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.
Sidwell's shot is blocked on the edge of the box.
The board goes up and we will have a minimum of four minutes added time.
Sunderland win the ball back and knock the ball around in their own half, there will be some tired Fulham bodies now.
McClean breaks and shoots low from 25 yards, but it's an easy save for Schwarzer.
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.
84 Cattermole is booked for a late challenge on Riise, which brought a very angry response from the normally placid Berbatov.
Sunderland are still looking nervous despite being two goals and a player to the good.
Johnson's intended cross for Fletcher is too deep and Riise collects before hammering the ball downfield.
Sunderland are looking to keep possession and run the clock down.
Great work by Petric sees him nutmeg Cuellar, but his shot is parried by the keeper.
Still this excellent game is flowing end to end.
Rodallega tries his luck from distance but it's well off target.
77 David Vaughan has replaced Jack Colback who has been struggling with illness.
McClean lets fly from 25 yards but his shot is always going away from goal.
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.
Rodallega takes the kick but it's into the Sunderland wall and they gratefully clear.
71 Hugo Rodallega jinks his way to the edge of the box and is tripped by O'Shea who is booked.
Stunning counter attack by Sunderland. Credit to the referee for allowing play to go on and a sublime finish.
69 Sunderland make a change with James McClean coming on for Larsson.
68 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 takes it but it hits the Sunderland wall and goes out for a corner which is cleared.
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.
64 GOAL! Cuellar meets a Larsson corner and heads the ball into the corner of the Fulham net.
Petric is having treatement and Fulham are down to nine men.
62 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.
Petric almost makes an immediate impact but flashes a shot just wide.
59 Mladen Petric comes for Ruiz so Fulham have used up all of their changes.
58 Johnson is booked for taking the shot on despite the whistle being blown - nonsense!
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.
Break in play with Ruiz needing treatment - it looks like he's pulled up with a hamstring problem.
Good move by Fulham opens up the Black Cats' defence, but Riise is adjudged offside.
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.
52 Sidwell is booked for a foul on Cattermole.
It's a goal that means Fletcher has now scored six of Sunderland's eight goals in the Premier League this season.
50 GOAL! Just 14 seconds later Fletcher stabs the ball into the Fulham net after a superb pass from Johnson.
Riise then finds himself forward and his deflected shot hits the Sunderland crossbar.
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.
Fulham get the second-half started and there have been no further changes at the break.
We will have a minimum of two minutes added time and it's Fulham who end the half on the attack.
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.
Berbatov drives into the Sunderland box but rolls the ball inches wide of of the far post.
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!
Ruiz is fouled and Fulham have a free-kick 35 yards out.
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.
Fletcher is caught offside and that is not going to help their cause.
Fulham have been forced into a major reshuffle now - can shot-shy Sunderland take advantage?
35 Fulham make a second change with Philippe Senderos coming on for Karagounis.
Sidwell does well to get in a block on Fletcher's shot and Fulham clear the subsequent corner.
Howls of derision from the home crowd as Rose slides in on Sidwell, but play is waved on.
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.
30 Referee Probert immediately reaches for the red card and Hangeland is on his way with, it has to be said, few protests.
Crunching tackle in the centre circle between Hangeland and Cattermole.
Sidwell plays a poor pass that almost lets in Cattermole but Hughes steps into clear.
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.
25 It's serious enough for him to be replaced Hugo Rodallega.
A break in play as Alex Kacaniklic needs treatment.
Patient build up by Fulham is spoiled by Giorgos Karagounis who is easily dispossessed by Larsson.
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.
Berbatov again looks aghast after being penalised for a foul on O'Shea.
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.
Berbatov then remonstrates with the referee's assistant after being caught offside.
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.
Play is opening up and there is a good tempo to the match as play swings from end to end.
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.
Sunderland break downfield and Stephane Sessegnon lets fly from 25 yards but it's high and wide.
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.
Not the most lively of starts as both teams continue to find their way.
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 are keeping posession around the halfway line as Fulham look to close them down.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll publish the best ones.