Sunday 26 October 2008, 5:00pm at Fratton Park, Portsmouth
Barclays Premier League
Crouch 61'
Fulham FC
Dempsey 87'

61' Goal

Peter Crouch

83' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Arnold Mvuemba
Off:Sean Davis

84' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Niko Kranjcar
Off:Armand Traore

87' Goal

Clint Dempsey

71' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Clint Dempsey
Off:Zoltán Gera

84' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Erik Nevland
Off:John Pantsil

Clint Dempsey netted a late equaliser as Fulham came back from a goal down to share the points at Fratton Park.

Fulham named an unchanged line-up from last week’s draw against Sunderland as the Whites returned to the site of last season’s triumphant finale.

Jimmy Bullard was given an early opportunity to find the target when Fulham won a free kick in the first minute of play. The Fulham midfielder managed to get his 25-yard effort round the wall but David James was not troubled.

A Portsmouth corner on the nine minute mark sparked something of a scramble in the Fulham area, the ball was cleared but only as far as Armand Traore who played a ball back into the box which managed to get through to a lunging Papa Bouba Diop on the edge of the six yard box, fortunately the former Fulham man could only scoop his shot over.

Moments later David James almost turned the ball into his own net after fumbling a deep Simon Davies cross.

With both sides looking to play delicate passes through a packed opposition back line, much of the early defensive work was successfully carried out by subtle positional adjustments rather than last-ditch defending.

The home side did manage to craft an opening when Peter Crouch beat Aaron Hughes in the air before receiving the ball back from Jermain Defoe and hitting a low shot past Mark Schwarzer’s right hand post. That opportunity was closely followed by another chance from Crouch. Armand Traore, who was looking a real threat down the Pompey left wing, clipped a low ball into the area which Crouch tapped into the hands of Schwarzer.

A fine counter-attacking move from Fulham on the half hour mark saw Jimmy Bullard spring from nowhere to play the ball across the six yard box after a Fulham break had seemingly petered out.

The home side got right back on the front foot and some twinkling footwork from Nadir Belhadj almost saw him dance through on goal, fortunately his shot was smothered.

James produced a fine one-handed save from Bullard moments later with a good first time shot from 25 yards. In fact most of Fulham’s chances were coming via long-range efforts and Danny Murphy nearly gave Fulham the lead late in the first half when Simon Davies cushioned a pass to back to Murphy whose volley with the outside of his right boot spun just wide of the post.

The second-half started with a flurry of action, Jermain Defoe twice went close within the space of four minutes - with the second of his chances in particular bringing about a good reflex save from Mark Schwarzer. The Whites were also probing in attack, Bobby Zamora nearly saw his well-weighted through ball find the forward run of Andy Johnson and David James almost cost his side dearly when he dropped a routine catch.

The home side took the lead through Peter Crouch on 61 minutes after Jimmy Bullard had surrendered possession in the middle of the park. The home side pressed through to Fulham’s back line. Jermain Defoe played a short pass to Crouch who drilled a low shot past Schwarzer.

A penetrating run from Nadir Belhadj deep into the heart of the Fulham defence after Bullard gave the ball away in midfield saw the Portsmouth left back drill a low shot against the post.

Roy Hodgson swapped Zoltan Gera with Clint Dempsey as the Whites searched for a way back into the match. Dempsey took up position on the Fulham right flank in the knowledge that he would have his hands full in containing the rampant left wing combination of Belhadj and Armand Traore.

A wonderfully struck left footed volley from Bobby Zamora almost caught James unawares after a searching Bullard diagonal pass found the big striker.

Erik Nevland was introduced to the action in place of John Pantsil on 82 minutes in something of a reshuffle aimed at controlling Portsmouth's attacks down the left wing. The Norwegian’s first touch of the ball came from a corner which he forcefully headed straight at James, the ball cannoned back into the path of Johnson who somehow shinned the ball over from two yards.

Nevland, playing on the right wing ahead of Davies at right back, soon turned supplier when he crossed forClint Dempsey who diverted ball past James from the corner of the six yard box for the equalising goal.

The Whites had to defend desperately minutes later as the home side had two consecutive penalty appeals turned down before it was all hands to the pump to block two dangerous shots but they held out for a valuable point.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Sunday 26 October 2008
Kick-off: 5:00pm

Venue: Fratton Park, Portsmouth
Attendance: 19,233

Referee: Mark Halsey


Line-up: James; Pamarot, Kaboul, Distin, Belhadj; Diop, Hughes, Davis (Mvuemba 83'), Traore (Kranjcar 84'); Nugent, Crouch

Unused substitutes: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Traore, Utaka, Kanu


Line-up: Schwarzer; Pantsil (Nevland 84'), Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Davies, Murphy, Bullard, Gera (Dempsey 71'); Zamora, Johnson

Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Kallio, Baird, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Milsom

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Liverpool 9 23
2 Chelsea 9 20
3 Hull City 9 20
4 Arsenal 9 19
5 Aston Villa 9 17
6 Manchester United 8 15
7 Portsmouth 9 14
8 Manchester City 9 13
9 Sunderland 9 12
10 West Ham United 9 12
11 Blackburn Rovers 9 12
12 Middlesbrough 9 10
13 West Bromwich Albion 9 10
14 Everton 9 9
15 Wigan Athletic 9 8
16 Fulham 8 8
17 Bolton Wanderers 9 8
18 Stoke City 9 7
19 Newcastle United 9 6
20 Tottenham Hotspur 9 5
Portsmouth (4-4-2)
  • 1David James
  • 16Noé Pamarot
  • 3Younes Kaboul
  • 15Sylvain Distin
  • 39Nadir Belhadj
  • 8Papa Bouba Diop
  • 22Richard Hughes
  • 28Sean Davis
  • 30Armand Traore
  • 10David Nugent
  • 9Peter Crouch
  • 1Jamie Ashdown
  • 6Hermann Hreidarsson
  • 32Djimi Traore
  • 17John Utaka
  • 18Arnold Mvuemba
  • 19Niko Kranjcar
  • 27Kanu
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 4John Pantsil
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 3Paul Konchesky
  • 25Simon Davies
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 21Jimmy Bullard
  • 11Zoltán Gera
  • 9Bobby Zamora
  • 8Andrew Johnson
  • 19Pascal Zuberbühler
  • 33Toni Kallio
  • 34Chris Baird
  • 7Seol Ki-Hyeon
  • 24Robert Milsom
  • 10Erik Nevland
  • 23Clint Dempsey