|A below par Fulham side suffered their first home defeat of 2005 at the hands of Newcastle United on Wednesday evening. In a game light on entertainment and flowing football, neither side created much in the way of goalscoring opportunities.|
Edwin Van der Sar Card was given for a foul
Player was substituted for tactical reasons
Steven Taylor Card was given for a foul
Former Magpie, Alain Goma, almost gave Fulham the lead with five minutes on the clock. The French central defender rose well in the box but could only direct his header wide of Given’s goal after a fine Mark Pembridge delivery. Goma was then on hand at the other end minutes later to clear a teasing cross from the danger area.
The visitors had clearly been looking to attack Fulham down the wings in the early stages. Down the left flank Shola Ameobi was attempting to isolate Volz. Whilst on the other side the combination of James Milner and Stephen Carr were making the most of the available space around Rosenior.
Newcastle took the lead on 18 minutes when an N’Zogbia cross fell in front of Ambrose following a deflection off Rosenior. The young midfielder applied a clean finish past Van der Sar.
A lengthy break in play soon followed as Van der Sar required treatment for a foot injury. The interruption somewhat disrupted the flow of the game and neither side was able to gain a hold on proceedings for a period after the restart.
When the game finally clicked back into gear, it was Fulham who created the goal scoring opportunity. A Boa Morte dink over the back line on 34 minutes almost fell into the path of Cole but Given was able to fist clear. But with the Newcastle keeper stranded, Lee Clark launched himself at the ball only to see his flying header sail just over.
Neither Chris Coleman nor Graeme Souness opted to make a change at the interval; such was the parity between the two sides in the first 45 minutes. However, with no goal bound efforts registered by either in the opening 15 minutes of the half, a goal from open play was looking ever more unlikely.
Indeed, it was through a set piece that Newcastle doubled their lead when Patrick Kluivert slammed home a close range header from a corner jus after the hour. The Holland international striker was afforded a surprising amount of space at the near post in which to finish.
Fulham rang the changes shortly after when Andrew Cole was replaced by Danish international midfielder, Claus Jensen. The switch also saw Tomasz Radzinski move up front to partner McBride, whilst Jensen took up his position on the right side of midfield.
The move almost immediately paid off when Jensen fed the ball to Boa Morte on the edge of the area who fired wildly over.
Newcastle took further advantage of some lax marking from Fulham when Shola Ameobi nodded home from a James Milner corner on 74 minutes. The set piece was delivered over the head of Van der Sar and into the path young England striker, who had the simple task of finishing from a couple of yards out.
With the game seemingly dying a slow death, Liam Rosenior energetically intercepted a loose forward ball and tore off down the centre of the pitch. His perfectly weighted pass fell into the path of Radzinski who calmly slotted past the onrushing Shay Given for Fulham’s consolation.
Competition: Barclays Premier League
Date: Wednesday 4 May 2005
Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Referee: Graham Poll
Line-up: Van der Sar; Volz, Knight, Goma, Rosenior; Radzinski, Pembridge, Clark, Boa Morte; McBride, Cole (Claus Jensen 66')
Unused substitutes: Crossley, Bocanegra, Pearce, Rehman
Line-up: Given; Carr, Bramble, Boumsong, Steven Taylor; Milner, N'Zogbia, Amdy Faye, Ambrose; Shola Ameobi, Kluivert
Unused substitutes: Harper, O'Brien, Ramage, Brittain, Robert
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