Wednesday 11 February 2004, 8:00pm at Loftus Road, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Boa Morte 1'
Aston Villa
Angel 13'; Vassell 32'

1' Goal

Luis Boa Morte

56' Yellow Card

Sean Davis Card was given for a foul

58' Yellow Card

Zat Knight Card was given for a foul

75' Red Card

Carlos Bocanegra Card was given for a foul

45' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Bobby Petta
Off:Lee Clark

70' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Barry Hayles
Off:Martin Djetou

13' Goal

Juan Pablo Angel

32' Goal

Darius Vassell

77' Yellow Card

Mark Delaney Card was given for a foul

80' Yellow Card

Gareth Barry Card was given for a foul

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Ulises de la Cruz
Off:Mark Delaney

80' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Peter Whittingham
Off:Gareth Barry

89' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Liam Ridgewell
Off:Lee Hendrie

Fulham endured a nightmare evening at Loftus Road as they slipped to defeat to Aston Villa.

The Cottagers had Carlos Bocanegra sent off for an horrendous tackle and may face censure from the Football Association after a bottle was thrown in the direction of an assistant referee. 

They could scarcely have made a better start and went in front after just 52 seconds through a fierce Luis Boa Morte strike. But it was downhill all the way after that as Edwin van der Sar's blunder gifted Juan Pablo Angel a 12th-minute equaliser. Things went from bad to worse when the home defence went AWOL to let Darius Vassell, just 5ft 7in tall, nod in the winner just after the half-hour. The goal was a timely reminder to England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, whose assistant Tord Grip was here to run the rule over Vassell ahead of next Wednesday's England friendly in Portugal. 

Controversy arrived by the bucketload in the final 15 minutes. First, referee Barry Knight turned down Fulham's penalty appeals when Boa Morte's cross clearly struck Jlloyd Samuel's arm. The game had to be halted a minute later when the assistant referee, just 15 yards from the incident, alerted Knight's attention to a bottle which had been thrown towards him from a section of Fulham fans. Two minutes later, Bocanegra was guilty of one of the worst tackles of the season - a wild, two-footed lunge on Mark Delaney - which left the Villa man on a stretcher and the Fulham full-back sent off. Villa boss David O'Leary was furious at the challenge and had to be restrained by the ref and fourth official. However, a fourth win on the spin will cheer the Irishman's mood, as will the manner in which his side continued their surge up the table - they are now into the top seven. 

Fulham made a dream start with Boa Morte rifling the home side into the lead with just 52 seconds on the clock. Lee Clark clipped the ball into the inside-left channel and the winger outran Olof Mellberg and smacked an angled drive past Thomas Sorensen and into the far corner. It was the Portugal international's sixth goal of the season and first for four months. But Villa hit back and, after Lee Hendrie sent a thunderbolt shot whistling over the top, equalised with 12 minutes on the clock. 

Thomas Hitzlsperger bent in a great free-kick from the right and Angel outstretched Martin Djetou to prod goalwards. Fulham goalkeeper van der Sar should have saved the Colombian's weak shot but simply patted the ball back to him and Angel tapped in from three yards. Van der Sar went some way to redeeming himself with a full-length diving save from Nolberto Solano after 19 minutes. The visitors went in front when Fulham's defence gave Vassell the freedom of Loftus Road and he was completely unmarked when he leapt to head Hitzlsperger's cross past a hopelessly-exposed goalkeeper. On the stroke of half-time, Sorensen blocked Sean Davis' goalbound flick from Boa Morte's cross. Steed Malbranque's persistence almost earned Chris Coleman's side the equaliser in the 65th minute. The Frenchman's cross clipped Delaney's studs and was looping over Sorensen until the goalkeeper stretched backwards to claw the ball over his crossbar. Fulham centre-back Ian Pearce did little to calm things down after Bocanegra's deserved 75th-minute red card when he appeared to accuse the Villa boss of using his reaction to get Bocanegra sent off. Brian McBride hit the crossbar with a bouncing shot in injury time as Villa held on to win.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Wednesday 11 February 2004
Kick-off: 8:00pm

Venue: Loftus Road, London
Attendance: 16,153

Referee: Barry Knight


Line-up: Van der Sar; Volz, Knight, Goma, Bocanegra; Malbranque, Djetou (Hayles 70'), Davis, Clark (Petta 45'), Boa Morte; Saha

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Legwinski, Inamoto

Aston Villa

Line-up: Sørensen; Delaney (de la Cruz 77'), Johnsen, Mellberg, Samuel; Hendrie (Ridgewell 89'), Hitzlsperger, Solano, Barry (Whittingham 80'); Vassell, Angel

Unused substitutes: Postma, Crouch

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 25 61
2 Manchester United 25 56
3 Chelsea 25 55
4 Liverpool 25 38
5 Newcastle United 25 38
6 Charlton Athletic 25 37
7 Aston Villa 25 36
8 Fulham 25 35
9 Birmingham City 24 35
10 Bolton Wanderers 25 34
11 Tottenham Hotspur 25 33
12 Southampton 25 31
13 Middlesbrough 24 31
14 Blackburn Rovers 25 27
15 Everton 25 25
16 Manchester City 25 24
17 Portsmouth 25 23
18 Leicester City 25 21
19 Leeds United 25 20
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 25 20
Fulham (4-5-1)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 34Carlos Bocanegra
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 10Lee Clark
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 8Louis Saha
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 26Bobby Petta
  • 15Barry Hayles
Aston Villa (4-4-2)
  • 29Thomas Sørensen
  • 2Mark Delaney
  • 25Ronny Johnsen
  • 4Olof Mellberg
  • 3Jlloyd Samuel
  • 7Lee Hendrie
  • 16Thomas Hitzlsperger
  • 24Nolberto Solano
  • 6Gareth Barry
  • 13Darius Vassell
  • 9Juan Pablo Angel
  • Stefan Postma
  • 19Liam Ridgewell
  • 23Ulises de la Cruz
  • 7Peter Whittingham
  • 25Peter Crouch