Saturday 14 January 2006, 3:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Malbranque 75'
Newcastle United
Newcastle United

75' Goal

Steed Malbranque

28' Yellow Card

Sylvain Legwinski Card was given for a foul

62' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Steed Malbranque
Off:Tomasz Radzinski

73' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Collins John
Off:Sylvain Legwinski

23' Yellow Card

Lee Clark Card was given for a foul

32' Yellow Card

Stephen Carr Card was given for a foul

46' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Robbie Elliott
Off:Stephen Carr

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Michael Chopra
Off:Charles N'Zogbia

80' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Alan O'Brien
Off:Albert Luque

A second half strike from Steed Malbranque gave Fulham all three points on Saturday afternoon as the Whites ground out a deserved win.

Fulham handed new signing Antti Niemi his debut following his move from Southampton during the week.

The Whites were first to threaten when, in the 7th minute, a Simon Elliott free kick was only headed out as far as Tomasz Radzinski.  The Canadian striker headed the ball back into the area, where Helguson was waiting in space – his turn and shot was deflected over by the foot of Given.  From the resulting corner, Radzinski fired wide from the edge of the area.

Alan Shearer, who had already enraged the Fulham fans in the Stevenage Road Stand for questioning a previous offside decision by the Assistant Referee, incurred further wrath when he caught Ian Pearce in the eye with an elbow on 10 minutes.  The striker was given a talking to by referee Wiley.

Radzinski then stung Given’s hands on 16 minutes with a rasping volley after good work in the air from Helguson.  The Icelandic striker’s prowess then almost gave Fulham the lead on 21 minutes after his glancing header from Boa Morte’s free kick forced Given into making a smart save down to his left.

Fulham were having the better of the midfield and aerial battles with both Elliott and Legwinski winning their fair share of contests on the ground and McBride and Helguson causing their respective opponents trouble in the air.  This was all much to the frustration of the Newcastle players who soon started to turn the match into an ill-tempered affair.

Stephen Carr was cautioned just after the half hour mark when his studs up challenge took Boa Morte out just after the Fulham Captain had released a pass.  Lee Clark was also walking a fine line and was given a lecture after leading with his elbow in an aerial challenge with Radzinski.

As the first half draw to a close, Fulham upped the tempo in search of the opening goal their dominance deserved.  On 41 minutes Boa Morte shrugged off the attentions of three Newcastle players to cut in from the touchline before being stopped inside the Newcastle area.

A well crafted counter attack from Fulham on 50 minutes almost gave the Whites the lead. Radzinski brought the ball forward and fed a pass out to Legwinski, who had made good ground down the right. The midfielder’s low cross was met in the middle by a defensive scramble and the ball was eventually cleared.

Chances were at a premium at both ends following that opportunity.  Newcastle, for their part, had still to create a significant goal scoring opportunity – yet their defence was still proving a tough nut to crack.

In an effort to unpick the Toon defence, Chris Coleman replaced Radzinski with Steed Malbranque just after the hour mark.  The midfielder, who had been out with a thigh injury, soon forced Given into making a quick save down to his left after a corner kick fell at his feet.

Chris Coleman continued to look for the winner and on 72 minutes he replaced Legwinski with Collins John.  Only a few minutes later his changes paid off.  Fulham broke with pace and the ball was worked to Collins John.  The Dutchman’s shot was only partially saved by Given but Malbranque was on hand to tap home from close range – sending the Fulham fans wild.

Fulham almost doubled their advantage soon after when Helguson crashed his shot against the crossbar on 80 minutes.

Antti Niemi was called into action on 83 minutes as he had to produce a stunning double save to keep the visitors at bay.

Yet with Fulham now fielding an attacking line up, Newcastle’s offensive efforts were returning better results – as a series of dangerous crosses and corners late in the game proved.  Fortunately Fulham held out for another three points at the Cottage.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 14 January 2006
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 21,974

Referee: Alan Wiley


Line-up: Niemi; Rosenior, Knight, Pearce, Jensen; Radzinski (Malbranque 62'), Legwinski (John 73'), Elliott, Boa Morte; McBride, Helguson

Unused substitutes: Warner, Volz, Goma

Newcastle United

Line-up: Given; Carr (Elliott 46'), Boumsong, Ramage, Babayaro; Solano, Bowyer, Clark, N'Zogbia (Chopra 77'); Luque (O'Brien 80'), Shearer

Unused substitutes: Harper, Brittain

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 21 58
2 Manchester United 22 45
3 Liverpool 20 44
4 Tottenham Hotspur 22 40
5 Arsenal 21 37
6 Wigan Athletic 21 34
7 Bolton Wanderers 19 32
8 Manchester City 22 31
9 Blackburn Rovers 20 30
10 West Ham United 22 29
11 Charlton Athletic 20 28
12 Fulham 22 26
13 Newcastle United 21 26
14 Everton 22 26
15 Aston Villa 22 25
16 Middlesbrough 21 22
17 West Bromwich Albion 21 19
18 Portsmouth 22 17
19 Birmingham City 21 16
20 Sunderland 20 6
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 29Antti Niemi
  • 17Liam Rosenior
  • 6Zat Knight
  • 35Ian Pearce
  • 33Niclas Jensen
  • 13Tomasz Radzinski
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 27Simon Elliott
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 20Brian McBride
  • 10Heidar Helguson
  • 12Tony Warner
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 15Collins John
Newcastle United (4-4-2)
  • 1Shay Given
  • 2Stephen Carr
  • Jean-Alain Boumsong
  • 26Peter Ramage
  • 33Celestine Babayaro
  • 15Nolberto Solano
  • 11Lee Bowyer
  • Lee Clark
  • 14Charles N'Zogbia
  • 19Albert Luque
  • 9Alan Shearer
  • 37Steve Harper
  • Robbie Elliott
  • Martin Brittain
  • 37Alan O'Brien
  • 28Michael Chopra