Saturday 18 October 2008, 3:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC

53' Yellow Card

Danny Murphy Card was given for a foul

73' Substitution

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

34' Yellow Card

Steed Malbranque Card was given for a foul

62' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Andy Reid
Off:Grant Leadbitter

69' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:David Healy
Off:Michael Chopra

84' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Daryl Murphy
Off:Djibril Cissé

Fulham and Sunderland battled in an evenly-contested encounter at Craven Cottage that saw the points shared as the match ended 0-0. The visitors hit the woodwork on two occasions whilst Fulham kept Craig Gordon active throughout.

Djibril Cisse warmed Mark Schwarzer’s hands in the fourth minute as Fulham struggled to get to grips with the early pace of the game. The French striker latched on to a diagonal ball and hit a ferocious shot from a narrow angle; Schwarzer could only parry the ball behind. The Whites were still on the back foot when Kieran Richardson saw his shot roll just wide of Schwarzer’s left hand post.

Fulham’s first attempt on goal came in the 9th minute when Bobby Zamora nodded a ball down into the path of Zoltan Gera in the Sunderland area. The Hungarian international was forced across goal before he was finally able to shoot into a congested goalmouth.

Fulham finally found their shape after a tense opening period and started restricting Sunderland in their attacking options.

Gera missed a golden opportunity to hand Fulham the lead in the 19th minute when he totally missed the ball after the Whites had worked a fine opening. Good work form Danny Murphy found Andy Johnson; he crossed the ball for Gera who looked more than likely to score but somehow failed to make contact.

The game soon settled down into a much more competitive encounter with possession being fiercely contested in all areas of the pitch. With opportunities for both sides becoming harder to create, the Whites were sneaking the upper hand as they looked to thread their passes through a tightly packed Sunderland defensive line.

Steed Malbranque entered the referee’s book on 36 minutes after he followed through with a tackle on Paul Konchesky. The Whites began to turn the screw as the first half drew to a close. Good work between Zamora and Johnson earned Fulham a corner which had the Black Cats’ defence at sixes and sevens.

Fulham benefited from a huge slice of luck just before the break. Sunderland won a free kick after Gera’s tackle was adjudged worthy of a free kick. Kieran Richardson stepped up and hit a curling shot against Schwarzer’s left hand post, the ball bounced across the face of goal and hit the opposite upright before going back across goal for Schwarzer to collect, again via the post.

Sunderland started the second-half intent on scoring the opening goal. The Whites had to contend with two testing free kicks from the visitors, the second of which, a good effort from Richardson that beat Mark Schwarzer, was ruled out for an infringement in the wall. That, however, did not stop the Sunderland fans celebrating until the realisation that the goal had not stood dawned on them.

Prior to the free kick drama, Fulham had Aaron Hughes to thank after a punch from Schwarzer fell to Richardson, whose lob was headed away by the Northern Ireland Captain acting as the last line of defence.

Good opportunities for Bullard and Davies soon followed at the other end in a pulsating second-half. Davies was involved again in the 66th minute when he hit a stinging volley with the outside of his right foot which flew just wide of Craig Gordon’s post.

Clint Dempsey replaced Zoltan Gera in the 72nd minute as Roy Hodgson looked to bolster Fulham’s attack.

Sunderland hit the bar in the 75th minute when David Healy cushioned a header back to Djibril Cisse who turned and volleyed hard against the woodwork. The ball ricocheted out and Fulham cleared. It was nothing but a temporary reprieve as the Whites were against the wall again – this time Andy Reid was the Sunderland player trying his luck.

The momentum soon swung back in Fulham’s favour as a good piece of build-up play resulted in Bullard forcing a save from Gordon from 25 yards. Brede Hangeland headed straight at Gordon from a Bullard set piece on 82 minutes as the game remained in the balance right into the closing stages. Unfortunately, the Whites were unable to break the deadlock.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 18 October 2008
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 25,116

Referee: Keith Stroud


Line-up: Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky; Davies, Murphy, Bullard, Gera (Dempsey 73'); Zamora, Johnson

Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Stoor, Kallio, Baird, Gray, Nevland


Line-up: Gordon; Bardsley, Ferdinand, Collins, McCartney; Malbranque, Whitehead, Leadbitter (Reid 62'), Richardson; Chopra (Healy 69'); Cissé (Murphy 84')

Unused substitutes: Fülöp, Davenport, Tainio, Edwards

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 8 20
2 Liverpool 8 20
3 Arsenal 8 16
4 Aston Villa 8 14
5 Hull City 7 14
6 Portsmouth 8 13
7 West Ham United 7 12
8 Manchester United 6 11
9 Blackburn Rovers 8 11
10 West Bromwich Albion 7 10
11 Manchester City 7 9
12 Sunderland 8 9
13 Middlesbrough 8 9
14 Wigan Athletic 8 8
15 Bolton Wanderers 8 8
16 Everton 8 8
17 Fulham 7 7
18 Newcastle United 7 5
19 Stoke City 7 4
20 Tottenham Hotspur 7 2
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 4John Pantsil
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 3Paul Konchesky
  • 25Simon Davies
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 21Jimmy Bullard
  • 11Zoltán Gera
  • 9Bobby Zamora
  • 8Andrew Johnson
  • 19Pascal Zuberbühler
  • 22Fredrik Stoor
  • 33Toni Kallio
  • 34Chris Baird
  • 17Julian Gray
  • 10Erik Nevland
  • 23Clint Dempsey
Sunderland (4-4-1-1)
  • 1Craig Gordon
  • 2Phillip Bardsley
  • 29Anton Ferdinand
  • 15Danny Collins
  • 23George McCartney
  • 8Steed Malbranque
  • 6Dean Whitehead
  • 18Grant Leadbitter
  • 11Kieran Richardson
  • 16Michael Chopra
  • 9Djibril Cissé
  • 32Marton Fülöp
  • 21Calum Davenport
  • Teemu Tainio
  • 7Carlos Edwards
  • 20Andy Reid
  • 14Daryl Murphy
  • 23David Healy