Saturday 9 February 2008, 3:00pm at Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Barclays Premier League
Middlesbrough
1
Aliadière 11'
Fulham FC
Fulham
0
An early goal from Jermaine Aliadière was enough to settle Saturday's match in Middlesbrough's favour as despite Fulham pressure it finished 1-0 to the home side.

11' Goal

Jérémie Aliadière

34' Yellow Card

Robert Huth Card was given for a foul

57' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Afonso Alves
Off:Lee Dong-Gook

22' Yellow Card

Diomansy Kamara Card was given for a foul

36' Yellow Card

Erik Nevland Card was given for a foul

46' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Clint Dempsey
Off:Diomansy Kamara

64' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Brian McBride
Off:Erik Nevland

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson was forced to reshuffle his pack ahead of Saturday’s game against Middlesbrough. A bout of sickness (gastroenteritis) forced Aaron Hughes to return to London hours before kick-off and Chris Baird was drafted in at centre half. Danny Murphy was handed the captain’s armband for the clash at the Riverside.

Following his impressive cameo performance against Aston Villa Diomansy Kamara was rewarded with a starting role on the left hand side of midfield. The Whites retained their 4-5-1 formation for Saturday’s game, with Brede Hangeland, Leon Andreasen and Erik Nevland, three of Hodgson’s January recruits, forming the spine of Fulham’s team.

After last week’s impressive performance in the North-East derby, Middlesbrough welcomed record signing Afonso Alves to the Riverside. The Brazilian striker joined Mido on Gareth Southgate’s substitute’s bench with Aliadiere and Dong Gook Lee leading the line.

Fulham’s army of supporters, 400 of whom travelled up on the Fulham Express, were in boisterous mood ahead of kick, led at the front at the away end by the enigmatic, Billy The Badger.

First Half Action

1 min The home side got Saturday’s clash underway, earning a corner from their first attack. The imposing Robert Huth met the set piece and his darting near post header flew just wide of Niemi’s near post.

3 min Fulham earned two free-kicks inside Boro’s half in the space of a minute but failed to create any opportunities from their set-pieces. Boro countered quickly from the second and a deep ball into the box caused concern for Fulham’s fans as Baird’s back header to Niemi was chased down by Aliadiere.

6 min Robert Huth headed over the bar from Downing’s corner after the midfielder showed impressive pace and drive down the left flank.

9 min Boro took the lead through Jeremie Aliadiere. The striker beat Fulham’s offside trap down the right flank, latching onto a cute through ball. The striker raced towards Niemi’s goal and passed the ball through the keeper’s legs from 10 yards.

Middlesbrough 1-0 Fulham

16 min Boro were causing problems from the flanks. O’Neil sent in a deep ball from the right which was forced behind for a corner and from the set piece David Wheater headed just over the crossbar. Fulham failed to find their natural passing game during the opening exchanges, especially in the final third. However Danny Murphy almost caught Schwarzer cold with a rasping 30 yard effort which skimmed over the bar.

21 min Tempers flared following Luke Young’s late challenge on Jimmy Bullard. Dio Kamara reacted to the challenge and sythed Young down, earning himself a yellow card from Phil Dowd. Young was fortunate to walk away with a verbal warning. Moments later Fulham almost grabbed an equaliser. Simon Davies sent in a corner which Andreasen almost sent home. As the ball bobbled out the rebound was fired in by Murphy but flew wide.

27 min After scoring the opening goal of the game, Aliadiere tested Niemi was a rasping 30 yard effort. However, Fulham were beginning to find their natural passing rhythm and their spells of possession were becoming more controlled and effective, highlighted by a fine passing move which led to Simon Davies firing in a superb shot from 25 yards which had Schwarzer beaten but flew just wide of Boro’s far post.

32 min Robert Huth earned himself a yellow card after a heavy aerial challenge on Nevland. Fulham’s latest striking acquisition was next in the book after an over exuberant challenge on Fabio Rochemback. There was no malice intended but the game certainly had some spice, peppered by an assortment of yellow cards in the first half.

40 min As half time approached Fulham came close to breaking through Boro's defensive ranks on two occassions in quick succession. Andreasen latched onto a through ball into the area and with some neat footwork came so close to creating a one-on-one with Schwarzer. Seconds later Fulham failed to capitalise on a fine cross from the left.

45 min Aliadiere, continuing his fine recent fom, fired in his third shot of the game before the break, and once again Niemi was forced into making a save. Seconds later Phil Dowd called time on the first half. If the Whites were to recover the defecit in the second half a more effective display in the final third was required.

 

Second Half Action

Fulham came out early for the second half and Roy Hodgson revised his attacking options, brining on Clint Dempsey for Diomansy Kamara.

45 min Boro started the second half in identical fashion to the first, earning a corner in the opening minute and going close win a near post header. This time the ball was on target and Niemi was forced to parry the ball wide.

50 min After two probing attacks down the right flank by Boro, Clint Dempsey was bundled over 25 yards from goal after surging through midfield. Konchesky stepped up and sent his left footed effort curling over the bar. Schwarzer was forced to dive to his right and make the save.

56 min Boro’s record signing Afonso Alves was introduced just before the hour mark, coming on for Dong Gook Lee. Fulham’s fans were in fine voice behind Schwarzer’s goal and were almost rewarded when Clint Dempsey almost caught Boro’s keeper out as he collected on the edge of the area.

62 min The home side enjoyed a sustained spell of possession on the hour mark, with Downing producing two fine crosses from the left. Roy Hodgson made his second change of the game, bringing on the inspirational Brian McBride for Erik Nevland.

67 min McBride’s presence soon produced the desired impact in the final third. A long ball was chased hard by the American who fought off Wheater to win the ball and feed Bullard 30 yards from goal. Bullard switched the play to Andreasen on the right hand side of the area and the midfielder’s effort forced Schwarzer in a diving save.

73 min Fulham stepped up a as the game entered the final twenty minutes and looked more potent in attack, with Dempsey joining McBride in a revised 4-4-2 formation. Gareth Southgate responded by replacing Aliadiere with defensive midfielder George Boateng. Fulham continued to press, attacking in a more direct manner with the back four camped on the halfway line during a five minute spell of pressure.

80 min Boro responded well to Fulham's pressure and Boateng's introduction certainly sealed their side defensively. Fulham's opportunities in the final third were few and far between in the final ten minutes.

90 min Neither side created any clear cut opportunities of note in the closing minutes and Boro retained their lead with few difficulties to claim all three points on Saturday afternoon. 

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 9 February 2008
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Attendance: 26,885

Referee: Phil Dowd

Middlesbrough

Line-up: Schwarzer; Young, Huth, Wheater, Pogatetz; Downing, O'Neil, Rochemback, Arca; Aliadière, Lee Dong-Gook (Afonso Alves 57')

Unused substitutes: Turnbull, Grounds, Boateng, Mido

Fulham

Line-up: Niemi; Stalteri, Hangeland, Baird, Konchesky; Davies, Murphy, Andreasen, Bullard, Kamara (Dempsey 46'); Nevland (McBride 64')

Unused substitutes: Keller, Volz, Bocanegra

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Arsenal 25 60
2 Manchester United 25 58
3 Chelsea 25 54
4 Everton 26 47
5 Aston Villa 26 44
6 Liverpool 24 43
7 Portsmouth 26 41
8 Manchester City 25 41
9 Blackburn Rovers 25 39
10 West Ham United 25 37
11 Tottenham Hotspur 26 32
12 Middlesbrough 26 29
13 Newcastle United 26 28
14 Sunderland 26 26
15 Bolton Wanderers 26 25
16 Wigan Athletic 26 23
17 Birmingham City 26 22
18 Reading 26 22
19 Fulham 26 19
20 Derby County 26 9
Middlesbrough (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 2Luke Young
  • 14Robert Huth
  • 5David Wheater
  • 6Emanuel Pogatetz
  • 19Stewart Downing
  • 18Gary O'Neil
  • 10Fábio Rochemback
  • 20Julio Arca
  • 10Jérémie Aliadière
  • 18Lee Dong-Gook
Substitutes
  • 21Ross Turnbull
  • 23Jonathan Grounds
  • 7George Boateng
  • 11Mido
  • 12Afonso Alves
Fulham (4-5-1)
  • 29Antti Niemi
  • 17Paul Stalteri
  • 32Brede Hangeland
  • 34Chris Baird
  • 4Paul Konchesky
  • 25Simon Davies
  • 27Danny Murphy
  • 26Leon Andreasen
  • 21Jimmy Bullard
  • 11Diomansy Kamara
  • 15Erik Nevland
Substitutes
  • 1Kasey Keller
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 3Carlos Bocanegra
  • 20Brian McBride
  • 23Clint Dempsey