Saturday 12 January 2002, 3:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Fulham
2
Saha 40'; Marlet 45'
Middlesbrough
1
Cooper 8'
A Steve Marlet inspired Fulham consign relegation candidates Middlesbrough to a 2-1 defeat in a thoroughly pleasing day for the Cottagers.

40' Goal

Louis Saha

45' Goal

Steve Marlet

55' Yellow Card

Barry Hayles Card was given for a foul

35' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Louis Saha
Off:Sylvain Legwinski

69' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Zat Knight
Off:Barry Hayles

8' Goal

Colin Cooper

45' Yellow Card

Paul Ince Card was given for a foul

90' Yellow Card

Dean Windass Card was given for a foul

48' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Phil Stamp
Off:Hamilton Ricard

66' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Dean Windass
Off:Jonathan Greening

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Szilard Nemeth
Off:Carlos Marinelli

0
15
30
45
60
75
90

The Frenchman, who kept his side in the FA Cup with a last-gasp equaliser at Wycombe on Tuesday night, produced a smart finish again to clinch a 2-1 victory at chilly Craven Cottage and leave Steve McClaren nervously scrutinising the league table.

Boro centre-back Colin Cooper took advantage of an awful defensive mix-up between Cottagers goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar and midfielder Sylvain Legwinski to nod home a soft eighth-minute opening goal.

But Jean Tigana's side established their slick passing game and substitute Louis Saha needed just five minutes on the pitch to power home a great diving header for the 40th-minute equaliser.

Saha then turned provider to slip a pass through to Marlet - nearing full fitness after a two-month injury lay-off - who tucked the ball under Mark Crossley for his third goal in four games on the stroke of half-time.

After the interval, Fulham came close to extending their advantage over shot-shy Boro - but will be happy to record a 2-1 success which cements their position in mid-table.

Cottagers winger Luis Boa Morte was ruled out by a one-match suspension, while struggling Boro - whose league win against Everton and FA Cup draw at Wimbledon had ended a run of four straight defeats - were without forward Alen Boksic, sidelined with a calf strain.

Argentinian midfielder Carlos Marinelli returned for the visitors after overcoming an ankle injury - and Boro raced into an eighth-minute lead after his hopeful free-kick resulted in a terrible defensive mix-up between Fulham keeper van der Sar and Legwinski.

The Dutch shot-stopper inexplicably left the ball to go out of play at the far post, just as Legwinski allowed Cooper to have a yard of space to nod the ball into the net for one of the softest goals of the season.

Fulham attempted to hit back when Steed Malbranque slipped a great pass through to Marlet - but Crossley deflected the Frenchman's shot skywards and Hayles headed the loose ball just over the crossbar.

Marlet came closer than his strike partner Hayles after 23 minutes. Legwinski humped a hopeful cross into the box and the former Lyon frontman rose highest to plant a firm header just inches over Crossley's bar.

Collins curled a 20-yard free-kick a foot wide of Crossley's left-hand post before Fulham manager Jean Tigana made an attack-minded substitution after 35 minutes.

Off came Legwinski, suffering from what appeared to be a thigh injury, to be replaced by forward Saha.

Hayles brought a spectacular save from Crossley a minute later with a powerful header from a dinked Steve Finnan cross.

And at the other end, Paul Ince's deflected long-range shot and Noel Whelan's back-header were both comfortably gathered by van der Sar.

The equaliser the home side deserved finally arrived in the 40th minute, when Saha rocketed a diving header past Crossley from a precise Malbranque free-kick.

And it got even better for Fulham in stoppage time as Saha's poked ball into the box was deflected into the path of Marlet, who cleverly tucked it under Crossley to make the half-time score 2-1.

At the start of the second period, Marlet flashed a header a yard wide of Crossley's goal as the Cottagers tried to extend their lead.

And Tigana's team were agonisingly close to establishing a two-goal cushion in the 63rd minute. Saha's towering header was deflected goalwards by Marlet - but

Robbie Mustoe awkwardly blocked on the goal-line and the ball was scrambled clear.

Play then switched to the opposite goalmouth and Whelan skinned Andy Melville but dragged his angled shot a foot wide of the far post.

Van der Sar gathered Phil Stamp's 20-yard free-kick in the 76th minute and Malbranque came close to adding Fulham's third when Crossley produced a brilliant tip-over from his 15-yard drive late on.

 

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 12 January 2002
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 18,975

Referee: Mike Dean

Fulham

Line-up: Van der Sar; Finnan, Goma, Melville, Brevett; Malbranque, Legwinski (Saha 35'), Davis, Collins; Hayles (Knight 69'), Marlet

Unused substitutes: Taylor, Harley, Stolcers

Middlesbrough

Line-up: Crossley; Stockdale, Cooper, Southgate, Festa; Marinelli (Nemeth 77'), Ince, Greening (Windass 66'), Mustoe; Ricard (Stamp 48'), Whelan

Unused substitutes: Jones, Gavin

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Newcastle United 22 42
2 Leeds United 22 41
3 Manchester United 21 39
4 Arsenal 20 39
5 Liverpool 21 38
6 Chelsea 22 34
7 Aston Villa 22 32
8 Tottenham Hotspur 22 31
9 Fulham 21 30
10 Charlton Athletic 22 29
11 West Ham United 22 28
12 Sunderland 22 27
13 Everton 22 26
14 Blackburn Rovers 22 25
15 Southampton 21 25
16 Bolton Wanderers 22 24
17 Middlesbrough 21 22
18 Ipswich Town 22 21
19 Derby County 22 19
20 Leicester City 21 16
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 3Rufus Brevett
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 18Sylvain Legwinski
  • 23Sean Davis
  • 10John Collins
  • 15Barry Hayles
  • 7Steve Marlet
Substitutes
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 7Jon Harley
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 40Andrejs Stolcers
  • 20Louis Saha
Middlesbrough (4-4-2)
  • 26Mark Crossley
  • Robbie Stockdale
  • Colin Cooper
  • 6Gareth Southgate
  • Gianluca Festa
  • Carlos Marinelli
  • 8Paul Ince
  • 14Jonathan Greening
  • Robbie Mustoe
  • Hamilton Ricard
  • Noel Whelan
Substitutes
  • 1Bradley Jones
  • Jason Gavin
  • Phil Stamp
  • 8Szilard Nemeth
  • 9Dean Windass