Saturday 16 August 2003, 3:00pm at Loftus Road, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Marlet 18'; Inamoto 56'; Saha 70'
Marinelli 10'; Nemeth 81'

18' Goal

Steve Marlet

56' Goal

Junichi Inamoto

70' Goal

Louis Saha

41' Yellow Card

Sylvain Legwinski Card was given for a foul

71' Substitution

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

90' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Luis Boa Morte
Off:Steve Marlet

10' Goal

Carlos Marinelli

81' Goal

Szilard Nemeth

42' Yellow Card

Gareth Southgate Card was given for a foul

73' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Szilard Nemeth

78' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Colin Cooper
Off:George Boateng

Chris Coleman's first game as permanent Fulham manager got off to a flyer, as did Fulham's start to the 2003/04 season, with a 3-2 victory over Middlesbrough.

Cottagers boss Coleman, surprisingly installed on a full-time basis during the summer, agreed to sell wantaway midfielder Davis to either Boro or Everton after he accused the club of lacking ambition. And the fans let the England hopeful, injured on Saturday, know exactly what they thought of him during this action-packed victory against his prospective new team. 

Coleman's appointment has sparked a wave of enthusiasm through the club and chairman Mohamed Al Fayed contributed to that on Saturday, reiterating his commitment to the club in his programme notes. Junichi Inamoto and Edwin van der Sar were Fulham's heroes and villains in equal measure. Inamoto produced a candidate for miss of the season before bagging Fulham's second goal - his first league goal in 11 months - but then handled for a Boro penalty. Van der Sar saved brilliantly from Malcolm Christie but was then caught in no man's land as Szilard Nemeth reduced the arrears to 3-2. Carlos Marinelli had put Boro ahead before Steve Marlet equalised. Inamoto bagged the second and Louis Saha the third - with Nemeth ensuring a nervy final few minutes for rookie manager Coleman.

 It was a lively opening in west London, with Boro striker Juninho forcing van der Sar into action with a volley from Jonathan Greening's cross inside the first 60 seconds. The Teessiders grabbed the lead with 10 minutes on the clock, thanks to the determination of Marinelli. The midfielder robbed Fulham centre-back Martin Djetou, cut inside from the right and slotted the third goal of his Boro career past the onrushing van der Sar. But Fulham were level just six minutes later, through Marlet. New-boy Jerome Bonnissel crossed from the left, Saha flicked on and Marlet, arriving at pace at the far post, beat Alan Wright to the ball and thundered home. The home side almost took a 2-1 advantage when the trio who made their equaliser teamed up again. Bonnissel's long pass was touched on by Saha and Marlet's lob was met by Schwarzer's leap, clawing the ball away from the open goal behind him.

Schwarzer also saved from Steed Malbranque's dipping volley on the stroke of half-time. Inamoto then produced an awful miss early in the second half. The Japanese international, completely unmarked, made only the slightest contact with the ball when Malbranque teed him up eight yards from goal. But Inamoto made immediate amends when he belted home Fulham's second. Saha laid the ball off to him 10 yards out and he lashed the ball into the roof of the net. 

It was all Fulham now and Marlet was close to making it 3-1, his studs just brushing Malbranque's dangerous ball right in front of goal. Then there was drama at the other end in the 61st minute as Inamoto needlessly handled a loose ball in the area to give away a penalty. Van der Sar flung himself full-length to his right to make a majestic save from Christie's spot-kick. But Fulham roared into a 3-1 lead in the 69th minute. Malbranque's chip from the left popped up off Stuart Parnaby's studs and Saha acrobatically hooked the ball into the net from the edge of the six-yard box. Inamoto tried to bag his second with a volley but fired wide. Van der Sar handed Boro a lifeline with nine minutes left.  He raced from his goalline as Doriva's through-ball bounced towards Boro substitute Szilard Nemeth - but lost the race by some distance.  Nemeth lobbed him to pull the score back to 3-2. Schwarzer saved from Luis Boa Morte as Fulham pushed for a fourth in injury-time.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 16 August 2003
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Loftus Road, London
Attendance: 14,546

Referee: Graham Poll


Line-up: Van der Sar; Volz, Djetou, Goma, Bonnissel; Legwinski, Inamoto, Clark, Malbranque; Marlet (Boa Morte 90'), Saha (Hayles 71')

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Knight, Buari


Line-up: Schwarzer; Parnaby, Riggott, Southgate, Wright; Doriva, Greening, Boateng (Cooper 78'), Marinelli; Juninho (Nemeth 73'); Christie

Unused substitutes: Nash, Downing, Job

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Blackburn Rovers 1 3
2 Manchester United 1 3
3 Fulham 1 3
4 Arsenal 1 3
5 Portsmouth 1 3
6 Birmingham City 1 3
7 Leicester City 1 1
8 Southampton 1 1
9 Charlton Athletic 0 0
10 Chelsea 0 0
11 Leeds United 0 0
12 Liverpool 0 0
13 Manchester City 0 0
14 Newcastle United 0 0
15 Middlesbrough 1 0
16 Aston Villa 1 0
17 Everton 1 0
18 Tottenham Hotspur 1 0
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 0
20 Bolton Wanderers 1 0
Fulham (TBA)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 17Martin Djetou
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 18Jerome Bonnissel
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 6Junichi Inamoto
  • 10Lee Clark
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 7Steve Marlet
  • 8Louis Saha
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 16Zat Knight
  • Malik Buari
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 15Barry Hayles
Middlesbrough (4-4-1-1)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 2Stuart Parnaby
  • 5Chris Riggott
  • 6Gareth Southgate
  • 25Alan Wright
  • 20Doriva
  • 14Jonathan Greening
  • 7George Boateng
  • Carlos Marinelli
  • Juninho
  • 11Malcolm Christie
  • 20Carlo Nash
  • Colin Cooper
  • 19Stewart Downing
  • 8Szilard Nemeth
  • 16Joseph-Desire Job