Saturday 26 August 2006, 3:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
Bullard 40'
Sheffield United
0
Jimmy Bullard's free-kick proved the difference against Sheffield United as Fulham claim their first win of the 2006/2007 season.

40' Goal

Jimmy Bullard

66' Yellow Card

Papa Bouba Diop Card was given for a foul

80' Yellow Card

Heidar Helguson Card was given for a foul

90' Yellow Card

Jimmy Bullard Card was given for a foul

67' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Heidar Helguson
Off:Collins John

68' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Tomasz Radzinski
Off:Michael Brown

51' Yellow Card

Michael Tonge Card was given for a foul

54' Yellow Card

Mikele Leigertwood Card was given for a foul

83' Yellow Card

Alan Quinn Card was given for a foul

64' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Christian Nade
Off:Nick Montgomery

72' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Alan Quinn
Off:Michael Tonge

80' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:David Sommeil
Off:Leigh Bromby

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Jimmy Bullard scored his second goal in two matches as his strike settled a tricky encounter against Neil Warnock’s Sheffield United. Whilst the match was a fairly even affair in the opening stages, Fulham soon wore their opponents down and by the final whistle, the three points was fully deserved.

With the exception of Collins John, who was selected in place of Heidar Helguson, Chris Coleman fielded the same side that draw one-all with Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday evening.

It was a special occasion for former Blade Michael Brown, who lined up against his old side.

Fulham started with intent when Jimmy Bullard was given space on the right flank on 8 minutes and worked the ball inside to fire a left footed shot on target. His effort was unconvincingly pushed over by Paddy Kenny.

Although the opening exchanges saw both sides testing the waters, it was the visitors who were enjoying more possession when in attack. Whilst Fulham, by comparison, looked to retain possession in the middle third of the pitch, often working the ball back and forth along the midfield three of Brown, Bullard and Diop, looking for an opportunity to spring forward. However, with the visitors looking to pack out the space in front of their penalty area, long range shooting was the order of the day and the impressive Bullard in particular was trying his luck on several occasions.

Collins John came agonisingly close to giving Fulham the lead in the 23rd minute when he managed to hold off his marker inside the area and fired a low shot which evaded Kenny and bounced back off the post into the danger area where Boa Morte was lurking. Unfortunately the Portuguese international had the ball nicked off his toe by a recovering defender.

Whilst it was Fulham who were now looking the more threatening in attack, the Whites still had to be on their toes at the back and Philippe Christanval was certainly showing his class with a number of well-timed challenges. The former Barcelona and Monaco man looked totally at ease in the hustle and bustle of Premiership football, gracefully snuffing out attacks and distributing the ball simply.

Fulham finally took the lead in the 40th minute, and it was that man Jimmy Bullard who took centre stage with a delightful free kick after Brian McBride was fouled on the edge of the area by Chris Morgan.

Fulham started the second half brightly and could have caused the Blades significant problems had Liam Rosenior been able to deliver a more telling ball into the area.

Collins John came close to latching on to a dangerous through ball into the box from Michael Brown, but unfortunately the pass was too firmly hit.

It was symptomatic of the game that John was having; he was certainly posing a threat yet the opportunity to force Kenny into making a save was frustratingly evading him. He was soon replaced by Heidar Helguson.

Michael Brown’s participation on the game ended shortly after on 66 minutes. The midfielder, who had tweaked his knee 10 minutes earlier was unable to run off his injury and was replaced by Tomasz Radzinski.

The change looked to have affected the makeup of the battle for midfield with Fulham now looking a more threatening unit going forward but surrendering a certain degree of competitiveness in the central area.

United record their first shot in target in the second half in the 77th minute when Mikele Leigertwood tested Niemi with a long range dipping volley. The Finn took no chances and touched the ball over.

Fulham soon hit back on the counter attack when Radzinski was set free on the right hand side, the striker sprinted goalwards but unfortunately his pass to Boa Morte was at an uncomfortable height. The attack momentarily lost pace as the ball rolled back to the edge of the penalty area only for Bullard to approach at speed and rattle a shot against the post. The danger was far from over for the Blades as the ball then fell to McBride who forced Kenny into making a low save at the near post.

With United desperately pushing for the equaliser, Fulham’s change to a more attacking midfield was reaping dividends. With only a matter of minutes remaining McBride was set free but just dragged his shot wide of the far post with only Kenny to beat 

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 26 August 2006
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 18,362

Referee: Graham Poll

Fulham

Line-up: Niemi; Rosenior, Christanval, Pearce, Queudrue; Bullard, Diop, Brown (Radzinski 68'), Boa Morte; John (Helguson 67'), McBride

Unused substitutes: Warner, Volz, Bocanegra

Sheffield United

Line-up: Kenny; Bromby (Sommeil 80'), Morgan, Jagielka, Davis; Tonge (Quinn 72'), Leigertwood, Montgomery (Nade 64'), Armstrong; Webber, Hulse

Unused substitutes: Bennett, Forte

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 3 9
2 Everton 3 7
3 Portsmouth 2 4
4 West Ham United 3 4
5 Aston Villa 2 4
6 Liverpool 2 4
7 Bolton Wanderers 3 4
8 Fulham 3 4
9 Chelsea 2 3
10 Newcastle United 1 3
11 Middlesbrough 2 3
12 Wigan Athletic 2 3
13 Reading 3 3
14 Tottenham Hotspur 3 3
15 Charlton Athletic 3 3
16 Arsenal 1 1
17 Watford 3 1
18 Blackburn Rovers 2 1
19 Sheffield United 3 1
20 Manchester City 2 1
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 29Antti Niemi
  • 7Liam Rosenior
  • 5Philippe Christanval
  • 19Ian Pearce
  • 4Franck Queudrue
  • 21Jimmy Bullard
  • 14Papa Bouba Diop
  • 8Michael Brown
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 15Collins John
  • 20Brian McBride
Substitutes
  • 30Tony Warner
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 3Carlos Bocanegra
  • 9Heidar Helguson
  • 13Tomasz Radzinski
Sheffield United (4-4-2)
  • 1Patrick Kenny
  • 2Leigh Bromby
  • 5Chris Morgan
  • 6Phil Jagielka
  • 4Claude Davis
  • 18Michael Tonge
  • 21Mikele Leigertwood
  • 4Nick Montgomery
  • 20Chris Armstrong
  • 10Danny Webber
  • 9Robert Hulse
Substitutes
  • 13Ian Bennett
  • 14David Sommeil
  • 12Alan Quinn
  • 21Jonathan Forte
  • 27Christian Nade