Tuesday 19 February 2002, 8:00pm at The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Barclays Premier League
Middlesbrough
2
Nemeth 27'; Boksic 77'
Fulham FC
Fulham
1
Marlet 56'
Fulham go down 2-1 to Middlesbrough underneath the floodlights at the Riverside Stadium.

27' Goal

Szilard Nemeth

77' Goal

Alen Boksic

60' Yellow Card

Franck Queudrue Card was given for a foul

61' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:David Murphy
Off:Robbie Mustoe

70' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Dean Windass
Off:Benito Carbone

70' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Szilard Nemeth
Off:Noel Whelan

56' Goal

Steve Marlet

53' Yellow Card

Sylvain Legwinski Card was given for a foul

87' Yellow Card

Louis Saha Card was given for a foul

80' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Louis Saha
Off:John Collins

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

Slovakian striker Szilard Nemeth came off the bench to fire Middlesbrough to a precious Premiership victory over Fulham.

The former Inter Bratislava frontman struck 13 minutes from time to send Boro to the relative comfort of 11th place in a tense encounter watched by just 26,235 at the Riverside Stadium.

Alen Boksic had given the Teessiders a 27th-minute lead with a coolly-taken finish, but once Steve Marlet levelled 11 minutes after the restart, the game was back in the melting pot.

However, Nemeth's intervention allowed Boro boss Steve McClaren to breathe a huge sigh of relief as his side edged closer to their survival target after a game they simply couldn't afford not to win.

The presence of Boksic and livewire Italian Benito Carbone were major factors, but again it was defensive solidity in the face of a second-half onslaught which laid the foundation for success.

The margin of victory could have been more comfortable had Ugo Ehiogu's

72nd-minute header not come back off the crossbar, but the England international had to produce a superb injury-time tackle on Marlet to deny the Londoners a second equaliser at the death.

Both sides went into the game with a reputation for conceding few goals but scoring not many more, and for that reason, the appearance of the names of leading scorer Boksic and Italian loan signing Carbone on the team-sheet was welcomed by another sparse crowd at the Riverside.

And the script was largely followed in the opening stages as on open game unfolded with few glaring chances and defences more or less on top.

It was 12 minutes before either keeper was called upon to make a save, Mark

Schwarzer clutching Steed Malbranque's long-range effort into his midriff, but neither he nor Edwin van der Sar were unduly troubled for much of the opening period.

With Sean Davis prompting from deep in midfield and Marlet showing well in attack, Fulham played their usual brand of neat football, but Boro stood firm at the back and started to take control.

Carbone's movement and the efforts of full-backs Robbie Stockdale and Franck Queudrue to support the men ahead of them started to pay dividends, and it was no real surprise when they took the lead with 27 minutes gone.

Jonathan Greening and Paul Ince combined to give Carbone the time to pick out Boksic's forward run, and although he looked yards offside, he kept his composure to draw van der Sar and nonchalantly chip the ball over him for his seventh goal of the season.

The Teessiders grew in confidence as the half wore on and Carbone squandered two good opportunities to extend his side's lead.

But they almost threw away their advantage in injury time when Marlet was allowed to chase down a harmless looking long ball to round Schwarzer, although he lifted his shot from a tight angle wide of the mark.

If that was something of a let-off for the home side, they did not heed the lesson as the visitors emerged for the second half determined to force their way back into the game.

Malbranque had already produced a fine tackle from Ehiogu after a mazy run when central defensive partner Gareth Southgate conceded a 56th-minute corner under pressure from Marlet.

Collins curled the ball into the near post where Alain Goma flicked it on for the unchallenged Marlet to head home.

McClaren changed things around five minutes later when he replaced Robbie Mustoe with wing-back David Murphy and opted for a three-man defence, and his side were at sixes and sevens as the Londoners carved their way through at will.

Davis and Malbranque opened the Teessiders up once again on 65 minutes for Marlet to test Schwarzer with a curling drive, prompting McClaren to freshen it up once again with 20 minutes remaining by sending on Nemeth and Windass in place of Whelan and the tiring Carbone.

Ehiogu was unfortunate not to restore his side's lead two minutes later when he saw a powerful header from Greening's corner come back off the bar.

But the substitutions paid off on 77 minutes as Nemeth turned upon the left side of the penalty area to crash a low drive past van der Sar to restore his side's lead.

There was no let-up in pace as the minutes ticked away, but the home fans were on the edges of their seats deep into injury time when van der Sar launched a huge clearance into the Boro box.

The ball evaded Ehiogu and was brilliantly controlled by Marlet, but the defender recovered to get in a last-ditch tackle to protect his goal once again.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Tuesday 19 February 2002
Kick-off: 8:00pm

Venue: The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Attendance: 26,235

Referee: Dermot Gallagher

Middlesbrough

Line-up: Schwarzer; Stockdale, Ehiogu, Southgate, Queudrue; Greening, Ince, Mustoe (Murphy 61'); Boksic, Carbone (Windass 70'), Whelan (Nemeth 70')

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Gavin

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Finnan, Goma, Melville, Brevett; Legwinski, Davis, Collins (Saha 80'), Malbranque; Hayles, Marlet

Unused substitutes: Taylor, Harley, Ouaddou, Willock

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 27 54
2 Liverpool 27 52
3 Newcastle United 26 52
4 Arsenal 26 51
5 Chelsea 26 44
6 Leeds United 26 43
7 Aston Villa 26 38
8 Tottenham Hotspur 26 35
9 Fulham 26 35
10 Charlton Athletic 26 33
11 Middlesbrough 26 31
12 Sunderland 26 31
13 West Ham United 26 31
14 Ipswich Town 26 30
15 Southampton 26 30
16 Everton 26 28
17 Bolton Wanderers 26 28
18 Blackburn Rovers 26 25
19 Derby County 26 22
20 Leicester City 26 17
Middlesbrough (4-3-3)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • Robbie Stockdale
  • Ugo Ehiogu
  • 6Gareth Southgate
  • 20Franck Queudrue
  • 14Jonathan Greening
  • 8Paul Ince
  • Robbie Mustoe
  • Alen Boksic
  • Benito Carbone
  • Noel Whelan
Substitutes
  • 26Mark Crossley
  • Jason Gavin
  • 3David Murphy
  • 8Szilard Nemeth
  • 9Dean Windass
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 3Rufus Brevett
  • 18Sylvain Legwinski
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 10John Collins
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 15Barry Hayles
  • 7Steve Marlet
Substitutes
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 7Jon Harley
  • 25Abdeslam Ouaddou
  • 20Louis Saha
  • 33Callum Willock