Saturday 8 February 2003, 3:00pm at Loftus Road, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Malbranque (pen) 14'; Harley 36'
Aston Villa
Barry 3'

14' Penalty

Steed Malbranque

36' Goal

Jon Harley

55' Yellow Card

Andy Melville Card was given for a foul

71' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Zat Knight
Off:Steve Marlet

83' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Bjarne Goldbaek
Off:Luis Boa Morte

88' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Facundo Sava
Off:Louis Saha

3' Goal

Gareth Barry

8' Yellow Card

Gareth Barry Card was given for a foul

34' Yellow Card

Johannes Karl Gudjonsson Card was given for a foul

35' Yellow Card

Rob Edwards Card was given for a foul

45' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Ulises de la Cruz
Off:Stefan Moore

45' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Lee Hendrie
Off:Rob Edwards

67' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Peter Crouch
Off:Thomas Hitzlsperger

Jon Harley scored a goal of the season contender which also turned out to be the winner against Aston Villa at Loftus Road, after Gareth Barry had given the visitors an early lead.

Harley's strike in the 35th minute bamboozled Peter Enckelman and dipped beneath Villa's crossbar, securing three vital points to haul the Cottagers away from the drop zone.  

Harley has surprisingly been overlooked by Jean Tigana since his £3.5million arrival from Chelsea 18 months ago - but Rufus Brevett's sale to West Ham gave him his first league appearance of the season against Arsenal last Saturday.  

The emotion of his goal today was clear for all to see as he raced away in celebration before being mobbed by his team-mates.  

Gareth Barry had slotted home the opening goal in the second minute.  

That strike was levelled by Steed Malbranque's penalty - his sixth goal in four games - 11 minutes later, awarded when Luis Boa Morte threw himself to the ground after being clipped by Joey Gudjonsson.  

Boa Morte's theatrical and unnecessary tumble was his only negative contribution of a fantastic first half, in which he terrorised the Villa backline with his searing pace.  

Fulham's misfiring strike pair Steve Marlet and Louis Saha both somehow missed from a yard before Harley showed them how it was done 10 minutes before the interval.  

Villa wilted badly after their sparkling start to the game and did not deserve to follow up their shock 5-2 success at Middlesbrough - their first on the road in the league this season - with another three-point haul in west London.  

Graham Taylor's side had made a sensational start, roaring into the lead with just two minutes on the clock.  Dublin teed up Gareth Barry lurking just inside the Fulham box and he beat Maik Taylor with a cool finish. 

Dublin almost doubled the Villans' lead but his volley hit Boa Morte on the line and deflected wide for a corner.  

However, against the run of play, Fulham grabbed an equaliser, with Steed Malbranque slotting home from the penalty spot.  

Boa Morte won the penalty by falling after a half-challenge by Gudjonsson -and Malbranque side-footed the spot-kick past Peter Enckelman and into thebottom right corner.  

Steve Marlet fluffed a great opportunity to nudge Fulham in front on the20-minute mark.  

Boa Morte, at the centre of all the action in the early stages of this hectic game, crossed from the left and Marlet headed tamely into Enckelman's grasp.  

Boa Morte was the star player by a country mile - and in an extraordinary 25th minute, he left the home defence in shreds three times.  

First, he set up Marlet who shot weakly at Enckelman.   

Then he crossed for Louis Saha who missed an absolute sitter, heading across the face of goal from a yard beyond the far post.  

And finally, the Portuguese winger latched onto a loose ball 18 yards from goal and sent a shot fizzing just above the left angle of Enckelman's goal.  

It was all Fulham and the home side missed another open goal when Marlet metAndy Melville's flick-on but headed over from a yard out.  

That proved to be only a temporary reprieve for Villa as Harley smacked homean absolute screamer in the 35th minute.  

But only fantastic Fulham defending prevented Taylor's men equalising 10minutes after the break.  

Steve Finnan raced back to intercept as Darius Vassell prepared to tap home Ulises de la Cruz's drilled cross - and from the rebound, Taylor acrobatically denied Dublin from point-blank range.  

Enckelman was in action again on the hour, pushing away England hopeful Sean Davis' 20-yarder.  

The visiting goalkeeper also did well to block Saha's volley and seize the loose ball before Marlet poked it into the net.  

Villa substitute Peter Crouch missed a golden chance to tie the scores at 2-2on the 70-minute mark, smacking a volley wide from Vassell's cross.  

And Cottagers captain Andy Melville was in the right place at the right time with 10 minutes left, blocking de la Cruz's stinging volley.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 8 February 2003
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Loftus Road, London
Attendance: 17,092

Referee: Steve Dunn


Line-up: Taylor; Finnan, Goma, Melville, Harley; Malbranque, Legwinski, Davis, Boa Morte (Goldbaek 83'); Saha (Sava 88'), Marlet (Knight 71')

Unused substitutes: Herrera, Inamoto

Aston Villa

Line-up: Enckelman; Edwards (Hendrie 45'), Mellberg, Johnsen, Samuel; Hitzlsperger (Crouch 67'), Barry, Gudjonsson, Moore (de la Cruz 45'); Dublin, Vassell

Unused substitutes: Postma, Staunton

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 26 56
2 Manchester United 26 53
3 Chelsea 27 48
4 Newcastle United 25 48
5 Everton 27 45
6 Liverpool 27 43
7 Tottenham Hotspur 27 42
8 Charlton Athletic 27 42
9 Southampton 27 39
10 Blackburn Rovers 27 37
11 Manchester City 26 37
12 Aston Villa 27 35
13 Leeds United 27 34
14 Middlesbrough 26 31
15 Fulham 26 30
16 Birmingham City 27 26
17 Bolton Wanderers 27 25
18 West Bromwich Albion 26 21
19 West Ham United 27 20
20 Sunderland 27 19
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 26Jon Harley
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 18Sylvain Legwinski
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 20Louis Saha
  • 7Steve Marlet
  • Martin Herrera
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 19Bjarne Goldbaek
  • 9Facundo Sava
Aston Villa (4-4-2)
  • 31Peter Enckelman
  • 4Rob Edwards
  • 4Olof Mellberg
  • 25Ronny Johnsen
  • 3Jlloyd Samuel
  • 16Thomas Hitzlsperger
  • 6Gareth Barry
  • 4Johannes Karl Gudjonsson
  • Stefan Moore
  • Dion Dublin
  • 13Darius Vassell
  • Stefan Postma
  • Steve Staunton
  • 23Ulises de la Cruz
  • 7Lee Hendrie
  • 25Peter Crouch