks the ball in from close range.
Sunderland counter and Johnson's shot from the edge of the box bring s superb one-handed save from Schwarzer.
Johnson then bursts clear and fires over - but the offside flag is up when replays clearly show he was well on.
So Fulham are down to nine men as Sessegnon looks to get on the end of Johnson's pass but Schwarzer gathers.
They talk about fine margins in football and we had the perfect example with Fulham hitting the bar and then being caught out on the break.
It's a goal that means Fletcher has now scored six of Sunderland's eight goals in the Premier League this season.
GOAL! Just 14 seconds later Fletcher stabs the ball into the Fulham net after a superb pass from Johnson.
Some hesitation between Riise and Schwarzer as they look to deal with a long through ball, but the defender keeps calm, turns away from Fletcher and clears downfield.
Johnson looks to slide the ball through for Fletcher on the edge of the Fulham box, but he can't collect and Schwarzer gathers.
It's actually Fulham doing most the pressing as we come to the end of an interesting first period - how often have you seen teams down to 10 men galvanised by the red card.
A real warning for Sunderland that they might have a numerical advantage, but they will still have to work hard to get anything out of this game.
John Arne Riise takes a huge run up and blasts the ball which hits Bardsley who goes down like he's been hit by Mike Tyson!
Sunderland are now seeing plenty of the ball as you would expect, and Sessegnon goes clear down the right but his attempted pass for Fletcher is cut out by Hughes.
Senderos' first contribution is a vital one as he gets across to take the ball away from Fletcher eight yards out.
Great work by Duff sees his clever reverse pass tee up Berbatov on the edge of the box but his first-time shot lacks power and is saved.
It was certainly a full-blooded challenge and Hangeland won the ball, but a straight red? I don't tyhink so but the way the game is at present then players have to be so careful.
Referee Probert immediately reaches for the red card and Hangeland is on his way with, it has to be said, few protests.
Duff is caught offside and it could be that the enforced change will take them a few minutes to readjust to.
It looked an innocuous incident and Kacaniklic appeared to walk off the field with no problem - I can only think it must be some kind of strain.
Duff and Ruiz look to play a one-two on the edge of the box and the ball runs through to keeper Mignolet.
Ruiz shows some trickery to evade two tackles, but is chopped down by Sessegnon. However, the free-kick is easily cleared by the visitors.
Sascha Riether attempts to play in Duff, but Rose uses his strength to hold him off and then knock the ball back to his keeper.
Cuellar's poor clearing header falls to Berbatov who feeds Steve Sidwell in the box, but his shot is weak and is easily saved.
Aaron Hughes beats Fletcher in the air and Schwarzer dashes off his line to gather with Cattermole lurking.
Neither keeper seriously tested as yet but the signs are good that there will be goals in this game.
Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole wins the ball in the Fulham half and plays it to Sessegnon who twists and turns before trying to pick out Adam Johnson, but he overhits the pass and it goes out for a goalkick.
Good work by Duff sees him spin past Rose and deliever a low, early cross that is covered by Cuellar, but he mis-kicks and is grateful to see it spin off his foot to keeper Simon Mignolet with Berbatov lurking close by.
Sessegnon breaks and plays in Larsson whose intended pull back for Fletcher is cut out for a corner which is cleared.
Fulham force their first corner of the match with Ruiz's kick headed clear by O'Shea at full stretch.
Full-back Phil Bardsley is well advanced and his cross into the Fulham box is headed clear by Hangeland.
Hangeland produces a slide-rule pass for Berbatov who is crowded out initally, but the ball breaks to Ruiz whose dangerous cross is cut out by Rose.
Sunderland respond with a cross to the near post from Seb Larsson, but keeper Mark Schwarzer makes a routine catch.
Good work down the Fulham right by Damien Duff sees him whip the ball over to the far post where Dimitar Berbatov gets above John O'Shea, but glances his header wide.
Danny Rose makes a cunching tackle on Bryan Ruiz 30 yards from the Sunderland goal, but referee Lee Probert is perfectly happy that it was a fair challenge.
Sunderland get us under way with Steven Fletcher beaten in the air by Brede Hangeland as they contested a long ball forward by Carlos Cuellar.
The teams are now to hand - Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise, Duff, Sidwell, Karagounis, Kacaniklic, Ruiz, Berbatov. Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Senderos, Petric, Rodallega, Dejagah, Smith. Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, Cuellar, O'Shea, Rose, Johnson, Cattermole, Colback, Larsson, Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs: Westwood, Campbell, Wickham, Kilgallon, Vaughan, McClean, Saha. Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
Our colleagues at Sky Bet say: "Martin Jol's men have lost just once at home this season and are 4/6 to pick up another three points. The Black Cats have just four points on the road and are 4/1 to take the spoils with the draw available at 11/4. Dimitar Berbatov is 9/2 to score first and 5/1 to bag a brace. Sunderland top scorer Steven Fletcher is 7/1 to strike first and 14/1 to net a double."
Fulham boss Martin Jol hands Giorgos Karagounis his first start for the club for the Barclays Premier League visit of Sunderland. The 35-year-old Greece midfielder replaces the suspended Chris Baird with Damien Duff coming in for the injured Kieran Richardson and Alex Kacaniklic demoting Ashkan Dejagah to the bench. Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole is passed fit following a knee injury and replaces James McClean in Martin O'Neill's starting line-up, while Phil Bardsley has recovered from a hamstring injury in time to step in for the suspended Craig Gardner at right-back.
Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of this afternoon's Premier League clash at Craven Cottage between Fulham and Sunderland. The hosts will be looking for a perfect home tonic ahead of testing trips to Stoke and Chelsea, while the Black Cats have won only one of their last 18 league games dating back to March and are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. As always, we welcome your views so send them to email@example.com and I'll publish the best ones.