Wednesday 19 February 2003, 8:00pm at Loftus Road, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Saha 72'; Wome 74'; Malbranque (pen) 77'
West Bromich Albion
West Bromwich Albion

72' Goal

Louis Saha

74' Goal

Pierre Wome

77' Penalty

Steed Malbranque

56' Yellow Card

Martin Djetou Card was given for a foul

45' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Abdeslam Ouaddou
Off:Alain Goma

89' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Andrejs Stolcers
Off:Steed Malbranque

44' Yellow Card

Adam Chambers Card was given for a foul

74' Yellow Card

Sean Gregan Card was given for a foul

71' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Scott Dobie
Off:Lee Hughes

80' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
Off:Danny Dichio

90' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Ifeanyi Udeze
Off:Neil Clement

The break-through didn't come quickly but once it did there was no stopping Fulham, as three goals in four second-half minutes secured an emphatic victory over West Bromwich Albion at Loftus Road.

Louis Saha nodded home in the 71st minute to put the Cottagers 1-0 up - and Pierre Wome thundered in an unbelievable strike from 30 yards to double their lead.  

Fulham fans' delight turned to ecstasy when the prolific Steed Malbranque netted from the penalty spot with 13 minutes to go for his eighth goal in six games.  

The Baggies villains were Phil Gilchrist, who allowed Saha to escape for his goal, Neil Clement for shoving the same player to give Malbranque his spot-kick- and then there was Lee Hughes.  

The striker was clean-through twice with the scores at 0-0, but first shot straight at Maik Taylor and then tumbled in false hope of a penalty on the second occasion.  

He looked low on confidence and has yet to score a Barclaycard Premiership goal this season.  

In contrast, this result will send self-belief soaring in the Cottagers camp,with these three points taking them a massive stride closer to securing a third straight season in the top flight.  

Early on, Megson's men were the first to threaten, with Hughes racing onto Danny Dichio's flick, outpacing Alain Goma and stinging Taylor's palms with a16-yard volley.  

Junichi Inamoto and Derek McInnes exchanged strikes on goal as the playersattempted to warm up the crowd on a bitterly-cold night in west London.  

In the 19th minute, Jason Koumas produced a dazzling forward burst which took him past Inamoto, Malbranque and Andy Melville, but his shot bounced across the face of goal.  

Malbranque responded with a trademark surge of his own at the other end which almost produced the opener.  

The Frenchman raced in from the left flank, cut the ball back to Saha - who fell on his behind as he attempted to shoot - and Steve Marlet rifled goalwards,only to see the ball rebound off Darren Moore's legs. Inamoto sliced thefollow-up attempt.  

Malbranque fired over the top at the end of another dangerous forward raid.  This had been very open first half, without either keeper really being extended.  

That was the case again when home midfielder Martin Djetou connected sweetly from 30 yards, but Baggies keeper Russell Hoult got right behind his strike.  

But both sides had golden chances to take the lead just before half-time. First, Hoult misjudged a bouncing ball and Marlet headed square for Facundo Sava.   

He hooked the ball goalwards, but Gilchrist slid across his goalline to clear from under the crossbar.  

And barely 60 seconds later, Koumas burst clear down the right and played Hughes clean through on goal. 

But the forward dallied when one-on-one with Taylor and the Northern Ireland shot-stopper blocked.  

Hughes showed a lack of confidence in front of goal again six minutes after the interval.  

He raced onto Neil Clement's through-ball and beat the offside trap - but threw himself the ground in the penalty area after the slightest contact with Abdeslam Ouaddou.  

Referee Uriah Rennie waved away optimistic penalty appeals. 

Fulham went close again when Malbranque smashed a beautiful half-volley goalwards from 15 yards - but straight down Hoult's throat.  

The home side were in charge now and Marlet sent a header past the far post as Jean Tigana's team pushed for the opening goal.  

And Fulham finally got the goal they craved on 71 minutes.  Gilchrist allowed Saha to escape unmarked six yards out - and he raced onto Malbranque's chipped cross from the left and nodded home.  

The Cottagers grabbed a sensational second just two minutes later with an absolute piledriver from Wome.  

Sean Gregan fouled Marlet 30 yards out and from the resulting free-kick, Malbranque rolled the ball to the Cameroon international - who almost ripped thenet with a blistering strike into the top right corner.  

Fulham's goal-starved fans were stunned by seeing two goals in quick succession - and that turned to disbelief when they scored again after 75 minutes, their third goal in just four minutes.  

Saha leapt to meet a left-wing cross at the far post and tumbled when bumped by Clement.  

Ref Rennie pointed to the spot and Malbranque sent Hoult the wrong way tocomplete a goal-crazy four minutes and a miserable night for West Brom.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Wednesday 19 February 2003
Kick-off: 8:00pm

Venue: Loftus Road, London
Attendance: 15,799

Referee: Uriah Rennie


Line-up: Van der Sar; Finnan, Melville, Goma (Ouaddou 45'), Wome; Malbranque (Stolcers 89'), Inamoto, Djetou, Marlet; Sava, Saha

Unused substitutes: Herrera, Leacock, Goldbaek

West Bromwich Albion

Line-up: Hoult; Gilchrist, Moore, Clement (Udeze 90'), Gregan; Chambers, Koumas, Wallwork, McInnes; Hughes (Dobie 71'), Dichio (Jordáo 80')

Unused substitutes: Murphy, Sigurdsson

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 27 57
2 Manchester United 27 54
3 Newcastle United 26 49
4 Chelsea 27 48
5 Everton 27 45
6 Liverpool 27 43
7 Tottenham Hotspur 27 42
8 Charlton Athletic 27 42
9 Southampton 27 39
10 Manchester City 27 38
11 Blackburn Rovers 27 37
12 Aston Villa 27 35
13 Leeds United 27 34
14 Fulham 27 33
15 Middlesbrough 26 31
16 Birmingham City 27 26
17 Bolton Wanderers 27 25
18 West Bromwich Albion 27 21
19 West Ham United 27 20
20 Sunderland 27 19
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 27Pierre Wome
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 7Steve Marlet
  • 9Facundo Sava
  • 20Louis Saha
  • Martin Herrera
  • 22Dean Leacock
  • 25Abdeslam Ouaddou
  • 19Bjarne Goldbaek
  • 40Andrejs Stolcers
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2)
  • 25Russell Hoult
  • Phil Gilchrist
  • 23Darren Moore
  • 6Neil Clement
  • Sean Gregan
  • 7Adam Chambers
  • 19Jason Koumas
  • 24Ronnie Wallwork
  • Derek McInnes
  • 19Lee Hughes
  • Danny Dichio
  • 1Joe Murphy
  • Ifeanyi Udeze
  • Larus Sigurdsson
  • Jordáo
  • Scott Dobie