Sunday 11 May 2008, 3:00pm at Fratton Park, Portsmouth
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Murphy 76'

73' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Milan Baros

73' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Sean Davis
Off:Pedro Mendes

83' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Sulley Ali Muntari
Off:Lass Diarra

76' Goal

Danny Murphy
Assist by Jimmy Bullard

72' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Erik Nevland
Off:Clint Dempsey

85' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Leon Andreasen
Off:Diomansy Kamara

The Great Escape is complete. A Danny Murphy header in the 76th minute ensured three points and a historic story of survival for Fulham Football Club.

First Half Action

1 min The home side got survival Sunday underway amid blistering conditions at Fratton Park. Fulham's attacking intentions were clear from first minute. Jimmy Bullard threaded a delightful 30 yard pass into Diomansy Kamara's path. The striker raced into the area but unfortunately the pace of the ball denied the striker a goal scoring chance ,10 yards from goal.

4 min Simon Davies almost earned Fulham the lead early on. The Welshman, lurking on the edge of the area, latched onto a fine cross from the right. Davies' right footed shot to the near post was goal bound but Ashdown produced a fingertip save to push the ball against the post. Davies had come so close to earning Fulham a crucial opener.

10 min Defoe looked dangerous for the home side, drifting from a central position to attack down the right hand channel on numerous occasions but Hangeland made two incisive blocks on the edge of the area in the first ten minutes.  Kranjcar was handed Pompey's first clear shot on goal inside the area but sent his right footed volley high over Kasey Keller's bar.

15 min Fulham's keeper was forced into a fine save to deny Kranjcar's second attempt on goal. The Whites conceded a free-kick 25 yards from goal and Kranjcar sent a low drive in on goal. Safe keeping by Keller.

19 min Referee Mark Clattenburg turned down a Fulham's penalty appeal when Clint Dempsey latched onto a through ball into the Ashdown's area. The American tumbled in the box as he wrestled for the ball but Clattenburg immediately dismissed the claim.

22 min On such a tense day Brede Hangeland was a reassuring presence at the back. Four times in the opening twenty minutes the defender calmly dispossessed the opposition on the edge of his area.

27 min The game was evenly balanced as the half hour mark approached but Utaka breached the Whites defence for the first time on 31 minutes. Bursting down the right, Utaka turned outside Konchesky on the edge of the area before delivering a fine square ball across goal. Fortunately for Fulham the pace of the ball beat Kranjcar, racing in on the far post.

38 min Defoe wasted a fine chance to put the home side ahead following Johnson's counter attack from the edge of his own area. The defender raced 50 yards with the ball before threading a fine pass through to Defoe down the left channel. The striker raced clear of Fulham's back line but Keller closed the angle and Defoe sent his chip from 18 yards high over the bar.

43 min Before half-time Pompey were in the ascendency. Pedro Mendes came close with a shot across goal moments before the break but Fulham deserved to go into the break on level terms. After one minute of added time Clattenburg blew his whistle for the break. With Reading and Birmingham leading in their respective games at half-time a Fulham victory became imperative to retain the Club's Premier League status. It was now or never.


Second Half Action

The Whites came out early for the second half and Roy Hodgson's side remained unchanged for the second period. Brian McBride got the second half underway - the next forty five minutes would decide the Club's destiny for the 2008/09 season.

47 min The home side started brightly - during the opening two minutes of the second half Kasy Keller made two fine saves to deny Kranjcar, from 25 yards, and Defoe, from a tight angle on the left hand side of the area. 

51 min Jimmy Bullard made a fine run down the left flank but as the midfielder delivered his cross Pompey's defence recovered to concede a corner. Moments later Pompey earned a free-kick on the edge of Fulham's area but fortunately the home side could not find their range. It was end-to-end football.

57 min Keller once again denied Kranjcar from distance. This time the American keeper palmed away a fierce drive from 20 yards. Two minutes later a Bullard corner caused mayhem in Pompey's area but two headers across the face of goal could not find the target. With the news that Reading were two goals to the good at Derby, Fulham would have to find a winner in the last thirty minutes of play.

65 min Fulham 's back-line remained resolute amid a barrage of pressure on the hour  but at the other end Kamara's fine work earned Bullard a set piece opportunity from 25 yards. Bullard stepped up but his goalbound free-kick was deflected over the bar for a corner. The deadlock had to be broken.

70 min Both managers made substitutions with 20 minutes remaining. For Fulham Clint Dempsey made way for Erik Nevland. Simon Davies switched to the left flank with Kamara on the right. For Pompey, Davis and Baros replaced Mendes and Kanu respectively.

75 min Fulham broke the deadlock with 15 minutes remaining with Danny Murphy arguably scoring the most important goal in the Club's history. Fulham earned a free-kick down the right channel 40 yards from goal. Bullard delivered an in-swinging set piece into the middle of the area. Murphy ghosted his marker to send a downward header past Ashdown into the far corner of the net. Murphy burst away to celebrate infront of the Fulham fans. The Whites were back in the safety zone with 15 minutes remaining.

Portsmouth 0-1 Fulham (Murphy)

80 min Fulham looked comfortable after the goal and substitute Nevland almost nicked a second after a delightful turn on the edge of the box.

85 min Harry Redknapp reinforced his attack, introducing Muntari for Diarra. Hodgson responded immediately, bolstering his midfield by replacing Kamara for Andreasen. Seconds later McBride took a heavy blow to the face but Fulham's captain was straight up to resume the battle. Only minutes remained.

90 min In the final minutes of play Fulham's defence remained resolute. Pompey continued to ask questions but Hodgson's players coped admirably. The fourth official indicated four minutes of added time as Pompey rained in free-kicks and corners. The tension was unbearable but Fulham held on. Clattenburg's final whistle was the cue for wild celebrations. Hodgson's players had overcome the odds to keep the Cottagers in the Premier League. This day will long live in the memories of every Fulham fan and Roy Hodgson, his players, staff and loyal Fulham fans deserve great credit for never giving up the fight.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Sunday 11 May 2008
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Fratton Park, Portsmouth
Attendance: 20,532

Referee: Mark Clattenburg


Line-up: Ashdown; Pamarot, Hreidarsson, Distin, Johnson; Kranjcar, Lass Diarra (Muntari 83'), Pedro Mendes (Davis 73'), Utaka; Kanu (Baros 73'), Defoe

Unused substitutes: Begovic, Wilson


Line-up: Keller; Stalteri, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky; Davies, Bullard, Murphy, Dempsey (Nevland 72'); McBride, Kamara (Andreasen 85')

Unused substitutes: Warner, Bocanegra, Healy

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 38 87
2 Chelsea 38 85
3 Arsenal 38 83
4 Liverpool 38 76
5 Everton 38 65
6 Aston Villa 38 60
7 Blackburn Rovers 38 58
8 Portsmouth 38 57
9 Manchester City 38 55
10 West Ham United 38 49
11 Tottenham Hotspur 38 46
12 Newcastle United 38 43
13 Middlesbrough 38 42
14 Wigan Athletic 38 40
15 Sunderland 38 39
16 Bolton Wanderers 38 37
17 Fulham 38 36
18 Reading 38 36
19 Birmingham City 38 35
20 Derby County 38 11
Portsmouth (4-4-2)
  • 1Jamie Ashdown
  • 16Noé Pamarot
  • 6Hermann Hreidarsson
  • 15Sylvain Distin
  • 5Glen Johnson
  • 19Niko Kranjcar
  • 6Lass Diarra
  • 30Pedro Mendes
  • 17John Utaka
  • 27Kanu
  • 14Jermain Defoe
  • 31Asmir Begovic
  • 6Marc Wilson
  • 11Sulley Ali Muntari
  • 28Sean Davis
  • 9Milan Baros
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Kasey Keller
  • 17Paul Stalteri
  • 32Brede Hangeland
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 4Paul Konchesky
  • 25Simon Davies
  • 21Jimmy Bullard
  • 27Danny Murphy
  • 23Clint Dempsey
  • 20Brian McBride
  • 11Diomansy Kamara
  • 12Tony Warner
  • 3Carlos Bocanegra
  • 26Leon Andreasen
  • 15Erik Nevland
  • 31David Healy