Saturday 24 April 2004, 3:00pm at Loftus Road, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
2
Malbranque (pen) 18'; Davis 64'
Charlton Athletic
Charlton Athletic
0
Sean Davis was the hero after slamming home a sensational volley which sends Fulham surging back into the race for Europe.

18' Penalty

Steed Malbranque

64' Goal

Sean Davis

54' Yellow Card

Moritz Volz Card was given for a foul

45' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Sean Davis
Off:Bobby Petta

69' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Brian McBride
Off:Collins John

76' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Junichi Inamoto
Off:Luis Boa Morte

49' Yellow Card

Chris Powell Card was given for a foul

72' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Paolo Di Canio
Off:Chris Powell

72' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Jonatan Johansson
Off:Graham Stuart

72' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Chris Perry
Off:Carlton Cole

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

The midfielder, dropped for last weekend's 0-0 draw at Liverpool as punishment for breaking a late-night curfew over Easter, thundered home from 20 yards inthe 65th minute. His spectacular strike clinched the Cottagers' success against fellow European hopefuls Charlton. Steed Malbranque gave Fulham the lead in this ding-dong London derby in the 16th minute, sending Dean Kiely the wrong way from the penalty spot after thekeeper brought down Luis Boa Morte. 

The goal was surprisingly the only one of a first half in which the play thundered from end to end. Both teams had bags of chances - but while Fulham converted theirs, Charlton were denied again and again by the excellence of Edwin van der Sar. 

The second period was a slightly tamer affair - the highlight of which was Davis' majestic volley - although the home side had to hold out against a late Addicks barrage in their penultimate match at Loftus Road before their return toCraven Cottage in August. 

Davis' goal secured three priceless points for Fulham, taking them onto 48 points and within touching distance of the Champions League and UEFA Cup. But Charlton, for whom late-season slumps are now an annual occurrence, could miss out altogether in a season in which they occupied fourth place for threemonths. Fulham kicked off without influential skipper Lee Clark - ruled out for two months by calf surgery - as they attempted to rescue their bid for European qualification. 

Charlton had full-back Radostin Kishishev available after his back and hamstring injuries but boss Alan Curbishley elected to leave him on the bench. The match got off to a frantic start, with chances aplenty at both ends in the opening quarter of an hour. 

Charlton survived a Fulham penalty chance after just 10 seconds when Collins John tumbled in the box after Malbranque's pass. And at the other end just 30 seconds later, van der Sar saved smartly when Claus Jensen seized a loose ball after Paul Konchesky's cross. 

Fulham hit back and Boa Morte flashed a shot high and wide before Jon Fortune robbed John just as he was about to pull the trigger in front of goal. The play was thundering from end to end and Graham Stuart and Jensen both fired narrowly wide for Curbishley's side. And the home side made the breakthrough with 16 minutes on the clock from the penalty spot. Boa Morte raced past Hermann Hreidarsson onto a through-ball and was sent sprawling by Kiely. Referee Matt Messias allowed the keeper to escape without even a talking to - but Malbranque punished the shot-stopper from the spot, sending him the wrongway to put Fulham in front. 

Charlton had a great shout for a spot-kick of their own turned down six minutes later. Referee Messias ruled Martin Djetou accidentally handled when Luke Young hooked the ball against his arm. Malbranque almost scored a brilliant second just after the half-hour. The Frenchman, surrounded by three opponents, jinked into space for a shot and Kiely parried. Messias enraged the away support by snubbing another Charlton spot-kick shout when Alain Goma swung a leg across Jason Euell's chest. 

Charlton ended the half the stronger but were unable to transform their possession into an equaliser. Fulham were quick out of the blocks after the break and Sylvain Legwinski smashed a 20-yarder just over the top. Fulham doubled their lead in the 63rd minute in spectacular fashion. Boa Morte shrugged off Matt Holland on the half-way line, raced goalwards and rolled the ball across to Davis, 25 yards from goal. The midfielder miscontrolled and accidentally flicked the ball into the air - but made amends as he connected with a dipping volley which arced into thebottom corner of the net. Charlton mounted a late barrage and had enough chances to score several times. Euell skied one shot from the edge of the box and sent a header wide. Fortune nodded another chance straight at van der Sar and had another shot brilliantly saved by the Dutch keeper.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 24 April 2004
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Loftus Road, London
Attendance: 16,585

Referee: Matt Messias

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Volz, Pearce, Goma, Bocanegra; Malbranque, Legwinski, Djetou, Petta (Davis 45'); Boa Morte (Inamoto 76'); John (McBride 69')

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Knight

Charlton Athletic

Line-up: Kiely; Young, Fortune, Hreidarsson, Powell (Di Canio 72'); Stuart (Johansson 72'), Claus Jensen, Holland, Konchesky; Euell, Carlton Cole (Perry 72')

Unused substitutes: Royce, Kishishev

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 33 81
2 Chelsea 34 72
3 Manchester United 35 71
4 Liverpool 35 53
5 Aston Villa 35 52
6 Newcastle United 33 50
7 Fulham 35 48
8 Charlton Athletic 35 48
9 Birmingham City 34 47
10 Bolton Wanderers 35 47
11 Southampton 34 45
12 Middlesbrough 35 45
13 Blackburn Rovers 35 40
14 Everton 35 39
15 Tottenham Hotspur 34 38
16 Portsmouth 33 37
17 Manchester City 35 35
18 Leeds United 34 32
19 Leicester City 35 29
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 34 28
Fulham (4-4-1-1)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 35Ian Pearce
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 34Carlos Bocanegra
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 26Bobby Petta
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 17Collins John
Substitutes
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 8Brian McBride
Charlton Athletic (4-4-2)
  • 1Dean Kiely
  • 2Luke Young
  • 24Jonathan Fortune
  • 3Hermann Hreidarsson
  • 11Chris Powell
  • 4Graham Stuart
  • 16Claus Jensen
  • 8Matt Holland
  • 3Paul Konchesky
  • 17Jason Euell
  • 9Carlton Cole
Substitutes
  • Simon Royce
  • 5Chris Perry
  • 6Radostin Kishishev
  • Paolo Di Canio
  • 21Jonatan Johansson