Saturday 6 December 2003, 3:00pm at Loftus Road, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Davis 75'; Sava 76'
Bolton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers
Davies 53'

75' Goal

Sean Davis

76' Goal

Facundo Sava

51' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Barry Hayles
Off:Louis Saha

58' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Facundo Sava
Off:Junichi Inamoto

81' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Martin Djetou
Off:Sean Davis

53' Goal

Kevin Davies

22' Yellow Card

Ricardo Gardner Card was given for a foul

50' Yellow Card

Per Frandsen Card was given for a foul

81' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Stelios Giannakopoulos
Off:Per Frandsen

85' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Mario Jardel
Off:Kevin Nolan

89' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Ibrahim Ba
Off:Ivan Campo

Sean Davis completed his ascent from villain to hero as he sparked Fulham's fightback which overcame Bolton and maintained their incredible start to the season.

Chris Coleman's side, written off before the season by the pundits, continued to serve up humble pie to their critics as they mounted a thrilling comeback to claim the Loftus Road victory which keeps them in fourth place in the Premiership. 

Davis, who withdrew his summer transfer request a month ago, this week challenged his team-mates to pull off a sensation by claiming a Champions League spot. And he ensured they remain on track to do just that by cancelling out Kevin Davies' 52nd-minute opener for Wanderers. The Fulham midfielder struck in the 75th minute, 60 seconds before Facundo Sava pounced for the winner - his first goal of the season. Wanderers had kicked off on the back of a six-match unbeaten run which featured five wins - but both sides left their shooting boots at home in thefirst half as a succession of great chances went begging at both ends. 

Kevin Nolan could have put the Wanderers ahead after just 10 seconds but Edwin van der Sar saved. No defensive intervention was required to counter the Cottagers' clearest opening of the first 45 minutes - as Junichi Inamoto simply thrashed the ballwide when clean through. 

Davies showed both his team-mates and the opposition how it should be done seven minutes after the break, smacking home a sweet volley from a flicked onthrow-in. The big striker, 26, has enjoyed a new lease of life since his summer switch from Southampton and Saturday's strike was his fifth in 15 league games thisseason. But he should have doubled Bolton's lead a minute later, as he made a complete hash of a cross and sent a header bouncing into the turf and onto to roof of the net. 

And Davies was made to pay for that miss as Davis and Sava struck 60 seconds apart to clinch the success which keeps Fulham clinging to the coat-tails of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. But Fulham had to survive drama late into injury-time when Bolton substitute Mario Jardel hit the inside of the post with a header.  Edwin van der Sar leapedon the rebound. 

There had also been a dramatic start, with only a superb van der Sar save preventing the visitors from grabbing the lead with just 10 seconds on theclock. Fulham's defence went AWOL as Simon Charlton's long ball was flicked on by Kevin Davies - and van der Sar somehow deflected Nolan's awkward shot round thepost. Lee Clark had Fulham's first shot at goal after 22 minutes.  However, from an excellent position after tenacious work by Junichi Inamoto, the midfielder took a first-time swipe at the ball and blasted it into the stand. Bolton hit back and Youri Djorkaeff had another close-range attempt.  

Van der Sar was again in the right place at the right time and seized the ball in frontof his face. Nolan's acrobatics almost created the first goal.  He chested a bouncing ball above his head and smacked an overhead kick goalwards. Van der Sar initially saved, then spilt the ball only to regather as Ivan Campo steamed in hoping to smash home the rebound. Inamoto spurned the clearest opening yet, springing Bolton's offside trap as he raced onto Louis Saha's excellent pass - but then wastefully sliced wide. Bolton bagged the opener in the 52nd minute in a set-piece routine straight from the training ground. Jay-Jay Okocha's long throw from the right was flicked on by Campo and Davies slammed home a sweet close-range volley. The big striker could and should have made it 2-0 60 seconds later but headed Ricardo Gardner's cross into the ground and over the bar from five yards out. Fulham hit back and Steed Malbranque hit the post, before substitute Barry Hayles squared for Davis and he thumped the ball into the back of the net from12 yards. And it was 2-1 just a minute later when Gardner unintentionally diverted a loose ball into the path of Sava and he swept into the bottom right corner ofthe net. There was drama late into injury-time when Jardel hit the inside of the post with a header but Fulham held on.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 6 December 2003
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Loftus Road, London
Attendance: 14,393

Referee: Andy D'Urso


Line-up: Van der Sar; Volz, Knight, Melville, Bonnissel; Legwinski, Clark, Inamoto (Sava 58'), Davis (Djetou 81'), Malbranque; Saha (Hayles 51')

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Goma

Bolton Wanderers

Line-up: Jääskeläinen; Hunt, N'Gotty, Ivan Campo (Ba 89'), Charlton; Okocha, Nolan (Jardel 85'), Frandsen (Giannakopoulos 81'), Gardner; Djorkaeff; Davies

Unused substitutes: Poole, Thome

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 15 36
2 Arsenal 15 35
3 Manchester United 15 34
4 Fulham 15 25
5 Liverpool 15 22
6 Charlton Athletic 14 22
7 Newcastle United 15 21
8 Birmingham City 15 20
9 Middlesbrough 15 19
10 Manchester City 14 18
11 Tottenham Hotspur 15 18
12 Bolton Wanderers 15 18
13 Southampton 14 17
14 Blackburn Rovers 15 17
15 Leicester City 15 16
16 Portsmouth 15 16
17 Aston Villa 15 14
18 Everton 14 13
19 Leeds United 15 12
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 15 11
Fulham (4-5-1)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 18Jerome Bonnissel
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 10Lee Clark
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 8Louis Saha
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 9Facundo Sava
  • 15Barry Hayles
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-1-1)
  • 22Jussi Jääskeläinen
  • 2Nicky Hunt
  • 5Bruno N'Gotty
  • 8Ivan Campo
  • 16Simon Charlton
  • 10Jay Jay Okocha
  • 4Kevin Nolan
  • Per Frandsen
  • 11Ricardo Gardner
  • Youri Djorkaeff
  • 14Kevin Davies
  • 1Kevin Poole
  • 5Emerson Thome
  • Ibrahim Ba
  • 7Stelios Giannakopoulos
  • Mario Jardel